One of Texas’ issues that plagued the football program during its fall following the 2009 BCS title game run was a feeling of entitlement among the players.
New Texas receiver Jacorey Warrick is currently working back from tearing his meniscus in October.
Many in and around the program — head coach Mack Brown included — have admitted that there was a culture of players who were just content to be wearing a Longhorns jersey every Saturday.
While there’s been a lot said about Texas’ 15-man recruiting class that signed on Wednesday, one thing that hasn’t been said is how entitlement shouldn’t be an issue with this group.
These signees have been through too much to sit back and be content with simply being a Longhorn.
One of the hardships this class has faced is injury. Houston Cypress Falls wide receiver Jacorey Warrick (knee), Harker Heights offensive lineman Darius James (foot), Houston Cypress Woods linebacker Deoundrei Davis (knee) and Cibolo Steele safety Erik Huhn (knee) all had their senior seasons ended by injury. The same thing happened to Bastrop cornerback Antwuan Davis (back) his during his junior season.
Any time an athlete deals with an injury, there’s a question as to whether or not they’ll be the same. Warrick, who was cleared to start running again in late January after tearing his meniscus in October, is ready to prove that he’s still an explosive playmaker with the ball in his hands.
“There was a little doubt that crept in because I’ve never dealt with a major injury,” Warrick said. “I’m doing my best to break through that wall. Now I feel like I’m going to come back better and refreshed. I’ll be better than I was before.”
Antwuan Davis came back from his back injury with a strong senior season and subsequent strong showing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. James returned from a broken foot in time to play in the Knights’ playoff game against DeSoto and start at left tackle in the Under Armour All-America Game.
Deoundrei Davis will be rehabbing his torn ACL on the Texas campus this spring after enrolling at midterm. Like the rest of his classmates, he is determined to show that an injury doesn’t mean he won’t be able to reach his ultimate apex as a Longhorn.
“This injury has humbled me, but it made me hungry,” Davis said. “I want to work double time to get back and be better than I was.”
It’s more than injuries that should give Texas fans hope that these 15 signees are a group that, top to bottom, is willing to pay the price to get the Longhorns back in contention for BCS bowls and Big 12 championships.
Whitewright quarterback Tyrone Swoopes will try to shed the label that he’s an athlete wasting his time trying to be a quarterback. Any time a program adds junior college prospects like Texas did with offensive tackle Desmond Harrison and tight end Geoff Swaim, they tend to do whatever it takes to show that they’re more than just spare parts forced to go the JUCO route to get to play FBS football.
Harker Heights linebacker Naashon Hughes didn’t even have a full offer until he made his official visit in December. His grayshirt offer became a regular offer after Hughes put together the kind of senior season the Texas staff wanted to see, which the Texas coaches told him he had to do in order to earn that offer.
“I’m still proving to the coaches that I’m worthy of the scholarship,” Hughes said. “You always have to show you’re worth it. Your scholarship is renewable every year, so I have to show that I’m worth it so that I can keep my spot.”
James, who has dealt with the passing of the grandmother — who raised him — and then a broken foot (twice), uses everything he’s been through to fuel him to strive for bigger and better things.
“Everything I’ve been through has really given me a lot to put in my heart,” James said. “(It’s) given me more reasons why I need to push myself to make it in life.”