Texas football CB Ryan Watts likely to be available vs. Kansas State

Ryan Watts, Texas Football. Mandatory Credit: Sara Diggins/Austin American-Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK
Ryan Watts, Texas Football. Mandatory Credit: Sara Diggins/Austin American-Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK /

Texas football has some question marks heading into the key matchup this weekend against the No. 13 Kansas State Wildcats on the road in Manhattan. And most of the looming injury concerns for Texas heading into the Kansas State game are in the secondary.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns saw three defensive backs experience various injury issues in the loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater a couple of weekends ago. That trio included redshirt sophomore cornerback Ryan Watts, true freshman nickel Jaylon Guilbeau, and senior safety Anthony Cook.

And it looked like all three Texas defensive backs could miss at least a game or two given the severity of each injury.

But the outlook looks to be more optimistic with at least a couple of these DBs than originally anticipated.

For instance, it looks like Texas is going to have Watts available at boundary corner this weekend. According to a report from Chip Brown of Horns247 on Nov. 3 (paid content), Watts should be available for Texas following the hamstring injury he experienced against Oklahoma State on Oct. 22.

This report mentions that Watts “should be good to go barring any setbacks” before the game on Saturday night. Watts also reportedly practiced throughout this week.

Texas football CB Ryan Watts making progress and should be available vs. Kansas State

It’s worth noting that Sark provided an injury update for both Watts and Cook in his Thursday press conference on Nov. 3. He didn’t provide any actual status for the Kansas State game for either defensive back, Sark did talk about the progress that each was making.

Sark stated in his press conference that Watts and Cook “both look pretty good to me”. So, it sounds like Sark at least thinks both are making progress in practice this week.

Moreover, the timing of the bye week was good in terms of Texas’ injured players getting the extra time to rest and recover before a difficult November stretch, which starts this weekend against a top-15 ranked Kansas State team in a tough environment on the road in Manhattan.

Watts has dealt with lingering lower-body injury issues throughout the last few games. He was on and off the field on almost a weekly basis in the last month or so.

If Watts is able to make a full return for the Longhorns this weekend, that would make a huge impact on this defensive backfield. Watts has shown to be a stout boundary corner for Texas this season.

And when he’s sidelined due to injury, the secondary suffers when younger corners have to fill the void in pass coverage.

Watts’ return against Kansas State will also be valuable for Texas as he has an important matchup on the outside against super-senior 6-foot-3 wide receiver Malik Knowles. Last weekend, Knowles had a huge game for the Wildcats in a blowout win in Manhattan over Oklahoma State where he posted eight catches for more than 110 yards.

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Texas heads into this contest against Kansas State with a record of 5-3 (3-2 Big 12) coming out of the bye week. The kickoff time between Texas and Kansas State on Nov. 5 is set for 6 p.m. CT at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.