Longhorn fans hope that Year No. 4 under head coach Tom Herman will see Texas come back to the Big 12 elite after struggling in 2019.
A year after making it to the Big 12 Championship Game and winning the Sugar Bowl, Texas fell to 8-5 and 5-4 in conference play in 2019. The Longhorns have a trio of marquee games scheduled this year beginning with a Sept. 12 road trip to LSU, the annual Red River Showdown on Oct. 10 and a regular season finale at Oklahoma State on Nov. 27.
Austin has always been a popular landing spot for former Texas High School Football stars and here are five key players that look to have big seasons for the Longhorns.
Sam Cosmi, junior offensive lineman, Humble Atascocita
The biggest indicator of how successful of a season Texas has is whether Cosmi declares for the NFL Draft after the season.
Cosmi was an all-Big 12 second-team selection after helping UT score 35.2 points per game. Texas hasn’t had a offensive lineman selected in the first round of the draft since 2002.
At Atascocita, Cosmi was an Associated Press Class 6A All-State Second Team selection in 2021 and earned all-district honors twice.
Keondre Coburn, sophomore defensive lineman, Houston Westfield
Coburn had a solid debut season in 2019 and looks to anchor the UT defensive line in 2020.
The Houston Westfield alum had 26 tackles, including 18 solo, as a freshman to go along with 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery. Beyond the stats, Coburn will be looked upon to create havoc up front and allow UT’s speedy linebackers to pursue ball carrier and wide receivers in the offensive-crazed Big 12.
Coburn was a Under Armour All-American in high school along with a three-time all-district selection.
Sam Ehlinger, senior quarterback, Austin Westlake
UT fans will have one last chance to root on Ehlinger this season and the senior signal caller has been named to both the Maxwell and O’Brien Awards watchlists.
Some may have considered 2019 a down year for Ehlinger, but the numbers don’t really reflect that statement. While his rushing touchdowns did drop from 16 in 2018 to seven in 2019, his completion percentage remained at 65 percent, but he did post an increase in passing yards (3,663) and passing touchdowns (32).
Ehlinger was Westlake’s all-time leader in passing yards (7,491) and passing touchdowns (89) after his prep career ended.
Joseph Ossai, junior linebacker, Conroe Oak Ridge
Ossai is considered UT’s best defender after breaking out in 2019 and being named the Alamo Bowl Defensive MVP in Texas’ 38-10 win over Utah.
The Conroe Oak Ridge alum three sacked, five tackles for loss and nine total tackles. His third quarter tackle for loss on Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley gave Texas the ball on the Utah 45-yard line after a turnover on downs and set up a Ehlinger touchdown pass to Keaontay Ingram (Carthage) that extended the Longhorn lead to 17-0.
He finished the year with 90 tackles, including 62 solo stops, 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions and three pass deflections.
Ossai was a Texas Sports Writers Association All-State Honorable Mention during his time at Oak Ridge.
Caden Sterns, junior defensive back, Cibolo Steele
Sterns looks to bounce back after suffering through an injury-ridden season in 2019.
The 2018 Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year had just one pass deflection last season to go with 58 tackles, including four for loss and a sack. The former Cibolo Steele star had four interceptions as a freshman.
Sterns was a U.S. Army All-American Bowl Defensive MVP during his prep career as well as a two-time Associated Press all-state selection and two-time all-district pick.