Texas Football: Jaylan Ford’s voice is ‘one of the most important’ on team

Jaylan Ford, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jaylan Ford, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Texas football returns the bulk of its starters from last year’s squad this fall. Texas returns 17 starters from last year’s squad. And even in the spots where Texas doesn’t return starters (i.e., defensive tackle, field corner, and jack), there is a good argument that the depth and talent are much more prevalent in those position rooms than last year.

Where the Longhorns do lose some valuable depth and experience is among the senior leaders that departed for the NFL Draft this offseason. Running backs Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson were important leaders on offense for the Longhorns. And senior front seven defenders DeMarvion Overshown, Moro Ojomo, and Keondre Coburn were key leaders on the other side of the ball.

Texas will need other leaders on each side of the ball to step up and fill the void left by the departing upperclassmen from last year’s squad. And two names that have stuck out among the emerging senior leaders for Texas this fall are redshirt senior wide receiver Jordan Whittington and senior linebacker Jaylan Ford.

Senior Texas football LB Jaylan Ford emerging as a top leader heading into the fall

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers also deserves recognition for how he’s matured as a leader within the program this offseason.

However, of the emerging leaders for the Longhorns heading into fall camp, Ford might be the x-factor. Not only will Ford have to be the sole leader of the linebacker corps now that Overshown will be playing on Sundays in the NFL, but he also has to set the tone for the front seven with his play on the field this fall.

The good news is that the buzz surrounding Ford’s growth as a leader on defense and as an individual player this offseason is real. We’ve heard it being reported repeatedly this offseason that Ford is looking the part of a true vocal leader in the locker room and a leader by example on the field.

A report from Hudson Standish of Horns247 on July 23 (paid content) reaffirms that Ford is setting the tone with his leadership ahead of the start of fall camp next week. Standish reported that Ford is “becoming one of the most important voices on the team heading into the season”.

Another part of this report that stood out was the likening of Ford’s role on the team and leadership style to that of Roschon last season. That is high praise considering the level of commitment that Roschon showed to winning and elevating this program, as a whole, last year. We didn’t see it from an individual player for a few years within the program.

Ford’s leadership can be passed down to the next generation of Texas LBs

If Ford’s leadership has any sort of impact akin to what Roschon did for the team last season, Texas shouldn’t miss a step on the field this fall (especially on defense) after the loss of multiple important seniors this offseason.

It’s also important to note that Ford’s mentorship this year can help pass the torch to the next generation of Texas linebackers so that the Longhorns don’t miss a step on defense once he graduates next year.

We’ve already mentioned in the last few weeks that Ford is stepping up to help mentor the younger linebackers on the team this offseason, specifically freshmen Anthony Hill Jr. and Liona Lefau.

Next. 4 upperclassmen with the most to prove in fall camp. dark