3 Texas football upperclassmen standing out in winter S&C

Multiple rising upperclassmen for Texas football are stepping into new leadership roles early this offseason.
Kelvin Banks Jr., Texas football
Kelvin Banks Jr., Texas football / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Morice Blackwell Jr., Texas football
Morice Blackwell Jr., Texas football / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /

Morice Blackwell Jr., LB

Texas has many experienced linebackers returning to the defensive front in 2024. Among the upperclassmen with multiple years of live-game experience in the Power Five at linebacker are senior Alabama transfer Kendrick Blackshire, sixth-year senior David Gbenda, and redshirt junior Morice Blackwell Jr.

Pete Kwiatkowski and the Longhorns have plenty of experience in the linebacker room this year to help minimize the impact of the loss of the leadership and effectiveness of All-Big 12 senior Jaylan Ford to the NFL Draft this offseason.

Texas will rely on returning players and emerging leaders in the linebacker corps, namely Blackwell, Gbenda, and rising sophomore Anthony Hill Jr., to lead this group into the SEC in 2024. These three will also be critical in helping get all the young linebackers and new additions at the position integrated into the defense entering spring ball.

From what's been reported among the early returns from offseason workouts, Blackwell is someone who's emerged as a leader by example and with a greater vocal presence on defense in the last couple of months.

This is really the first time this year that we're getting to see and hear about a fully healthy and polished Blackwell stepping up as a leader in offseason workouts. He's coming off an injury last offseason that limited him in summer workouts and fall camp.

Just two offseasons ago, the Longhorns converted Blackwell from safety to hybrid linebacker.

Blackwell is reportedly one linebacker that has stuck out in a positive sense for the leadership traits he's showing and his performance in workouts. He "looks great" physically and is "leading from the front of the line" in winter S&C.