Texas Football: 3 freshmen that will breakout for Horns in Week 1 vs. Rice

CJ Baxter Jr., Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
CJ Baxter Jr., Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Cedric Baxter Jr., Texas football
Cedric Baxter Jr., Texas football /

CJ Baxter Jr., RB

The best breakout candidate among the true freshmen on offense for the Longhorns in Week 1 against Rice is the no. 1 rated running back recruit in the nation in the 2023 class in the 247Sports Composite, CJ Baxter Jr. The Orlando (FL) Edgewater product took first-team reps at running back in practice this week, indicating how much progress he’s made since the start of training camp.

Baxter is another true freshman for the Longhorns that had a great showing in camp. He closed the gap on redshirt sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks in the battle for reps at the position heading into the season.

It wouldn’t surprise me if there is a clean split in reps out of the backfield this weekend between Brooks and Baxter. Brooks will be the feature back in the first half against Rice. But Sark will work Baxter into the offense more as the game progresses.

Brooks and Baxter are in for big performances this weekend against a Rice run defense that was among the worst in the FBS last season, allowing over five yards per carry and more explosive runs than any other team in Conference-USA (per CFB Stats).

Texas’ offensive line should bully the physically overmatched Rice defensive front, given that the Longhorns’ average starting OL has nearly 50 pounds on the average starting Rice DL.

Baxter will have plenty of opportunities this weekend to break big runs against what is probably the least efficient run defense Texas will face this season. He could easily go over 100 rushing yards and get a touchdown or two this weekend.

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