Breaking down 3 best Texas football newcomers so far this season

Kelvin Banks, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Kelvin Banks, Texas Football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Ryan Watts, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Watts, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

Texas football head coach Steve Sarkisian boasts a pretty young team among the starters in 2022. Especially on the offensive side of the ball, there is a plethora of underclassmen starting. That includes two true freshmen along the offensive line. The defense does have more experienced that returned this season, at least compared to the offense, though.

It also looks like Sark and the Longhorns staff did better work scouting out talent in the NCAA Transfer Portal this offseason compared to last year. Texas does have more impactful transfer portal additions from what we saw from the newcomers on each side of the ball so far this season.

Texas is sporting a record of 2-2 (0-1 Big 12) through the first month of the regular season following a tough upset loss on the road in overtime on Sep. 24 at the hands of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Now through four weeks in the 2022 regular season, we have enough information and film to evaluate the early returns from some of the more notable newcomers for the Longhorns.

Impactful newcomers for Texas football through 4 weeks

Here’s a look at a breakdown of the three most impactful newcomers for the Longhorns so far this season.

Ryan Watts, CB

Among the more talented and capable, but inconsistent, defensive backs for the Longhorns so far this season is the former Ohio State Buckeyes redshirt sophomore cornerback transfer Ryan Watts. The third-year DB and former four-star recruit got off to a solid start through the first two games of this season.

The last two games fully saw the ups and downs of Watts in pass coverage, though. He was picked on at times in Texas’ win over the UTSA Roadrunners two weekends ago to the tune of more than 50 receiving yards allowed, two contested catches allowed, and one receiving touchdown in pass coverage.

Yet, Watts was one of the brighter spots in the Texas secondary last weekend. There were times last weekend when Watts was playing a little too far off the line of scrimmage and was caught being too far behind the play, but that might not be the blame you can fully place on his shoulders. Texas was playing too soft in coverage throughout much of the game last weekend, which is also some blame that you can place on co-DC/LB coach Pete Kwiatkowski.

Watts actually does a great job defending the run. He’s got the best grade in run defense this season among Texas defensive backs. He also ranks among the top three corners in the Big 12 this season in terms of run defense grade.

If you remove that UTSA game, Watts had a pretty stellar start to the season in multiple phases of the game on defense. He’s got multiple quarterback pressures under his belt, less than 30 receiving yards against (outside of the UTSA game), and doesn’t have a single missed tackle in run defense so far this season.

What Watts needs to clean up is his approach in terms to tackling on passing plays and the ability to play the ball in the air when facing a capable taller wideout on the outside. Watts needs to be a solid boundary corner that can use his insane 6-foot-3 frame and great wingspan to limit the effectiveness of taller outside receivers.

Watts will be put to the test this coming weekend when Texas faces West Virginia and a standout 6-foot-4 wideout in Kaden Prather.