He may not have known it at the time, but senior defensive end Cedric Reed, before even enrolling at Texas, had already had a taste of the turmoil that would define the Longhorn football program throughout his time in Austin.
It was a chilly December Sunday in 2010, and Reed was making an official visit to Texas to meet with the coaching staff and discuss his future after reports surfaced saying he might flip his commitment to play for the Aggies.
Reed sat in the Centennial Room of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, listening to then-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp talk about the future of a program that had just finished a season with a losing record for the first time in 12 years.
“We were just eating dinner, and Coach Muschamp was talking to us and all of a sudden he left,” Reed said. “Low and behold, across the TV screen, we saw that Muschamp just took the job at Florida.”
Sure enough, that was the last Reed would see of Muschamp at Texas, as he left for Gainesville shortly thereafter and has been the Gators head coach ever since.
“I thought it was a joke or something,” Reed said. “Everybody was just sitting there staring at each other. A couple people were crying — some of his friends and the coaches’ wives.”
That puzzling scene was a sign of what was to come for Reed’s and the rest of Texas’ seniors’ tenure on the 40 Acres.
For the fifth-year guys, it’s been an especially bumpy ride. Over the past half-decade, the Longhorns have had four defensive coordinators, two head coaches and two athletic directors.
Head coach Charlie Strong’s arrival meant the departure of virtually everyone who had recruited the Longhorn veterans and the removal of several guys who had become close friends with many of Texas’ seniors.
But, as rough as things have been off the field, one could argue it’s been even rockier on it.
For the first time since 2000, not a single member of Texas’ senior class will have been a part of a 10-win season.
To put things in perspective, Texas’ fifth-year seniors, who were a part of the 5-7 team in 2010, have already lost more games — 26 — then the Longhorn program lost in the 11 years prior to their arrival.
“We didn’t win as many football games as I wanted to, but I think we are turning this thing around, and I’m glad to be the foundation,” senior defensive back Quandre Diggs said. “That will always be our history because I really think Coach Strong is going to get this thing turned around.”
Regardless of wins and losses, that foundation will be the senior class’ legacy.
“[The seniors] have really taken the younger guys under the wing and demonstrated a work ethic,” junior offensive lineman Taylor Doyle said. “How to play hard and doing everything right off the field.”