5 Texas football players who will battle for their job in spring practice

Very few Texas football players will have secure roster spots entering spring ball as head coach Steve Sarkisian has one of the most talented groups he's seen during his time on the 40 in 2024.
Johntay Cook II, Texas football
Johntay Cook II, Texas football / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
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With winter workouts well underway on the Forty Acres, it won't be long until spring ball has returned for the Texas football program and head coach Steve Sarkisian. In roughly one month, Texas will kick off spring ball.

And before we know it, the time will come to be back at DKR for the annual Orange-White Game on April 20.

Among the most pressing questions entering spring ball for the Longhorns is how all the new additions to the program will fit and how they will mix in on the two-deep. Texas welcomed 17 early enrollees for the spring semester among the high school signees in the 2024 class.

Who must step up to secure spots on the two-deep for Texas football in the spring?

Sarkisian and staff also brought in seven players from the transfer portal for the spring, with at least one more set to arrived for the summer semester.

All this new talent that Sarkisian and the Longhorns added to the mix via high school recruiting and the transfer portal will shake up the two-deep compared to some of the returning players from last year's squad. There is just too much talent and depth on the roster again in 2024 for natural attrition not to take place during spring ball.

Here are five key players for the Longhorns who must battle for their spot in spring ball.

Liona Lefau, LB

One of the second-year players for the Longhorns who is expected to make that sophomore jump entering the spring is mike linebacker Liona Lefau. Lefau made an impression in camp last offseason and during the preseason with his instincts and ability to find the ball carrier.

He pretty much won that backup job at mike linebacker and got to learn under All-Big 12 senior Jaylan Ford for one season in 2023. Now that Ford is gone to the NFL Draft in 2024, the mike linebacker job is up for grabs.

Lefau is one of the leading candidates, along with former Alabama junior transfer Kendrick Blackshire and fellow rising sophomore Anthony Hill Jr. to win the first-team reps at mike linebacker this spring. Sixth-year senior linebacker David Gbenda is also a potential candidate to take first-team reps at the mike spot in camp.

If it wasn't obvious already, this will be an open competition for the mike linebacker job during the spring. Lefau or Hill is the long-term answer at the position, but Blackshire and Gbenda have more proven experience at this spot at the collegiate level.