These Texas football players will be toughest to replace in 2024

Texas football could be losing at least a half-dozen players who will be selected before the fifth round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Which of them will be the most difficult for the coaching staff to replace entering the SEC this year?
T'Vondre Sweat, Byron Murphy II, Barryn Sorrell, Texas football
T'Vondre Sweat, Byron Murphy II, Barryn Sorrell, Texas football / Aaron E. Martinez / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Jonathon Brooks, Texas football
Jonathon Brooks, Texas football / Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman

Jonathon Brooks, RB

For the first 10 games of the 2023 season, the offensive MVP for the Longhorns was redshirt sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks.

In his first year as the starting running back for Texas, Brooks broke out with over 1,000 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in under a dozen games. He was also the highest-graded rusher in the Big 12 before the season-ending knee injury against TCU on Nov. 11.

Brooks rushed for 1,139 yards, over six yards per carry, and 10 rushing touchdowns in 2023. He was also a big contributor in the passing game in 2023, registering a career-high 25 catches for 286 receiving yards and four touchdown catches.

The breakout season for Brooks was unfortunately ended prematurely in the win over TCU in mid-November. Had it not been for that season-ending knee injury, Brooks likely would've been on track to be a finalist for the Doak Walker Award.

The pace he was on before the injury, and even in the game itself that he was injured in, Brooks was going to do big things in the postseason for the Longhorns had he remained healthy.

True freshman running back CJ Baxter Jr. and sophomore Jaydon Blue split the carries out of the backfield after Brooks' injury. Baxter took the larger split of the carries and finished the 2023 campaign ranked second on the team with over 600 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.

But Blue also made a big impact on the ground and in the receiving game down the stretch, including over 100 total yards against Washington in the CFP and in the finale win over Texas Tech.

Baxter and Blue will compete for the first-team reps at running back this spring. Texas could also see true freshman Jerrick Gibson and rising junior Savion Red figure into the equation at running back this spring, too (per Inside Texas).

It won't be anything new for RB coach Tashard Choice, Sarkisian, and the Longhorns to have a running back competition for the starting job in spring ball.

Brooks and Baxter competed for the starting job through the early portion of the 2023 season before the former of those two backs won out.

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