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Texas Trio: Wednesday

Hookem.com breaks down the 2011 Texas football team – three players at a time. Today's trio is Emmanuel Acho, D.J. Grant and Blaine Irby.

Grant could play a big role for the Longhorns in 2011 if healthy.

Emmanuel Acho, Sr., LB
6-2, 240
2010 season: Acho was named second team All-Big 12 by the league's coaches and honorable mention All-Big 12 by the AP. He recorded 87 tackles, three sacks, 12 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception, six pass breakups and five pressures.

2011 spring: Acho looked as good as ever and played extremely well in the spring game. He only recorded one tackle, but he did a good job against the run and the pass and played fast all day long. He looked fully recovered after being banged up at the end of 2010.

2011 outlook: While Keenan Robinson gets more preseason ink from national publications, Acho might be the best linebacker on the roster in terms of a guy who can play the run and the pass. Acho started four games at middle linebacker, but the likely starter in the middle figures to be Robinson or Jordan Hicks, so Acho will likely stay on the outside. He's been a very productive college player, but if he stays healthy he could really take that next step toward being one of the best linebackers in the conference. His health seems to be the only thing holding him back at this point.

D.J. Grant, Jr., TE
6-3, 240
2010 season: Grant missed the 2010 season still recovering from a knee injury suffered during 2009 fall camp.

2011 spring: Grant saw his first significant action since the spring of 2009. Although he was wearing a brace on his knee, Grant participated in drills and in the spring game where he appeared to be moving around well.

2011 outlook: Sources close to Grant have been saying for a while that 2011 fall camp was his target date to be back and be 100 percent. If he is, and he appears to be on his way there at the moment, he could really add a dimension to the offense Texas hasn't had for a full season since Jermichael Finley's final year in 2007. Grant and Darius Terrell are similar in that they are high school wide receivers who are willing blockers, but the difference is Grant can stretch the field with his speed. He'll have chance to play a significant role at tight end this fall and he'll be a player who fans and media alike keep a close eye on come August.

Blaine Irby, Sr., TE
6-3, 237
2010 season: Irby spent the year sidelined, still recovering from a gruesome season-ending knee injury against Rice in 2008. Irby has not played since the injury.

2011 spring: For the first time since the injury Irby saw the field as he participated in spring ball. He didn't participate in the spring game, but the fact that he at least is in a position to play is a victory nonetheless.

2011 outlook: There were some who doubted at one point whether Irby would walk again and numerous sources close to the program say those concerns were legitimate. It would be unrealistic for anyone to expect Irby to come back and the player he was (or was on his way to becoming) before the injury, but anything he could give the Longhorns figures to help a position that is still trying sort itself out in terms who can make plays and who can't. He'll be another player who will be closely watched during fall camp.

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