These Texas football players have the most to prove in winter workouts

The winter strength and conditioning program gets underway on Jan. 22 for the Texas football program and S&C coach Torre Becton. Who can emerge as the leaders for the Longhorns in the next few weeks with many new faces on campus for the start of winter S&C?

Sydir Mitchell, Texas football
Sydir Mitchell, Texas football / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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CJ Baxter Jr., Texas football
CJ Baxter Jr., Texas football / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /

CJ Baxter Jr., RB

Texas's running back room is absolutely loaded heading into the 2024 offseason. RB coach Tashard Choice and the Longhorns return rising sophomore CJ Baxter Jr. and junior Jaydon Blue, among a few others who got touches out of the backfield last fall.

In addition, Choice and the Longhorns bring in two blue-chips from the 2024 signing class as early enrollees, Jerrick Gibson and Christian Clark.

With redshirt sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks electing to declare early for the 2024 NFL Draft, Baxter and Blue are expected to compete for the starting reps out of the backfield this spring.

Baxter and Blue split the reps at running back down the stretch last season after Brooks suffered a season-ending ACL tear in mid-November in the TCU game. They emerged as a formidable duo who can spearhead an effective ground game for the Longhorns, and they threatened opposing defenses with their ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

Many expect Baxter to be the breakout player to watch for the Longhorns at running back this spring. In his second full offseason in the program, Baxter can keep developing his aggression and confidence while getting down to work in weight room to continue to get his body right.

Part of running with more confidence and aggression will be Baxter adding a bit more muscle mass to his frame to get ready to compete in the physical trenches of the SEC in 2024.