Texas Football: 4 pleasant surprises for Longhorns from first half

Jonathon Brooks, Texas football
Jonathon Brooks, Texas football /
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Vernon Broughton, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Vernon Broughton, Texas football. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

Vernon Broughton, DL

Texas’ interior defensive line might be the biggest strength of any position group this season. It’s a foregone conclusion that Texas has one of the best defensive lines in the Power Five this fall.

Led by redshirt senior T’Vondre Sweat and junior Byron Murphy II, Texas’ defensive line has made life difficult for opposing offenses in pass pro and establishing the line in the run game. But another big reason for the Longhorns’ dominance at the line of scrimmage on defense this season is the depth along the defensive line.

Texas can rotate guys like senior defensive lineman Alfred Collins and junior Vernon Broughton to keep the starters fresh up front.

Broughton is one of my most pleasant surprises along the defensive line this season. He’s finally taken that leap to become a consistent depth piece along the defensive front. Texas fans have waited the last few years for Broughton to live up to the potential of the highly touted blue-chip recruit he was pegged to be by the major recruiting services out of high school.

We always knew Broughton was capable of making an impact as an interior pass rusher from the three-tech. But he’s expanded his positional versatility, rushing the passer from the 2i and 1 technique this season.

Another area of growth in Broughton’s game is the heightened impact on the run defense along the interior D-Line. Broughton has three run stops and five tackles short of the first down this season. He’s on pace for a career-high in run stops for the 2023 campaign.

Broughton is one of fewer than 10 Big 12 interior defensive linemen this season with a pressure rate over seven percent and at least one sack.

He’s also played big in the biggest games for the Longhorns against Power Five competition this season. Broughton has over a half-dozen quarterback pressures, one QB hit, and one sack against P5 opponents in four games.