AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas depth chart shows the potential of a highly touted recruiting class: Twelve true freshmen in the two-deep lineup.
Three games into the season and two of those players have emerged as big playmakers for the No. 7 Longhorns.
Receiver Mike Davis leads Texas in catches (13) and receiving touchdowns (2), and he also has the Longhorns' highlight play of the season so far with a 45-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown against Wyoming.
Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, the son of former Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Jim Jeffcoat, has been one of the best players on the line. He has 1½ sacks, three tackles for losses and is tied for the team lead with six quarterback pressures.
Jeffcoat's fumble recovery on Texas Tech's first play of the game last week set up Texas' first touchdown in a 24-14 win.
"He has natural pass-rushing skills," Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said. "His momma taught him well."
Jeffcoat says his mother, Tammy, does know a lot about playing the position. She picked up a lot being married to one of the standout players on the Cowboys' Super Bowl teams of the 1990s.
"She'll tell me, 'Next time, just blow by him,' or, 'You need to get off the ball quicker,'" Jeffcoat said. "She knows a lot about football."
Jeffcoat was a player Texas expected to contribute immediately and he delivered with a sack in his first game.
"Jackson has a great pass rush. As far as talent goes, he's among the most talented guys on this team," said defensive end Sam Acho, who led Texas with 10 sacks last season and two in the first three games this year.
At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Jackson Jeffcoat is built like his dad with a frame that he says could support another 20 pounds or so. Even with his size and agility, Jeffcoat said his father wouldn't let him play tackle football until he was in the sixth grade. Until then, it was all basketball, all the time.
"People wanted me to play on their teams in second grade," Jeffcoat said. "(Dad) said at a young age, I didn't need to do all that hitting and it wasn't good for my bones and growing."
Davis is emerging as a favorite target for first-year starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert. After the touchdown catch against Wyoming, Davis got his first start against Texas Tech after senior flanker John Chiles injured a hamstring in practice.
Davis had a couple of drops but also scored Texas' second touchdown against Texas Tech when he slipped into a gap in coverage in the end zone for an easy pitch-and-catch from Gilbert in the first quarter. Davis is the only Texas receiver to catch a touchdown pass in the first three games.
"He has a real good feel for the game to be so young," senior wide receiver James Kirkendoll. "Obviously he's a playmaker and good with the ball in his hands."
The drops could be overlooked in those wins, but the Longhorns get into the meat of their schedule with the next three games, against UCLA on Saturday followed by No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 6 Nebraska.
"Once two-a-days are over, we don't consider anybody a freshman no more," Kirkendoll said. "He's still learning, but when all is said and done he's going to be really good."