3 Texas upperclassmen who can lose starting jobs this spring

Vernon Broughton, Texas football
Vernon Broughton, Texas football / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
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Vernon Broughton, Texas football
Vernon Broughton, Texas football / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Vernon Broughton, DL

Texas has gaping shoes to fill at defensive tackle this spring after losing potential first round 2024 NFL Draft picks T'Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II this offseason.

New defensive line coach Kenny Baker turns to two fifth-year senior defensive tackles to step up as the starters to anchor the front seven this spring, Alfred Collins and Vernon Broughton. Getting Collins and Broughton back for one more season was critical for the Longhorns to put their best foot forward in the trenches in the SEC in 2024.

Collins and Broughton are the two most experienced and proven defensive tackles for Texas, both with multiple seasons of starting experience in the trenches in the Power Five.

Texas must rely on young depth and a transfer to round out the defensive line rotation behind the duo of Collins and Broughton. Arizona grad transfer Tia Savea and rising redshirt sophomore Jaray Bledsoe are two of the defensive tackles expected to provide valuable depth and reliable snaps in the defensive line rotation this upcoming season behind Collins and Broughton.

But there are multiple young and talented Texas defensive tackles who are primed to take the next step this spring. Baker must work to develop rising defensive linemen this spring, namely Bledsoe, Sydir Mitchell, Aaron Bryant, and Alex January to become bigger contributors in the interior DL rotation.

Word on the street is that Bledsoe and Mitchell have made sizable progressions since the start of offseason workouts a few months ago. Bledsoe has all the tools to be a freaky matchup nightmare at three-tech defensive tackle in the SEC. He just needs to put it all together and continue to work on his pad-level fundamentals and hand placement in team drills and scrimmages this spring.

Mitchell, meanwhile, is the biggest of the Texas defensive tackles, at 6-foot-6 and 372-pounds. Texas won his recruitment over multiple big-time SEC programs, including the Georgia Bulldogs and LSU Tigers. He has all the potential in the world to be a game-wrecker in the middle of Texas's defensive line in the SEC.

If Mitchell can prove he's got his body right and can handle consistent snaps at defensive tackle in practice with the first or second-team, he'll be a fast riser on the depth chart entering the upcoming season in the SEC in 2024.