DE Jackson Jeffcoat (Sr.)
Entering the Longhorns’ game against Kansas State, Jeffcoat’s season could be summed up in one word: disappointing. However, the senior defensive end stepped up in a big way in a critical game for Texas, leading an impressive effort by an inspired Texas defense. In addition to helping shore up the Longhorns’ run defense, which had been atrocious through three games but held the Wildcats to a mere three yards per carry, Jeffcoat registered his first two sacks of the season. If he can continue playing at this level, this defense will look a lot different from the first three games of the season.
RB Johnathan Gray (So.)
Although Gray was on this list last week, it’s hard to keep him off here with the way he’s playing. After solid performances in consecutive weeks against BYU and Ole Miss, he exploded against Kansas State for 141 rushing yards and two touchdowns, his second straight game with over 100 total yards. Gray has been more than consistent. He has actually gotten better week after week, rushing for more yards each game than he did in the week before. With the Texas quarterback situation in flux, expect the Longhorns to lean on Gray against the Cyclones.
QB David Ash (Jr.)
Ash is more here by default than a result of poor play. After missing the Ole Miss game, the junior signal-caller returned against Kansas State only to leave before halftime with his second head injury of the season. Although his play has not been particularly impressive, his absence will surely be felt and adds to a disappointing season for what supposed to be Ash’s breakout year. Ash missing another game with a head injury leaves this Texas team with a huge question mark at the game’s most important position.
WR Jaxon Shipley (Jr.)
With Daje Johnson and Mike Davis both out against Kansas State, Shipley was expected to have a big night. Instead, he only managed to haul in five passes for 31 yards, a paltry six yards per catch. Although much of this has to do with the fact that Texas was able to run the ball well and was up big on the Wildcats by halftime, Shipley needs to help keep this offense two-dimensional. Considering he has typically been Case McCoy’s go-to target, we’ll see if he can turns things around this week.