For Texas, No. 7 is not the lucky number it usually is.
Junior safety Nolan Brewster is leaving the football team less than a week after the Longhorns’ other No. 7, junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert had a season-ending shoulder surgery. Migraines and concussion-like symptoms have plagued Brewster since his high school days, and he said it was something that worried him with every hit. After talking things over with his doctors after Texas’ win over UCLA, Brewster decided to end his Longhorns career.
“It was probably the toughest decision I’ve had to make so far in my life. But I think, at the end of the day, it’s the right one,” Brewster said. “Playing football at Texas and for [head] Coach [Mack] Brown was a dream come true. I won’t be playing on the field, but I’ll be out there pulling for my teammates and pitching in wherever I can.”
With Brewster leaving, Christian Scott’s return could not come at a better time. The senior started 10 games and notched 53 tackles a year ago, making a career-high eight stops against Iowa State, the team he’ll be making his season debut against this weekend. Scott, who was suspended for the first three games of this season after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge, will provide much-needed depth in a secondary that Brewster is leaving.
“Our hearts go out to Nolan,” said defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. “It reminds us all how blessed we are to be a part of something like this. I think everyone really wants what’s best for Nolan. And we know that this may be one chapter of his life closing, but he’s got a bunch of excellent chapters ahead of him in his life.”
Sophomore linebacker Demarco Cobbs, who used to play in the Longhorns secondary, could also see his first action of the year against the Cyclones. Cobbs fractured his forearm a few days before the season began but could take longer than Scott to get in the swing of things. While Cobbs is recovering from an injury, Scott is coming back from a suspension.
Scott, however, is a senior, making Brewster’s exit an even more debilitating blow to the Texas secondary. Blake Gideon is also a senior and while Kenny Vaccaro is a junior, he’s a potential NFL draft prospect who could choose to leave before his senior season.
That leaves Mykkele Thompson and Sheroid Evans, both of whom are currently true freshmen. Copperas Cove’s Orlando Thomas is a class of 2012 commitment and could play safety next year. Vaccaro’s younger brother, Kevin, is also a potential future Longhorns safety, although he hasn’t decided where he’s going to college yet.
“It really affects us for next year,” Brown said. “You lose Blake Gideon, you lose Christian Scott and now you lose Nolan Brewster. And Kenny Vaccaro is a pro prospect. He’s obviously a guy that the NFL will look at as a potential draft choice. So you could possibly lose your first four safeties for next year.”
Brown knew all along that he would be losing at least two safeties with Gideon and Scott being seniors. But Brewster’s departure is a sudden and unfortunate one — one that cut a promising career short.
Printed on September 27, 2011 as: Brewster's career meets abrupt end, Scott returns