Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s August 29th — 241 down, 124 to go.
And 7 till Texas vs. Notre Dame.
YESTERDAY: High school football had its first Friday night of the season. Big winners locally included Westlake (Southlake Carroll), Cedar Park (Aledo) and La Grange (Liberty Hill). RGIII was ruled out for tonight’s preseason game with the Ravens — he’d been cleared on Thursday — because of the concussion he suffered on Aug. 20. The Rangers beat the Orioles, 4-1. Attention, fantasy footballers: Tom Brady threw two picks last night against the Panthers. Vin Scully announced that he’d be back for Year 67 calling Dodgers games. And we launched our new site for all things Longhorn, Hookem.com. (Shameless plug alert!)
TODAY: The Cowboys play their next-to-last preseason game, at home against Minnesota (10 p.m. tape delay, KEYE). Texas volleyball plays twice at Gregory Gym. The Astros are at the Twins, with Mike Fiers getting the start one week after throwing his no-hitter. The Rangers host the Orioles. And former Texas QB Chris Simms celebrates his 35th birthday.
TOMORROW: The Texans play at New Orleans (3, Fox). The Astros are at the Twins and the Rangers host the Orioles. Derek Holland will get the start. In Sunday’s Statesman, we’ve got a nice Q&A with former Longhorns coach David McWilliams and a project we’ve been working on for months — a look at the 10th anniversary season of Texas’ national championship and Rose Bowl win over USC.
Aug. 29 has a sports history. On this date, Lance Armstrong‘s seven Tour de France titles were stripped by USADA (2012); Michael Schumacher won his fifth straight F1 series championship (2004); George Brett got his 1,500th career hit (1982); Moses Malone, just out of high school, signed a $3 million contract to play for the NBA’s Utah Stars — at 19 years old (1974); and the very first U.S. Open tennis match was played — Billie Jean King bested Vija Vuskains (1968).
Last year on Aug. 29, Texas Tech signed head coach Kliff Kingsbury to a three-year contract extension, through 2020. And 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was suspended for nine games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies.
Today’s sports birthdays: Davis West (35), Chris Simms (35), Roy Oswalt (38), Will Perdue (50), Carl Banks (53), former NFL kicker Eddie Murray (59) and Bob Beamon (69). Other notables: John McCain (79). Michael Jackson would’ve been 57 today. Fifty-seven!
Today’s trivia: Michael Jackson recorded two songs with Paul McCartney. Name them. (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)
Today’s lead: Texas football.
Good read in today’s Statesman on Johnathan Gray, which leads off our annual college preview section. This is Gray’s last chance to shine as Texas’ main back. He arrived as the five-star gem of the Longhorns’ 2012 recruiting class, but a 2013 Achilles injury and sharing carries with former tailback Malcolm Brown have prevented Gray from reaching maximum potential here.
Still, he has a good shot at finishing his career in UT’s top 10 of all-time rushers. Maybe even top 5 if he can pull a 1,000-yard season out of his hat.
That 2012 signing class ranked No. 2 nationally, behind Alabama. The Longhorns inked a pair of 5-stars and 19 4-stars and a total of 30 players.
Four years later, how has that group panned out? Here’s a look back at that class — who panned out, who didn’t and who’s not even here anymore.
Still here (and playing key roles): RB Johnathan Gray, CB Duke Thomas, DT Hassan Ridgeway, S Dylan Haines and K Nick Rose. Haines and Rose began their careers as walk-ons, but were later awarded scholarships. Gray should finally be The Guy for the Longhorns; Thomas was Texas’ lone selection on this year’s preseason All-Big 12 team; Ridgeway, who started the final 10 games last year, has six career sacks; Haines led UT in interceptions last year; and Rose was the kickoff guy for 2012 and 2013 and the field goal guy for 2014 and 2015.
Still here (but also still looking to make an impact): WR Daje Johnson; DE Shiro Davis; LB Peter Jinkens; S Adrian Colbert; CB Bryson Echols; LB Dalton Santos; LB Timothy Cole; WR Marcus Johnson; DT Paul Boyette; DT Alex Norman; DE/TE Caleb Bluiett; FB/TE Alex De La Torre; DE Bryce Cottrell; K Nick Jordan and S Kevin Vacarro.
