3 Texas football players that will be first-time starters in the Alamo Bowl

Jonathon Brooks, Texas football (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Jonathon Brooks, Texas football (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Morice Blackwell, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Morice Blackwell, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

Texas football and head coach Steve Sarkisian have a shot to end the 2022 campaign nearly doubling their win total from the prior season. No. 20 ranked Texas can get to nine wins on the season if it can knock off the No. 12 ranked Washington Huskies out of the PAC-12 North in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on Dec. 29.

Sark will get to face his former team, which was his first head coaching job in the FBS in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Washington was the first head coaching job that Sark held in the FBS, which spanned from 2009-2013.

Texas co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Pete Kwiatkowski was also the DC at Washington (co-DC for much of his tenure in Seattle) from 2014-2020.

There are a lot of ties to Washington and the west coast in general for the Longhorns staff. But that is just part of the equation for the Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl as the roster will look a little bit different for this game.

Texas had three key opt-outs for the Alamo Bowl including star junior running back Bijan Robinson, senior running back Roschon Johnson, and senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown. That will afford some younger players the opportunity to step up in the spotlight during the postseason.

Jonathon Brooks and the first-time Texas football starters for the Alamo Bowl vs. Washington

Here’s a look at three Longhorns players that could be first-time starters in the Alamo Bowl against Washington.

Morice Blackwell Jr., LB

To fill the shoes left by Overshown opting out of the Alamo Bowl, there could be a linebacker-by-committee approach for PK and the Longhorns. But the one Longhorns linebacker that I expect to take most of the reps, especially on pass coverage snaps, is sophomore Morice Blackwell Jr.

The former DB recruit was converted from safety to sam linebacker this fall. He started to get more reps at linebacker in the second half of the regular season. In four of the final six games of the regular season, Blackwell took double-digit snaps at linebacker.

I’d imagine that the plan is for the hard-hitting Blackwell to use that valuable ability that he has to cover from the linebacker position on obvious passing downs on defense for the Longhorns.

Blackwell is actually the more capable and consistent linebacker in pass coverage compared to what the front seven had with Overshown in the lineup. Since Blackwell is a converted defensive back, that is a natural place for him to thrive.

But the sure-tackling and hard-hitting abilities that Blackwell brings to the table also make him a force to be reckoned with at the line of scrimmage. Against a Washington offense that relies mostly on the passing game, Blackwell will be an integral part of the Texas defense in the Alamo Bowl.