Junior Angilau’s injury opens door for Texas football’s talented freshmen

Cole Hutson, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY NETWORK
Cole Hutson, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY NETWORK /

Devastating news out of Austin on Sunday where it was reported by Geoff Ketchum of Orangebloods that junior wide receiver Isaiah Neyor and redshirt senior offensive lineman Junior Angilau both suffered season-ending knee injuries during Saturday’s team scrimmage for Texas football. Ketchum also reported senior running back Roschon Johnson suffered an ankle injury that will likely keep him out during the first month of the season.

What had been a tremendous offseason for head coach Steve Sarkisian and the entire Texas football program has seemingly come crashing down just over a week into fall camp.

A highly-touted prospect in the class of 2018, Angilau was entering his fifth season on the Forty Acres, and fourth as a starter. The Salt Lake City native had started 34 games over the past three seasons and was all but likely going to be the starting left guard for the Longhorns in 2022.

Praised for his toughness and leadership ability, Angilau’s absence leaves a massive hole in what is already an offensive line unit with more questions than answers.

Where does Texas football turn in Junior Angilau’s absence?

With the injury to Angilau, it looks as if sophomore Hayden Conner will most certainly occupy one of the starting guard spots in 2022. The question becomes, who else gets a shot?

Steve Sarkisian and offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Kyle Flood have their work cut out for them trying to patch together a cohesive offensive line unit less than three weeks from kickoff against UL Monroe.

With that said, Coach Sark and Coach Flood certainly are not lacking talented options when it comes to filling the shoes of Angilau.

The 2022 Texas offensive line recruiting class was ranked No. 1 nationally and has been talked about in a program-changing way.

Of the seven offensive linemen Texas signed, four were considered ‘interior offensive linemen’, including the tenth-ranked player in the class, DJ Campbell.

Hailing from Arlington, Texas, Campbell is a mountain of a man with an on-field intensity to match. His high school highlights show off his unique raw power with hand and foot speed to match.

Although he did not arrive on campus until June, the early reports around the five-star freshman have been ones of praise. Campbell has first-round NFL Draft pick aspirations and could go a long way in achieving that goal if he can win this starting job.

The other name that Coach Sarkisian will seriously consider for Angilau’s opening is another true freshman, Cole Huston.

Huston, the only January enrollee of the 2022 offensive line class, was rated as the No. 13 interior offensive lineman and the No. 362 recruit in his class. The Frisco native has a leg up on his competition because of his decision to enter the program in January.

Reports throughout the spring and summer have been incredibly high on Huston, praising his work ethic and ability to get to the second level. Due to a few injuries, Hutson saw first-team reps on the offensive line during the spring game. He impressed both Coach Sarkisian and Coach Flood, not looking out of place in the least bit.

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Although I do think Campbell and Hutson have the best chance to land the starting guard job, freshman Neto Umeozulu, redshirt sophomore Logan Parr, and even freshman tackle Kelvin Banks are guys to keep an eye on over the next three weeks as Sarkisian feels out his options.