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College Football Preview 2024: Texas Longhorns win projections, strengths and weaknesses, quarterback spotlight and more

2RT0D73 Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) celebrates after a win over Alabama in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Texas finally declared itself back last season, as a mostly healthy Quinn Ewers, an explosive run game and a stout defensive front led the team to a College Football Playoff appearance.

Much of Texas' offensive weaponry from last season is gone, but Ewers remains to lead a cast of transfer receivers and a loaded group of running backs into the program's first year of SEC competition.

The Longhorns’ secondary was their undoing late last season, but development from their incumbent players and Clemson transfer Andrew Mukuba should aid that improvement.

By the time the season gets underway, Texas should expect to compete at the top of the SEC.


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Biggest Strength: Quinn Ewers' supporting cast

Even after losing its top five receivers and leading rusher to the 2024 NFL Draft, Texas still has a very good environment for quarterback Quinn Ewers—both the receiving corps and offensive line ranked in the top five of our position unit rankings.

Biggest Weakness: Pass defense

The Longhorns ranked 59th in team coverage grade last season and played far worse than even that against the better passing teams on their schedule. They hope the development of Malik Muhammad and the addition of Andrew Mukuba will improve their secondary. Meanwhile, the team lost its two best pass rushers, T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II. They currently have Alfred Collins and UTSA transfer Trey Moore as their only proven pass rushers.

2023 Team Overview

Offense
EPA per play Yards per play Successful play rate Explosive run play rate Explosive pass play rate
0.128 6.7 39.0% 19.7% 16.8%
20th 12th 25th 11th 48th
Defense
EPA allowed per play Yards allowed per play Successful play rate allowed Explosive run rate allowed Explosive pass rate allowed
-0.118 5.3 30.9% 10.7% 14.5%
20th T-40th T-21st 10th 71st

Three Notable Transfer Portal Additions

  • WR Isaiah Bond (Alabama): 76.3 PFF grade
  • TE Amari Niblack (Alabama): 66.0 PFF grade
  • S Andrew Mukuba (Clemson): 71.9 PFF grade

Three Notable Transfer Portal Losses

  • CB Terrance Brooks (Illinois): 62.9 PFF grade
  • S Jerrin Thompson (Auburn): 73.1 PFF grade
  • QB Maalik Murphy (Duke): 52.1 PFF grade

Quarterback Spotlight: Quinn Ewers

2023 Grade: 86.8
Key Stat: 90.6 play-action passing grade (eighth-best in FBS, min. 50 dropbacks)

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