Jeff Banks has led one of the best special teams units in the nation, along with guiding a tight end unit that features Ja’Tavion Sanders, who is one of the nine semifinalists for the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end.
Previously In 2021, Texas tied for the NCAA lead with four blocked punts while ranking fourth nationally with five total blocked kicks. The four blocked punts were the most by the Longhorns since 2009 (five) and tied for the seventh-most in program history. Additionally, the Longhorns ranked 10th in the nation in punt return average allowed (2.86) and 38th in punt return average (10.13). Cameron Dicker was named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, while also being named first-team All-Big 12 as a punter and honorable mention as a placekicker after ranking ninth nationally in punting average (46.8 ypp) and 14th in the field goal percentage (13-of-15, 86.7). Banks arrived in Texas after completing three seasons on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama working alongside Steve Sarkisian as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach during which time the Crimson Tide posted a 38-3 record, playing for two National Championships and winning one in 2020. During Alabama’s run to the 2020 National Championship, the Crimson Tide special teams did not allow a blocked kick or blocked punt, and ranked ninth nationally in punt return average (14.95), 25th in kickoff return average allowed (18.18) and 30th in punt return average allowed (4.4). Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, who took over punt return duties late in the season, averaged 21.5 yards per return on 11 attempts, including an 84-yard touchdown. Smith did not meet the minimum number of returns per game to be ranked by the NCAA, but his average would have led the nation. Placekicker Will Reichard was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award and did not miss a field goal (14-for-14) or extra point (84-for-84) during the season.
Nationally Ranked Special Teams Units 6th in blocked kicks with 4 6th in blocked punts with 3 1st in blocked punts allowed with 0 17th in kickoff returns at 22.65 ypr 22nd in kickoff return defense at 17.12 ypr • Has guided a kickoff coverage unit that has made 18 tackles this season from the 20-yard line and in • Has guided a first-time kicker, a first-time FBS punter and a true freshman kickoff specialist;
K Bert Auburn • Auburn has come through in the clutch on multiple occasions during the 2022 campaign, connecting on 16-of-21 field goals, including 6-of-8 tries from 40 or more yards. • Has connected on an attempt in nine of 10 games, including multiple successful tries against Alabama, UTSA, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. • Had a streak to eight-straight successful attempts. • At Texas Tech, he was connected on both of his field goal attempts, including a 48-yard attempt as time expired to help send the game to overtime. • Auburn earned Lou Groza Award Star of the Week honors following an outstanding game against top-ranked Alabama. He was good on 4-of-5 attempts for 13 points in the game, including a 49-yard try with 1:29 remaining that gave the Longhorns a 19-17 lead. • Leads the Big 12 with 89 points scored this season, while ranking second in scoring average (8.9 ppg) and field goals per game (1.60). His scoring average is 16th nationally and his field goals per game average is 12th in the nation. • Has not missed a PAT in 41 attempts RB/KR Keilan Robinson • Currently averaging 26.3 yards per kick return, the second-best mark in the Big 12 Conference and 12th in the nation. • His 328 combined kick return yards are third-most in the Big 12 this season. • Scored a touchdown on a scoop and score following a blocked punt and also blocked a punt himself this season. P Daniel Trejo • Transfer from Texas Wesleyan punting at the FBS level for the first time • Trejo is averaging 41.9 ypp on 39 attempts with 12 inside the 20, 13 fair catches, seven of 50-plus yards and only one touchback. • Against Oklahoma State he downed four inside the 20. • Booted a 61-yard punt against Alabama and averaged 46.4 yards per attempt in that game. TE Ja’Tavion Sanders • Caught a career-high seven passes for 61 yards against TCU, upping his season total to 46 receptions, second-most in a season by a UT tight end. • He has 511 receiving yards this season, the fifth-highest total in a season for a UT tight end. • At Oklahoma State, Sanders caught six passes for 76 yards. It brought his season total to 34 receptions and made him just the fifth Longhorn tight end with 30 catches in a season. • In the Red River Showdown against Oklahoma, Sanders caught five passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns. • The two scores brought his season total to five this season, tied for third all-time among Texas tight ends. • Against West Virginia, Sanders caught five passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns. • It marked the first time a Texas tight end has hauled in two touchdowns in a game since 2011. • He made his first career start in the season opener against ULM, had six receptions, 85 yards and his first touchdown. The 85 receiving yards were the most for a Texas tight end since 2007.