University of Texas Athletics

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Football was ranked third in the final Associated Press poll released on Monday night, and fourth in the AFCA Coaches’ poll announced on Tuesday. Both results marked the highest final ranking for the Longhorns since finishing second in each poll in 2009.

National Champion Michigan was ranked first in both polls and runner-up Washington earned the No. 2 spot on each, while Georgia was fourth on the AP poll and claimed the third spot in the Coaches’ poll, seven points ahead of the Longhorns. UT has been ranked in the AP and Coaches Top-25 for 20 consecutive polls.

Led by head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Longhorns finished with a 12-2 record in 2023, won the program’s first Big 12 Championship since 2009 and earning selection to the College Football Playoff for the first time in program history. The 12 wins were the most for the Longhorns since the 2009 season and mark the fourth season with 12-plus wins in program history (2005, 2008, 2009). Texas’ record included a seven-game winning streak, the longest since 2008-09 (17 games).

Texas featured a balanced attack that averaged 35.8 points per game (15th NCAA) and allowed just 18.9 points per game (15th NCAA), outscoring opponents 501 to 265 on the year, while ranking ninth in total offense (477.5) and leading the Big 12 in total defense (336.7). The Longhorns established program records for total offense (6,685 yards) and passing yards (4,047) and had the first season in program history with more than 4,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards. On the other side of the ball, the Longhorns have had a dramatic improvement in the rushing defense over the last three seasons. In 2021, UT ranked 114th in the nation allowing 202.6 rushing yards per game, the seventh-most in program history, while in 2023 the Longhorns ranked third in the nation yielding just 82.4 rushing yards per game, the seventh-fewest in program history.

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Defensive lineman T’Vondre Sweat was a unanimous All-American, while wide receiver/punt returner Xavier Worthy, defensive lineman Byron Murphy II and offensive lineman Kelvin Banks Jr. also earned All-America accolades. The four Longhorn All-Americans were the most for the program since 2009.

The offense was led by quarterback Quinn Ewers, the Big 12 Championship Game Most Outstanding Player and a Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist. Doak Walker Award semifinalist Jonathon Brooks rushed for 1,139 yards in 10 games before going sustaining a season-ending injury, while true freshman CJ Baxter rushed for 659 yards and five touchdowns and Jaydon Blue had 398 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The group of wide receivers with Worthy (75 receptions, 1,014 yards, 5 TDs), Adonai Mitchell (55 receptions, 845 yards, 11 TDs), and Jordan Whittington (42 receptions, 505 yards, 1 TD), along with John Mackey Award semifinalist Ja’Tavion Sanders (45 receptions, 682 yards, 2 TDs) proved to be one of the most exciting receiving corps in the nation, while the offensive line unit of Bank., Hayden Conner, Jake Majors, DJ Campbell and Christian Jones garnered Joe Moore Award semifinalist distinction as one of the top offensive lines in the nation.

On the defensive side of the ball, Outland Trophy winner Sweat and Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year Murphy combined for the most formidable defensive front in the nation, helping the Texas defense hold opponents to 82.4 rushing yards per game (3rd NCAA). The defense also touts Butkus Award semifinalist Jaylan Ford and Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist Jahdae Barron, who have helped the Horns ranked second in the nation in third-down defense (26.6 percent) and seventh in red zone defense (73.8 percent).

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The special team unit saw Bert Auburn set the Texas records for consecutive field goals made (19), field goals made in a season (29) and field goals attempted (35), and earn first-team All-Big 12 honors, as did Worthy, who did so as both a punt returner and wide receiver. In all, 26 players earned 2023 All-Big 12 recognition from the conference’s coaches, including seven on the first team and three on the second team.

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