3 true freshmen to watch for Texas football vs. UL-Monroe

Steve Sarkisian, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Steve Sarkisian, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Brenen Thompson, Texas Football
Brenen Thompson, Texas Football.Spearman (Texas) High receiver Brenen Thompson says he’s very interested in Clemson.Dsc 5696 2 /

We will get our first look at live game action for the Texas football program of the 2022 season this weekend when they take on head coach Terry Bowden and the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks out of the Sun Belt on Sep. 3. Texas and head coach Steve Sarkisian will take on ULM under the lights at home at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Sep. 3, with kickoff time set for 7 p.m. CT.

Sark and the Longhorns are coming into this game looking to build up some real momentum before the non-conference slate gets a lot more difficult the following two weekends. After opening up the regular season schedule with ULM this weekend, the Longhorns will face the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in Week 2 and the defending Conference-USA Champion UTSA Roadrunners in Week 3.

If Texas can prove they’ve made some of the necessary strides on each side of the ball since last season, that can help this team’s mindset heading into what is one of the most difficult matchups in recent memory against the Crimson Tide on Sep. 10.

Week 1 will also be a good opportunity for the Longhorns to see some of the younger players step up while getting early reps this fall.

Texas football true freshmen ready for the spotlight vs. ULM

With that in mind, here’s a look at three key true freshmen to watch for the Longhorns in Week 1 against ULM.

Kelvin Banks, OT

One true freshman that looks to be nearly guaranteed to be getting the first-team reps along the offensive line in the regular season opener this weekend is the former elite five-star recruit and 6-foot-5 and 320-pound offensive tackle Kelvin Banks.

Supplanting sophomore Andrej Karic as the starter at the left tackle position, Banks can take the play of this part of the offensive line to another level if he even lives up to a fraction of his potential this fall. Banks is a more complete offensive tackle that is more physically gifted and capable in run and pass blocking than Karic was for Texas last season.

We’ll be looking to see if Banks can hold his own against the limited edge rusher capability of ULM this weekend. It would also be nice to see him get some bodies moved blocking for the run against a ULM defensive front that is actually a little bit slept on in this regard.

One interesting matchup for Banks this weekend could be against redshirt sophomore defensive end Seth Mason. If Mason is matched up against Banks often this weekend, this could serve as an interesting test for the true freshman in the sense that it would be nice to see him thrive right away.

Mason was one of the lowest-graded defensive ends in run defense in the Sun Belt last season. And while he was better rushing the passer, he still ranked in the bottom half of Sun Belt defensive ends/edge rushers in terms of pressure rate (5.4 percent).