5 Texas Football Players Who Could Have Breakout Seasons In 2017

The Texas Longhorns are starting over in 2017, Tom Herman in charge of rebooting the program. Expectations will always be high in Texas, even for a new head coach. Winning a Big 12 title might not be in the cards, but a bowl game needs to be. To get back to the Texas of old, the Longhorns need a few players to have breakout seasons. 

Breakout seasons happen every year in college football. Sometimes, the player in question shows flashes the previous season and takes the next step forward. Sometimes, the player comes out of nowhere to make a massive impact. So who will be the Texas Football breakout players in 2016? We've put together five of the most likely candidates below, although there are a few other players who could end up breaking through this year. 

QB Shane Buechele

This one isn't a surprise right? As a true freshman, Buechele completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,958 yards, 21 TDs and 11 INTs. That's about as well as Texas could have hoped the young QB played, even if he did slow down late in the year. But now that Tom Herman is in town, Buechele is expected to take another (big) leap forward. If Herman can get him to play like some of his other pupils (J.T. Barrett, Greg Ward), the Texas offense could shine. Of course, he'll need help. 

LB Malik Jefferson

Jefferson was named the 2016 preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as everyone expected a breakout and massive season from the talented. At the end of the year, Jefferson didn't even make honorable mention. His tackles dropped from 61 to 60, although he had nine tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. The hope is that new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando can maximize Jefferson's ability in the way Charlie Strong and Co. failed to. If that happens, Jefferson will be one of the best linebackers in college football. Texas' defense needs that. 

WR Collin Johnson

And here's Buechele's likely top target next year. Sure, Johnson isn't the top returning WR based on the stats, but he still racked up 315 yards and three scores on 28 catches as a true freshman. In 2017, expect the 6-foot-6 weapon to emerge as a deadly threat. Big 12 corners don't have the size to hang with Johnson and he'll be a dangerous red zone threat. When in doubt, watch for Buechele to lob one up to Johnson and let him come down with it. With his size, he could become unguardable in the same way Mike Evans once was at Texas A&M. 

DE Malcolm Roach

Roach showed real promise as a freshman last year, racking up eight TFLs and three sacks. Now, he's expected to be one of the focal points of the Texas 3-man front. He'll line up at DE and could become a disruptive defensive end this year. He'll need to both stop the run and get the QB, but Roach has the ability to do just that. 

RB Chris Warren III

D'Onta Foreman carried the Texas offense last year quite literally. He racked up over 2,000 yards on the ground and had nearly 70 percent of the team's rushing yards. But with Foreman (and Tyrone Swoopes) off to the NFL, Texas must replace 71 percent of the team's carries, 75 percent of the rushing yards and all but five rushing TDs. The bulk of that burden will far on Warren, who had 62 carries for 366 yards and 3 TDs before an injury cut his year short. He showed great promise his freshman year and Herman was impressed with him in workouts. If Warren can stay healthy, he'll be in for a big year, even if he doesn't match Foreman's monster numbers.  

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