Texas Longhorns Top NFL Prospects for 2012 and Beyond


The Texas Longhorns may not have as many blue chip NFL prospects as they once did, but they are still on the top of the list when you talk about bringing in guys who can make an impact on your team, and they still boast some of the best athletes in all of college football.

Texas has their work cut out for them in 2011 as the Big 12 should be one of the most competitive conferences in all of college football this year, but they have a lot of returning talent this year, and hope for some stability in the offensive backfield, where Garrett Gilbert will be joined by one of the top overall running backs in the recruiting class of 2011.

11 Cody Johnson (RS Senior), RB/FB, 5’11” 250

Johnson is a battering ram at the running back position and a fifth year senior who led the Longhorns with 592 yards rushing in 2010. He reminds me a lot of Greg Jones, former Florida State star and current Jaguars fullback as a guy who hits like a ton of bricks and can carry the ball in short yardage situations. Johnson has been productive for the Longhorns ever since he started playing for them, scoring 30 touchdowns in his first three seasons, and 24 over his first two years. It’s a bit odd to me that Johnson’s touchdown numbers went down this past year despite receiving almost 60 more carries as he had any other year in his career. He has had some injury problems in his career, but he should have a future in the NFL as some team’s power back (see Lousaka Polite, MIA) who can come in for goal line situations and get the tough yardage.

91 Kheeston Randall (Senior), DT, 6’5″ 295

Solid defensive line prospect who projects as an excellent 3-4 defensive end at the next level. Randall hasn’t been overly productive in his Texas career, but he has the size and strength to be a dominant player. As a junior in 2010, he was an honorable mention All Big 12 performer with 39 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, eight QB pressures, three passes broken up, and two blocked kicks. Only had one sack last year, but enters his senior season as one of the top overall defensive tackles in the class of 2012. Has started 22 of Texas’ last 26 games, and should be a major factor on their defensive line in 2012. Very active off the field and an excellent student as well as in the community.

21 Blake Gideon (Senior), S, 6’1″ 205

Instinctive player who knows where to be at all times. Already a veteran of the game having started for three straight years at Texas (39 starts), and will continue to build upon that in his Senior year at Texas. Really has improved in his overall range as a player. Three time honorable mention All Big 12 selection and a 2008 freshman All American when he had 64 tackles and seven passes broken up to help Texas have one of the most dominant defensive units in all of college football. Gideon really built off of his excellent freshman campaign when he had 62 tackles, six interceptions, and five passes broken up. He followed that up with 68 tackles, two more interceptions, and a blocked punt as a junior. Gideon is one of those guys you just love to have on your team, giving every ounce of effort on every single play. He’s a coaches dream and can contribute on special teams as well as at the safety position. A coaches son who really knows the game well, Gideon is the type of player every team wants to have on their roster. Also a pre-season first team All Big 12 selection by the Sporting News.

18 Emmanuel Acho (Senior), LB, 6’2″ 240

Pre-season first team All Big 12 selection by Athlon Sports after a junior season where he had 87 tackles, three sacks, 12 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, six passes broken up, and an interception. A completely different player than his brother Sam, who was drafted as a defensive end. Plays both the strong-side (SAM) and middle (MIKE) linebacker positions for Texas, and is a very good form tackler. Instinctive player who can fight off blocks and make plays in the backfield. Has great size and could be an ideal fit for an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme. Big enough to hold his edge, and very patient against the run. Almost always sticks to his gap and does his job, allowing him to make a lot of plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. Shows good effort in the passing game, but that could be an area of weakness at the next level. Looks like a two-down linebacker, though he could rush the quarterback if he was asked. He may have trouble with backs out of the backfield and tight ends down the seam at the next level, though he rarely puts himself out of place. Not afraid to put his shoulder down and hit a guy, though sometimes his lack of aggression leaves him out to dry against blockers. Sees the play and attacks it, but waits for everything to develop first. Acho should be among the top of his class of senior linebackers.

1 Keenan Robinson (RS Senior), LB, 6’3″ 235

Obviously Robinson has excellent size for a linebacker prospect, and he has been extremely productive in his first three seasons as a Longhorn linebacker. 2nd team All Big 12 selection last year after he led the Longhorns with 113 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, two passes broken up, a fumble forced, and a defensive touchdown. He has also proven to be one of the team’s top special teams players. Honorable mention All Big 12 performer as a sophomore in 2009 when he had 74 tackles, 1.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, and four passes broken up. Excellent length and good quickness off the snap. Definitely makes a lot of tackles, but sometimes allows the play to come to him five, six, seven yards down the field rather than attack it at the line of scrimmage. Very good student who is active in the community and at the local church. Needs to take better angles rather than relying on his natural athleticism to make plays. Definitely capable of the big hit.

6 Christian Scott (Senior), S, 6’1″ 217

Big safety prospect who make his mark on the Longhorns special teams unit to start off his collegiate career, and he should continue to develop as one of the leaders of the secondary in 2012. Missed the entire 2009 season due to an unfortunate academic situation where the teacher was out of the country and unable to change his grades, so he was stuck to practice squad duty where he posed as the opposing team’s best defender. Came back in 2010 and started 10 games, finishing the year with 53 tackles, two forced fumbles, and an interception. Big time high school recruit, where he was an All American and ESPN 150 selection. Should continue to emerge in 2011 as a senior.

9 Malcolm Williams, WR, 6’3″ 230

Big bodied receiver who saw his numbers go down pretty significantly in 2010 with a new quarterback at the helm. Definitely has an intriguing combination of size and speed, and should get plenty of looks at the NFL, but first, he needs to re-establish himself as a top of the line playmaker for the Longhorns. Has showed some ability to return kicks in his UT career, and has 80 career receptions for 1,188 yards and seven touchdowns, including a career high 550 yards in his sophomore season. Good student athlete as well who has a ton of talent, just needs to put it all together.