7 reasons Texas looks more like a 10-win team in 2023

Jalen Catalon is headed to Austin. The player once highly coveted by Tom Herman’s staff will be a Texas Longhorn after all.

Catalon was a proven, productive player at Arkansas. The former Razorback earned the distinction of first team All-SEC at safety in 2020 before injuries derailed his last two seasons.

The former Texas high school standout effectively ends the transfer portal search for a starting caliber safety in 2023. Despite losing Anthony Cook and D’Shawn Jamison, Catalon and Wake Forest transfer Gavin Holmes bring veteran leadership and skill to the secondary.

Excluding the loss of wide receiver coach Brennan Marion, Texas looks more and more like a 10-win team next season. Let’s look at seven reasons Texas could win 10 games next season.

10 returning offensive starters

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When a team wins eight games and returns several starters, it sees plenty of hype the next year. The hype for Texas is warranted. Returning everyone but Bijan Robinson on offense bodes well for the Longhorns.

All five offensive linemen return

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Texas doesn’t often return its entire line. When it does, it’s usually not as reliable as the projected 2023 unit. Kelvin Banks headlines the group after looking like a future franchise tackle in his freshman season.

Offensive line coach Kyle Flood had one of the best pass blocking lines in the Big 12. Another year of continuity should bring more improvement.

Defensive playmakers

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Heading into 2022, it was difficult to identify playmakers on the Texas defense. The difference makers are easy to identify for 2023. Jalen Catalon, Jaylan Ford, Jahdae Barron, Ryan Watts, T’Vondre Sweat, Jerrin Thompson and Barryn Sorrell lead a group that could have more all-conference defenders than not next season. High upside players Terrance Brooks, Byron Murphy, Justice Finkley and Anthony Hill should thrive with surrounding help.

Talented depth

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Consider the young defensive backs Texas will have on its roster. Jaylon Guilbeau, BJ Allen, Terrance Brooks, Malik Muhammad and Derek Williams are among the Sarkisian-recruited defensive backs that could push for starting roles this season.

Best LB in the conference

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Ford forced a turnover in six straight games in 2022. In addition, he found his way to the top of multiple statistical categories last season. Look for him to emerge as the conference’s unanimous defensive player of the year.

What weakness?

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The 2023 group is the most complete team Texas has returned in awhile. If Quinn Ewers develops into the player the Longhorns need at quarterback, teams will not have many weaknesses to exploit. Adding another linebacker would make the team even more impenetrable.

Big 12 turnover

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If you’re not sure who the Big 12 favorite is in the room, it might be your team. TCU loses more than its fair share of impact players as will Kansas State. Oklahoma is a logical breakout pick but loses Marvin Mims and Theo Wease at receiver. Baylor lost its bowl game to Air Force, while the conference adds four Group of Five opponents to the Big 12 schedule. The Longhorns time to break out might be this season.

Story originally appeared on Longhorns Wire