Texas 50: Most important college football players in the state, 30-21

Courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

Share or Save for Later

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Save to Favorites

The state of Texas is now home to 13 FBS programs in 2023 thanks to Sam Houston's move to Conference USA. Our list of the 50-most important college football players in the Lone Star State includes at least three players from each of those schools. This is not a list of the best players in the state - for that, visit this link for our All-Texas College Team. It is intended to provide readers with the knowledge of who the most pivotal players on the team. Sometimes that means the best players, and other times it means players who need to take the next step to propel the program to more success.

Previous rankings: 50-41 | 40-31 

No. 30 – Baylor center Clark Barrington 

No. 29 – Texas A&M quarterback Conner Weigman 

More: The best chance for Bobby Petrino and the Texas A&M offense to reach optimal heights is for Weigman to live up to his recruiting hype out of Cypress Bridgeland. He showed flashes of potential and maturity as he became the starter late in the season. Weigman started four games and set a A&M true freshman record with 338 yards and four touchdowns in his first start. He didn’t throw an interceptions in 132 attempts. The Aggies are stacked at the skill positions. If Texas A&M can improve along the offensive line while Weigman evolves, watch out. 

No. 28 – Texas Tech outside linebacker Steve Linton 

No. 27 – Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers 

More: If this was a list of best players in the state, Ewers would be higher than 27. But the depth behind him, specifically Maalik Murphy means that the Longhorns aren’t Ewers-or-bust at the quarterback position in 2023. Still, to win the Big 12 and flirt with a College Football Playoff berth, Texas needs the former five-star recruit to live up to his hype. The 2023 season is huge for Ewers, who either performs well and heads into the 2024 NFL draft or stumbles and likely enters the transfer portal to make way for Murphy and/or Arch Manning. 

No. 26 – Rice defensive end Josh Pearcy 

No. 25 – Sam Houston running back Zach Hrbacek 

No. 24 – UTEP quarterback Gavin Hardison 

More: Experience at the quarterback position is more valuable than gold, and the Miners return one of the more seasoned signal callers in Conference USA. Hardison enters the 2023 season with 29 starts at UTEP, including 22 of the last 23 times the Miners suited up. In 2021, Hardison became the first UTEP quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards since 2009. He took a step back as a passer in 2022 without wide receivers like Jacob Cowing and Justin Garrett. In the fold. The wide receiver room is improved in 2023. If Hardison returns to form, the Miners can qualify for a bowl game. 

No. 23 – UTSA edge rusher Trey Moore 

No. 22 – Texas State defensive back Tory Spears 

No. 21 – SMU safety Jonathan McGill 

The Mustangs can’t reach sixth gear as a program until the defense catches up to the offense. SMU went about plugging holes defensively through the transfer portal, including a possible four new starters in the five-man secondary. One new name that is starting for sure, if healthy, is McGill. The DFW native and Stanford transfer is referred to as “The Mayor” and he’s already a leader in the backend for the Mustangs. The offense is going to score points. If the defense becomes above-average, SMU might win the AAC. 

This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.

Sign In
Don't Miss Any Exclusive Coverage!

We've been the Bible of Texas football fans for 64 years. By joining the DCTF family you'll gain access to all of our exclusive content and have our magazines mailed to you!