The 2023 college football season has come and gone, and for Texas football, it was their most successful campaign in over a decade.
The Longhorns picked up arguably the most impressive win of the season when they went into Tuscaloosa on Sept. 9 and handed Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide a 34-24 loss. It was the first time a Saban-coached Alabama team lost by double-digits inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
After reeling off five wins to start the season by a combined score of 180-64, the No. 3 ranked Longhorns entered the Cotton Bowl as 3.5-point favorites over the 12th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. The Horns came roaring back from a 10-point second-half deficit to take a 30-27 lead with 1:17 remaining. However, as we all remember, the defense could not hold up. The 34-30 loss was the first of the season for Texas and created razor-thin margins if this team wanted to achieve their goals.
Who's up next for Texas football among the underclassmen?
Despite facing adversity in most of their next seven games, including a shoulder injury that kept quarterback Quinn Ewers sidelined for two weeks, the Longhorns ran the table, finishing the regular season 11-1 and punching their ticket to the Big 12 Championship.
Texas played arguably their cleanest game of the season in Arlington and thoroughly dominated Oklahoma State 49-21. It was the Longhorns' first Big 12 title since 2009, and helped Texas leave the conference having won its last game against every Big 12 foe.
The subsequent Sugar Bowl loss is still fresh in our minds and was a gut-wrenching end to such a successful season. That said, Texas heads into the offseason of Year 4 of the Steve Sarkisian era with incredible momentum.
Turning our focus to the 2024 season, Texas football and its fans have much to look forward to. Yes, they are losing many critical pieces from the 2023 roster. Namely T'Vondre Sweat, Xavier Worthy, Adonai Mitchell, JT Sanders, Jonathon Brooks, and Christian Jones. That said, losing high-level contributors to the NFL Draft signifies an elite program.
Coach Sark and his staff have done a terrific job recruiting the high school ranks, finishing with top-five classes in each of the last three cycles (On3Sports).
The fruits of their labor on the recruiting trail should pay dividends when looking to replace key departures. Programs like Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State have always touted the phrase, "We don't rebuild; we reload."
Texas is looking to reload with a plethora of young, talented players. Let's take a look at three underclassmen who are poised for a breakout during the 2024 season.