Texas tailback Cody Johnson, a 250-pounder who played primarily in short-yardage situations last season, will start Saturday’s season opener against Rice, coach Mack Brown said today.
Brown said the Longhorns plan to use all three members of its tailback tandem in the game but Johnson offers a strong “downhill” runner to set the tone against the Owls’ defense. Brown said he also plans to use Tre Newton, a Southlake Carroll graduate who led the team in rushing last season (552 yards), and Fozzy Whittaker against the Owls.
Monday marked the Longhorns’ first official depth chart since the team began fall drills. Brown said changes could occur before Saturday’s game. But as things stand today, in other depth-chart releated news:
Case McCoy, younger brother of former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, has edged Connor Wood in a battle of incoming freshmen to be the backup to starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert.
Mike Davis, a freshman receiver from Dallas, is listed as a co-starter at flanker with senior John Chiles and will play in Saturday’s game.
Tyrell Higgins will open at the defensive tackle spot next to returnee Kheeston Randall, with Alex Okafor _ a converted DE _ listed as Higgins’ primary backup.
Two incoming freshmen are listed as second-teamers at defensive end: Jackson Jeffcoat, a five-star signee, and Reggie Wilson, a Haltom graduate. Coaches said both will play Saturday.
Dravanti Johnson has won a starting job at strongside linebacker.
Jordan Hicks, a five-star signee from Ohio, is listed as the backup at weakside linebacker and is expected to play Saturday.
Texas’ initial depth chart includes 13 freshmen.
James Kirkendoll, the player Brown called the Longhorns’ “most consistent” receiver during fall camp, will see significant time at split end as well as at the slot receiver position.
-- Jimmy Burch