Texas Football: 3 freshmen stepping up in bowl practice

Jonathon Brooks, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathon Brooks, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /
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Savion Red, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Savion Red, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

In the last few days, head coach Steve Sarkisian and Texas football got bowl practices underway on the Forty Acres. Texas is preparing to face the No. 12 Washington Huskies and first-year head coach Kalen DeBoer in the Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Dec. 29.

Sark and the Longhorns can end the season on a high note if they can knock off a really good Washington team led by a quarterback that finished in the top 10 of the Heisman voting in senior Michael Penix.

If Texas notches a win over Washington in the Alamo Bowl, it would be the ninth win of the season, which would nearly double the total that Sark managed last year.

But this matchup in the Alamo Bowl is clearly a tough one. Washington brings an explosive offense that is averaging more than 40 points per game (good for fifth in the FBS) along with a capable defense. Washington is strong in run defense and can force timely turnovers against unsuspecting opponents.

It won’t help the Longhorns that three key players opted out of the Alamo Bowl. Star junior running back Bijan Robinson, senior Roschon Johnson, and senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown opted out of the Alamo Bowl to prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft.

Jonathon Brooks and the freshmen stepping up early in bowl practice for Texas football

That will put more pressure on the shoulders of some underclassmen that will need to rise to the occasion if Texas wants to knock off Washington in the bowl game. With that in mind, here’s a look at three freshmen for the Longhorns stepping up early in bowl practice.

Savion Red, WR

A potential hidden gem for the Longhorns from the 2022 recruiting class is the former three-star prospect and true freshman wide receiver Savion Red. The former SMU Mustangs commit and Grand Prairie, TX, native stepped up during the offseason and impressed the coaches coming out of fall camp.

Red earned himself some live-game reps during his true freshman campaign this fall thanks to the impression he made on the coaching staff during camp last offseason. He took more than 60 offensive snaps during the regular season, most of which came when the Longhorns were up big in games.

During the regular season, Red was targeted six times, resulting in five catches for 33 yards and no scores.

And almost every single one of Red’s targets came on screens or short passes. He showed the ability to pick up some yards after the catch on those targets in the short passing game, as he raked in 43 yards after the catch this season.

Red has proven to be an elusive and reliable receiver out of the slot. He’s got more range than his 5-foot-11 and 205-pound frame would otherwise indicate. If he’s making some real strides in practice in the next couple of weeks, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him getting double-digit offensive snaps yet again.

Moreover, given the possibility that redshirt junior wide receiver Jordan Whittington leaves for the NFL after the bowl game (not to mention the possibility that Xavier Worthy tests the waters in the portal), Texas could be looking to get Red and fellow freshman wideout Brenen Thompson more reps. These two true freshmen wideouts are already getting more key first and second-team practice reps in the last few days.

And it already sounds like Red and Thompson are both making good impressions on the coaching staff with what they’ve put on display in the early stages of Alamo Bowl practice.

I would anticipate Red getting some snaps out of the slot in the second half when Texas faces Washington in the Alamo Bowl. That could be the case even earlier in the game if Texas or Washington has a sizable lead before halftime.