3 biggest offensive position battles for Texas football in fall camp

Hudson Card, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Hudson Card, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Jahleel Billingsley Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Jahleel Billingsley Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Tight End

Very quietly, the Texas tight end room could be among the most talented units on the roster.

Filled with five scholarship players, the tight end room in Austin is filled with young, talented players looking to make a name for themselves on the field. Alabama transfer Jahleel Billingsley and sophomores Gunnar Helm and Ja’Tavion Sanders are all expected to compete for the starting role this fall.

Billingsley had 19 receptions for 287 yards and three touchdowns in Steve Sarkisian’s offense back at Alabama in 2020. Listed at 6-foot-4, 219 pounds, Billingsley is poised to play a role similar to Lil’Jordan Humphrey in the 2018 season. He is a great in-line route runner with solid hands and separation ability. With that said, his improvement as a run-blocker will dictate just how much Sarkisian uses him this fall.

On the other end of the spectrum, Gunnar Helm has the best combination of blocking and receiving in this room. Though he is not the athlete Billingsley is, Helm can certainly hold his own in a standard route tree. Helm does not have the highest ceiling of this group, but his high floor may be a reason he stays on the field.

Finally, Ja’Tavian Sanders. Sanders was a five-star athlete in the class of 2021 but really wanted to play on the offensive side of the ball. He has the most upside of any tight end on this roster. With that said, he is not nearly as polished as the others, especially when it comes to run-blocking. He is, however, listed at 249 pounds and seems to have all the traits to be an impact blocker down the road.

The tight end position will be one to keep an eye on throughout the course of every game this season. It is the one position where just because someone is starting does not mean they will play the most snaps in a particular game. I believe Billingsley, Helm, Sanders, and even Juan Davis will have different roles in this offense this year.