Evaluating Texas football’s top 3 impact players for 2022 season

Xavier Worthy, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Xavier Worthy, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Bijan Robinson, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Bijan Robinson, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

Roughly five days away from the start of the regular season for Texas football, the fans on the Forty Acres can feel the excitement surrounding the start of a critical 2022 campaign for head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff. Texas will open up the 2022 regular season at home on Sep. 3 against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, with kickoff set to come under the lights at DKR at 7 p.m. CT.

Sark and the Longhorns are coming into the 2022 campaign following a disappointing finish to the 2021 season. Texas finished up last season with a record of 5-7 (3-6 Big 12), which caused this team to miss out on bowl season for the first time since 2016.

Clearly, expectations will be for Sark and the Longhorns to make some of the necessary strides this fall to prove this program is headed in the right direction under his guidance.

Texas will get a good opportunity to build up some momentum against a very beatable opponent this weekend in ULM out of the Sun Belt. As more than a 37-point favorite in the opener this weekend, we should see Texas get hot on both sides of the ball out of the gates.

Texas football impact players ready to light it up in 2022

With that in mind, here’s a look at an evaluation of the top three impact players on both sides of the ball for the Longhorns in 2022.

DeMarvion Overshown, LB

The most impactful player on the defensive side of the ball for the Longhorns this season should be the returning senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown. Overshown is one of the most experienced and productive returning players on either side of the ball for the Longhorns this fall.

The way that Co-DC/LB coach Pete Kwiatkowski and the Longhorns defensive staff are planning on utilizing Overshown this fall should make him a real game-breaker if they are able to maximize his skill set. Overshown should be utilized as a delayed blitzer on pass-rushing plays and coming off the edge when he gets an advantageous matchup against a tight end or possibly a running back.

As the starting will linebacker, Overshown is still mostly going to be asked to be the glue of the defense that is able to make plays by blowing up the ball carrier in the backfield while holding strong in his assignments when he drops back into pass coverage.

I want to mention two problems that faced Overshown as the starting will linebacker with the Longhorns last season and two benefactors working in his favor this fall.

The first problem is how the Texas defense just didn’t get much of a push from the defensive line or the linebackers last season. That put the linebackers at a real disadvantage as they were getting buried by opposing offensive lines in run defense a few levels deep.

Overshown was one particular Longhorn player that was impacted in a negative fashion by the lack of push that Texas got in the trenches. A stat that effectively illustrates how much Overshown was impacted by that was the fact that he missed tackles at nearly twice the rate last season as he did in 2020. Overshown also had an average depth of tackle in run defense that was nearly one yard deeper last season than in 2020.

And the second issue that Texas faced last season that particularly impacted Overshown was the missed assignments in coverage. All of the confusion for PK and the Longhorns last season in pass coverage at multiple levels of the defense caused some of the faster players sideline-to-sideline to have the chase down some pass-catchers with room to run in the open field.

That was evident as Overshown was targeted in pass coverage assignments at nearly twice the depth as he was last season.

One of the reasons why I believe Overshown will improve this season is the better understanding of the defense with a more experienced and capable supporting cast around him. Overshown will really be able to let his gifted physical tools and insane speed in pursuit of the ball carrier come to the forefront if he isn’t impacted negatively by missed assignments by his teammates.

I also believe that another year in this system for Overshown will let him get better positioning and a better understanding of his role within this defense. Overshown will be able to hold true to more of his own assignments.

The best part of this could be when Texas utilizes Overshown as a hybrid edge rusher. As the most effective pass rusher for the Longhorns last season, Overshown should be a real weapon for PK to work with off the edge more frequently this fall.

PK has made excellent use of linebacker-sized players in the past as potent and productive edge rushers. Overshown could be next in line to fit that role for the former Washington co-defensive coordinator.