For the first time in three years, the Longhorns’ season lasted into winter break. Apart from its bowl win, Texas was busy in all aspects as it geared up for the offseason and another round of recruiting. Here are some quick notes from what the Longhorns did while students were away on break.
Texas players going pro
The Longhorns have holes to fill for next season as five juniors declared for the upcoming NFL Draft. Cornerback Holton Hill, safety DeShon Elliott and left tackle Connor Williams were among the first players to announce their intentions to play at the next level. Punter Michael Dickson, who won the 2017 Ray Guy Award, also declared for the NFL Draft but played in Texas’ bowl game against Missouri. Linebacker Malik Jefferson followed suit, making his announcement following the Longhorns’ Texas Bowl victory. He was held out of the game, however, with turf toe. The departures leave Herman and his staff with key roles to fill on both sides of the ball in 2018.
Signing day splash
When the early signing period rolled around on Dec. 20, there was plenty of good news that came along with it for Texas and head coach Tom Herman. The Longhorns received national letters of intent from some of the best players in the state of Texas, including defensive backs DeMarvion Overshown, B.J. Foster, Anthony Cook, Caden Sterns, Jalen Green and wide receiver Brennan Eagles. Having struggled in previous years to sign some of the state’s top talent, Texas made all the right moves in Herman’s second recruiting cycle by nabbing seven of the state’s top 10 players, per 247 Sports’ current rankings.
In addition, this class brings in talent on both sides of the ball that can fill the voids left by NFL-bound players. Texas still has more recruits to sign, and Herman and his staff will be out on the road recruiting leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 7.
Sweet victory at the Texas Bowl
Texas seized the moment in its first bowl game in three years by securing a momentum-building 33-16 win over Missouri in the Texas Bowl. The Longhorns quickly built a 21-7 lead, only to see it cut down to 21-16 in the third quarter. But unlike many times this season where the team folded in close games, Texas held its own and pulled away late to obtain the win.
The Longhorns saw production in all phases of the game, scoring twice on defense courtesy of a fumble return for a touchdown and a safety. In the end, Dickson stole the show by earning MVP honors for the game, only the second time a punter has ever earned that award in a bowl game.
The Longhorns have recently made a couple of adjustments to their coaching staff. Texas’ assistant director of player personnel, Bryan Carrington, will serve as the interim 10th assistant coach to help in the ongoing recruiting process.
On Wednesday, Texas officially hired Herb Hand, who served as offensive line coach at Auburn for the past two seasons. Hand brings in 27 years of coaching experience to the Forty Acres, and he will serve as co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach under Herman.
Texas announced late Wednesday that sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele will undergo surgery on Jan. 18 for a torn adductor (hip)/abdominal muscle he sustained during the
Buechele will begin treatment and rehabilitation soon after and is expected to be ready for the Longhorns’ first spring practice on March 5.