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

Vernon Broughton, DL

A top position battle for the Longhorns entering spring ball will be defensive tackle. There won't be a more important position group to watch during the spring to sort out the two-deep and rotation along the interior than the defensive line for Texas.

Texas is counting on returning seniors Alfred Collins and Vernon Broughton to be the next in line as the cream of the crop at defensive tackle. There are two big holes to fill at defensive tackle after the Longhorns lost the two highest-graded interior defensive linemen in the FBS in 2023 in T'Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II.

Collins returning for a fifth season was big news for the Longhorns in 2024. He has the highest upside of any defensive tackle on the roster, and he has consistently improved his game in the last few years.

Broughton has also developed at a solid rate in the last couple of seasons. He is coming off the most productive season of his collegiate career in 2023, racking up a career-high 17 combined tackles, 15 quarterback pressures, five tackles for loss, one sack, and one fumble recovery.

It will be imperative for Broughton to take that next step as a big-time force and a disruptor in the trenches to help lead this defensive line rotation. Most of what Broughton has to prove is that he's ready to take that next step during a contract year for the fifth-year senior, as often said by Inside Texas and Eric Nahlin.

Aaron Bryant, DL

Elaborating on the defensive tackle position battle conversation entering the spring, zero-tech can't be overlooked for the Longhorns. Texas will be very green at nose tackle entering the upcoming season, with multiple underclassmen vying for starting reps at the position entering spring camp.

Texas's two top options for the two-deep depth chart at nose tackle entering the spring are redshirt sophomore Aaron Bryant and sophomore Sydir Mitchell. The 6-foot-2 and 305-pound Bryant is the more experienced among the two guys pushing for the starting reps at nose this spring. He took a career-high 51 defensive snaps over eight games during his sophomore campaign last fall.

We heard positive feedback about Bryant's development in camp and the weight room last offseason. He made ample strides to push for more live-game reps after he was deeper down the depth chart as a true freshman two seasons ago.

This will be a big spring for Bryant to prove that he can step into the role as the top option among true nose tackles for new defensive line coach Kenny Baker and the Longhorns during the spring.

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