The 2019 class is going to go down as a game-changing group for the Texas football program. As we’re already seeing in the early stages of the 2020 cycle, Texas is clearly going to continue to answer Horace Greeley’s call to “go west” in order to find top prospects. Oklahoma leaned heavily on that strategy this decade while they were getting pushed out of Texas after bringing Mike Stoops and Tim Kish in fresh off their stint in Arizona. It yielded mixed results for them, regularly bringing in blue chip talent but some of which flamed out and some of which drove their success
The 2018 Texas defense was very heavily impacted by the infusion of Caden Sterns and B.J. Foster as early enrollees. Both were 5-star talents with the size, speed, and skill to acclimate quickly to the college game. The bigger key though was that both were around for winter S&C, spring install, and summertime 7-on-7 before the crucial days of fall camp where a coaching staff tends to build the team around established players. Those two were able to establish themselves within the system in the early part of the year and thus claim the sorts of roles in the fall that their talent could command.
With the exodus of Cameron Rising and Shane Buechele in the NCAA Transfer Portal, there’s all the more impetus on the 2020 class to bring more talent to the quarterback position. For the 2019 and 2020 seasons Texas currently figures to have Sam Ehlinger starting. Then in 2021 there'd presumably be a battle between RS junior Casey Thompson, RS sophomore Roschon Johnson, and RS freshman Hudson Card. Of course with the way things go today perhaps only one or two of those names would still be around to take the torch from Ehlinger.
With Lil’Jordan Humphrey declaring for the NFL draft, the picture of the 2019 Texas football roster is starting to come into focus. The main cogs of 2018 are now accounted for as either graduating, departing early for the NFL, or returning. Texas has a lot going for it heading into 2019, namely the continued growth of key players recruited by Tom Herman in 2017 and 2018 that have additional developmental leaps ahead of them such as Sam Cosmi, Keaontay Ingram, Caden Sterns, B.J. Foster, and Sam Ehlinger.
This was a huge narrative win for Texas. They beat the team that was supposed to be in the playoffs over Notre Dame. They beat the team that Oklahoma couldn't beat a year ago. They beat an SEC power that Texas A&M hasn't beaten this century. They beat the spread (Georgia +13!!!!).
The main value of this game for Texas is that they're going to face a playoff caliber program, indeed one that they'd be likely to face if they made the playoffs in upcoming seasons, that isn't Oklahoma. The Sooners are a great annual test and Texas' road to the playoffs goes through OU, but it's valuable to get a feel for where you're at relative to a program like Georgia. After all, beating an SEC power is not a hurdle that the Sooners have yet cleared.
Building out an elite offense is often a pretty misunderstood exercise. On defense you don’t really get to pick where the ball is going save for by having truly transcendent defenders that the offense has to avoid or else by dedicating numbers and leverage to take something away. The offense can take a good deal more initiative in determining where the focal point of a given play will be.