Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Herman reflects on 2021 class ahead of Iowa State game, senior day

Joshua Guenther

Tom Herman expressed his gratitude for the recruiting class of 2017 ahead of the Texas football team’s Senior Day game against Iowa State. 

This group of seniors, headlined by quarterback Sam Ehlinger, defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham and several others, joined the Longhorns in Herman’s first season as Texas’ head coach. They’ve been integral to Herman’s four-year journey, and that’s why he said they hold a special place in his heart.

“When they came in, this program had three-straight losing seasons and was in bad shape,” Herman said in a Monday teleconference. “They did a phenomenal job of embracing that, of understanding that this was not going to be an overnight turnaround.”

The Longhorns went 7–6 that inaugural year but came back stronger the next fall. In 2018, Texas defeated rival and College Football Playoff contender Oklahoma en route to nine regular season wins, a Big 12 Championship appearance and a victory over No. 6 Georgia in the 2019 Sugar Bowl. 

Ehlinger, then a sophomore, capped off Texas’ best season in a decade by famously saying “We’re baaaaack,” as confetti rained on his head at the Superdome in New Orleans.

Much has changed in two years. Texas underperformed in 2019, finishing the regular season 7–5 before routing a heavily-favored Utah team in the Alamo Bowl. The Longhorns are now fighting to live up to expectations during a global pandemic that put a wrench into the college football season.

Despite this season’s ups and downs, Texas still has a shot at making the Big 12 Championship. It’s the first time the team has been in this position late into the season since 2018. Iowa State, the No. 1 team in the Big 12, will also vie for the chance to win its first conference championship in over 100 years when it plays the Longhorns on Friday. 


“Every game from this point forward is the biggest game of the year for us,” Herman said. “We’re one of the few teams in America left that still control their own destiny in terms of the ability to reach their conference championship. But we know that you can’t win them all until you win the first one.”

So, even as Herman and the team take time to reflect on Thursday for the holiday, the Cyclones will be in the back of their minds. With only one loss in conference, Iowa State might have the most complete roster in the Big 12. 

Cyclone starters junior quarterback Brock Purdy and sophomore running back Breece Hall are two of the biggest offensive stars on the team. The Iowa State defense shut out Kansas State last Saturday, denying the Wildcats any points. 

“They’ve beaten Oklahoma, they’ve just beat a conference opponent 45-0 and they’re playing really, really well right now,” Herman said. “Do I like our matchup? Yeah, I like our matchup. We’re a really good football team, too.”

The Longhorns might be a bit rusty when game day comes. Due to a bye week and the cancellation of their matchup against Kansas scheduled for last Saturday, it will be 20 days on Friday since they last took the field in competition.

The senior class will return to play Friday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium for what is presumably the last time. It will be a sentimental moment, which Herman said they’ll enjoy more with a win. 

“I’m just really proud of them and excited to hopefully send them off with a very happy memory of Senior Day,” Herman said. “But we know in order to do that, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

More to Discover
Activate Search
Herman reflects on 2021 class ahead of Iowa State game, senior day