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Texas Football: 5 Toughest Players Longhorns Will Face in 2014

Taylor GasparFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2014

Texas Football: 5 Toughest Players Longhorns Will Face in 2014

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Football season is a little more than a month away, and the Texas Longhorns will need to prepare for the talent they will face in 2014.

    Head coach Charlie Strong's team has a decent number of questions that will need to be answered soon in order to keep up with the competition.

    According to CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm, the Longhorns' schedule is the toughest in the Big 12. Nonconference opponents BYU and UCLA will be no walk in the park, and many of Texas' conference opponents have returning starters who have a history of producing against the Longhorns.

    Here's a look at the five toughest players the Longhorns will face in 2014.

No. 5: Devonte Fields, DE, TCU

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    Jack Plunkett/Associated Press

    Kicking off the list is TCU defensive end Devonte Fields.

    Fields had a superb freshman season in 2012. His 18.5 sacks and 53 tackles helped land him as The Associated Press Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Newcomer of the Year.

    The redshirt sophomore could potentially be placed higher on this list, but it's difficult to do so after he missed he majority of the 2013 season with a foot injury.

    However, Fields' time away from the field has not changed the public's perception of him. Big12Sports.com indicates he was recently named the 2014 Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by the media.

    Texas will not face TCU until the final week of its regular season, but when the teams take the field on Thanksgiving, there's a very good chance Fields will disrupt Texas' offensive game plan.

No. 4: Tyler Lockett, WR/KR, Kansas State

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Coming in at No. 4 is Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who is no stranger to Texas or its end zone.

    Lockett is heading into his senior season with the Wildcats, but has seen the field plenty of times during his first three seasons in Manhattan.

    The wide receiver and kick returner put up 333 yards of total offense against the Longhorns in 2013 and 123 total yards and a touchdown against Texas in 2012, which helped Kansas State nab a share of the Big 12 Championship.

    There are high expectations surrounding Lockett in his final season as a Wildcat, as he is on numerous preseason watch lists.

    According to Big12Sports.com, he was named to the 2014 Preseason All-Big 12 Team as a wide receiver and kick returner. He also received national attention from NFL.com when he was listed as one of the most explosive athletes in college football.

    Keep an eye on No. 16 when the Longhorns defense takes the field against the Wildcats offense on October 25.

No. 3: WR Antwan Goodley, WR, Baylor

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Sticking with the wide receivers, next on the list is Baylor wideout Antwan Goodley.

    Goodley is coming off a stellar redshirt junior season during which averaged 103 yards per game and found the end zone on 13 different occasions.

    Big 12 teams saw what Goodley could do last season, and his talents were recently acknowledged nationally when he was named one of the most explosive athletes in college football by NFL.com. Big12Sports.com indicates he was named to the 2014 Preseason All-Big 12 Team as well.

    The last time the Longhorns faced Goodley was in the final game of the 2013 season, when he put up 114 receiving yards and a touchdown to help Baylor clinch its first Big 12 Championship in school history.

    If Goodley can continue his success from 2013, he will be one of the biggest threats to all defenses in 2014.

No. 2: Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty proved to be one of the biggest threats to Bears opponents in 2013, and the same will likely be true in 2014.

    During his first season as a starter, NCAA.com indicates Petty ranked first nationally in yards per completion (16.8) and second in points responsible for per game (21.2) as well as passing efficiency (174.3). 

    He holds a lengthy list of preseason honors, with his conference's website noting that he's the preseason All-Big 12 quarterback and Offensive Player of the Year.

    Moreover, he landed on Davey O'Brien and Maxwell Award watch lists. WalterCamp.org reveals that he was recently named to the preseason watch list for the Walter Camp Player of the Year award.

    Petty threw for 4,900 yards and 32 touchdowns while rushing for an additional 14 touchdowns in 2013.

    Just like any competitor, it is very likely Petty will be looking to expand his stat column in his senior season, which would make him one of the biggest offensive threats in the Big 12.

No. 1: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    One of toughest games Texas will play in 2014 will be in Week 3 against nonconference opponent UCLA.

    One of the toughest players the Longhorns defense will face will be in this game. He just so happens to be one of the elite quarterbacks in college football.

    Redshirt junior quarterback Brett Hundley led UCLA with 748 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last year while adding 3,071 passing yards and 24 touchdowns last season, which helped lead the Bruins to a 10-3 record.

    He has been named to the preseason watch lists for the Davey O'Brien Award and Maxwell Award. On Friday, WalterCamp.org included him on the watch list for the 2014 Walter Camp Player of the Year award.

    Last season, Hundley improved nearly all of his numbers from his redshirt freshman season in 2012. If he can continue the momentum gained from his redshirt sophomore season, there's a good chance he could lead the Bruins to the Pac-12 Championship Game.

     

    Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.

    Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's Featured Columnist covering the Texas Longhorns. Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar.

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