Projecting Texas football’s two-deep offensive depth chart Week 1 vs. ULM

Quinn Ewers, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Quinn Ewers, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Tight end

Starter: Ja’Tavion Sanders

Backup: Jahleel Billingsley OR Gunnar Helm

Tight end is really looking like a position of strength for the Longhorns this fall after it was often a weakness for the offense last season. Leading the way for this improved position group for the Longhorns this fall is the former elite five-star recruit and sophomore tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders.

Earlier this week, Sark named Sanders as the most improved player on this team this offseason. Sanders apparently looks the part of one of the best tight ends in the Big 12 and someone who can make a big impact on multiple phases of the game for this offense.

Sanders has the frame and we’ve heard good things about his ability as a blocking tight end, proving he should thrive as a blocker this fall. It goes without saying that he’s got the potential to thrive as a receiver, regardless of where Sark lines up him.

What has really stood out about Sanders, though, throughout the offseason is the reliability he shows in multiple phases of the game. Sark mentioned that he thinks Sanders actually has the best hands on the team. And the fact that he’s often utilized as a first-team tight end in blocking situations since spring ball indicates he can thrive in this part of the game too.

Texas has some depth at tight end behind Sanders. Alabama transfer and senior tight end Jahleel Billingsley will often be utilized as a receiver that can motion outside as more of a true wideout target. Billingsley isn’t a very good blocking tight end, though.

That’s where second-year tight end Gunnar Helm should come into play. Helm is a solid blocking tight end that is still developing as a receiver. He should be in line to get some live-game reps this fall when Texas is in short-yardage situations and/or lining up with 12 or 22 personnel.