3 freshmen for Texas football ready to breakout in Big 12 play

Ethan Burke, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Ethan Burke, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Justice Finkley, EDGE

Despite only taking a little more than two dozen defensive snaps to start out the 2022 season, the former four-star recruit and true freshman edge rusher Justice Finkley should still get an opportunity to make a big impact on this defensive front during the Big 12 slate.

Finkley got defensive snaps against ULM and UTSA so far this season, where he registered one tackle, one stop, and one quarterback pressure. The good news here is that Finkley didn’t make any mistakes that were super obvious in his first couple of games of the season.

What could open the door for Finkley to earn more key live-game defensive snaps this fall would be any potential struggles from senior edge rusher and the former Notre Dame transfer Ovie Oghoufo. An up-and-down start to the season definitely leaves the door open to the possibility of others getting a shot to make an impact at the edge rusher position in Big 12 play.

Co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Pete Kwiatkowski and the Longhorns are clearly still looking for an impact pass rusher that can spark this defensive front. We saw flashes from senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown as a hybrid edge rusher and from sophomore edge rusher Barryn Sorrell in the first few games of the season in terms of their pass-rushing productivity.

Although, Texas has yet to see any consistent impact pass rusher step up for the Longhorns during the non-conference slate. Thus, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Finkley get a shot to make an early impact this fall with heightened defensive snaps in Big 12 play.

Finkley has already taken the fourth-most defensive snaps among true freshmen for Texas through three games. And he only has two fewer defensive snaps than the freshman in third place, which is cornerback Austin Jordan. It’s not a stretch to say that his role will continue to increase throughout the rest of the season.