Starter: T’Vondre Sweat (RS-SR)
Backup: Alfred Collins (SR)
Redshirt senior defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat is one of the most important returning starters for the Longhorns this year. Sweat has the most defensive snaps and production in his collegiate career among Texas’ defensive linemen in 2023.
Defensive line coach Bo Davis and the Longhorns have a really solid backup at defensive tackle with the emergence of senior defensive lineman Alfred Collins in fall camp. Collins was one of the biggest training camp winners for the Longhorns and looks to be a major contributor at DL this season.
Starter: Byron Murphy II (JR)
Backup: Vernon Broughton (JR) OR Trill Carter (SR)
Nose tackle also has an important returning starter for Davis and the Longhorns this season in junior defensive lineman Byron Murphy II. Murphy is the tone-setter for Texas along the defensive front. He’s primed for a career year as the solidified starter at nose tackle for Texas this fall.
There will be a rotation at nose tackle behind Murphy this season. Junior Vernon Broughton, true freshman Sydir Mitchell, and senior Minnesota transfer Trill Carter will all get snaps at nose tackle this season in the DL rotation.
Starter: Barryn Sorrell (JR)
Backup: Justice Finkley (SO)
The leader at the EDGE position for Pete Kwiatkowski and the Longhorns heading into the season is junior Barryn Sorrell. The third-year edge rusher Sorrell is Texas’ most productive returning player at the position this fall.
Texas needs Sorrell to step up and be the impact pass rusher this defense direly needed the last few years under PK. Sorrell led the team in sacks last season and will be one of the top candidates to do so again this year.
Sophomore edge rusher Justice Finkley and redshirt freshman J’Mond Tapp are names to watch among those competing for backup reps at the jack position this season.
Starter: Ethan Burke (SO)
Backup: Colton Vasek (FR)
During spring ball, sophomore edge rusher Ethan Burke took the starting job at the buck position from Finkley. Burke’s natural pass-rushing ability and length, at 6-foot-6 and 257 pounds, will be valuable for PK and the Longhorns coming off the edge this fall.
Texas needs Burke to be an upgrade in the pass rush compared to the production they got last season from senior Ovie Oghoufo. He should be a productive pass rusher this fall. The biggest question for Burke this season will be how he holds up in run defense.
Late in fall camp, true freshman edge rusher Colton Vasek supplanted Finkley, taking the second-team reps at buck. Vasek is the favorite to be the backup jack heading into the season.