Alabama Football will face a stiff test this evening when the Texas Longhorns roll into Tuscaloosa.
The Longhorns have an impressive offense on paper, led by quarterback Quinn Ewers. Ewers has generated a lot of fanfare based on his high school accolades and recruiting rankings, but it hasn’t translated to the college game for extended periods of time.
The redshirt sophomore was one of the highest-ranked quarterbacks of all time, reclassifying from the class of 2022 to the class of 2021. He originally signed to play for Ohio State, where he sat behind CJ Stroud and others for one season before transferring to Texas.
In 2022, Quinn Ewers showed flashes of his talent in his first season as a starter. He completed 58 percent of his passes for 2,177 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. Ewers dealt with both injuries and inconsistent play in year one, and must make a significant jump if Texas is going to reach its goals in 2023.
At running back, Texas is tasked with replacing Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson, one of the nation’s top backfield tandems in 2022. Sophomores Jonathan Brooks and Jaydon Blue are expected to carry the load for now. The Longhorns also have former Alabama running back Keilan Robinson, who can be a versatile weapon on offense. True freshman CJ Baxter was a 5-star recruit and should be the future of the Texas RB room.
The talent that Texas possesses in its receiving corps has been well-documented and discussed. Speedster Xavier Worthy leads a deep group of pass catchers that will stress the banged up Bama secondary if it is not disciplined.
While Worthy is working vertically, senior Jordan Whittington and tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders are major threats on underneath and intermediate routes. The X-factor, in my opinion, is Georgia transfer AD Mitchell. At 6’4”, Mitchell is a jump-ball weapon that can hurt a defense at all three levels.
The battle in the trenches will likely determine this game. The Texas offensive line has had some struggles, but it is a veteran group that will have to be at its best to compete with Alabama Football in Tuscaloosa.
Sophomore tackle Kelvin Banks is the headliner after starting every game as a true freshman last season. The former 5-star recruit played well against the Alabama edge rushers in 2022, but he will be facing a whole new challenge as Texas goes on the road this year.
In totality, this should be one of the best offenses in the country and should be a good challenge for Alabama Football. The Crimson Tide has a revamped defense under new coordinator Kevin Steele, and this is the first big test to see how much progress the group has made.