You can make the case for the two Johnsons and Santos belonging in the first group. But Daje Johnson’s career has been a star-crossed one that’s had some highs (five plays of 45-plus yards, three TDs of 65-plus yards and he’s the only player in UT history with a punt return and a running play of 80 or more yards), but injuries and suspensions have hampered him. He’s started only nine games as a Longhorn. And Marcus Johnson’s a bit of a one-hit wonder — quick, beyond that 59-yard wheel route TD catch against Oklahoma in 2013, what has he done? Santos has nine starts, but has been mostly a spot starter the past couple of seasons.
Gone (by way of transfer, dismissal or anything in between): DT Malcom Brown (NFL first-round pick, 2015); OT Kennedy Estelle (kicked off the team, 2014); OG Curtis Riser (transferred over this offseason, now at Sam Houston State); OG Camrhon Hughes (transferred out at the start of fall camp); WR Cayleb Jones (kicked off in 2013, now at Arizona); WR Kendall Sanders (kicked off in 2014, now in jail facing felony sexual assault charges); QB Connor Brewer (transferred to Arizona in 2013, sat out that season, spent 2014 as a backup and has transferred again, to Virginia); RB Jalen Overstreet (kicked off the team last summer, now Riser’s teammate at Sam Houston State); juco OT Donald Hawkins (undrafted in 2014, but has been on four NFL rosters in Philly, Cleveland, Dallas and Miami); and juco DT Brandon Moore (played one year for UT, then went pro early in 2013. But he wasn’t drafted).
So, what’s being written about the Longhorns?
Our college preview included a look at this year’s offensive line, a breakdown of Texas’ roster and schedule, and a look at some talented freshmen who should make themselves known really quick (Hello, Malik Jefferson and Connor Williams). The section isn’t all Texas, of course. There’s also looks at Texas A&M and Texas State, overviews of every Power 5 conference, and our annual Big 12 of the Big 12 list of the conference’s top dozen players, regardless of position. Also in today’s Statesman, we took a look at the most important guy for this year’s Texas offense. Tyrone Swoopes, you guess? No. It’s Shawn Watson, the one responsible for revamping the offense, improve the scoring and developing Swoopes. Piece of cake?
Others out there: Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News chatted with Mack Brown on the former coach’s expanded role with ESPN. Mack will be working Friday night college games this fall. And the DMN also presented its best case/worst case scenarios for Texas this season.
AROUND THE BIG 12: The Baylor sexual assault scandal won’t go away. University president Kenneth Starr on Friday said a new position will be created that’s solely responsible for overseeing all of the school’s student-athletes, and Baylor’s investigation has concluded. Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News wrote that the Baylor story needs to serve as a social wake up call when it comes to sexual assaults, and the Oklahoman’sJenni Carlson wrote about college coaches behaving badly. The DMN also delved into Big 12 ADs’ intentions to ban transfers involving players with troubled pasts. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram pondered Kansas State’s ability to reload. The Waco Tribune-Herald explored Baylor’s chances of winning a third straight Big 12 title and wrote on new Bears QB Seth Russell, who’s anxious to keep BU’s QB train rolling. The Oklahoman wrote about Oklahoma State running back Desmond Roland, who intends to provide the backfield burst the Cowboys want. The paper also had a Q&A with Oklahoma safety Steven Parker, who started four games last year. The Des Moines Register had a nice read on Iowa State QB Sam Richardson, the key to the Cyclones’ season.
OPPOSITION RESEARCH: NOTRE DAME. Curious about the post-Everett Gholson QB situation? The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel published a breakdown. And remember Durham Smythe, the Belton tight end who once was committed to Texas? He’s at Notre Dame now, and he’s uber motivated ($) for Sept. 5. The South Bend Tribune wrote on junior CB Devin Butler and his maturation on defense.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES:
Volleyball: No. 3 Texas opened its season Friday night with a 3-0 win over Rice. Here’s our coverage, courtesy of Ryan Autullo. It was Jerritt Elliott‘s 400th career win — and 350th at Texas. Amy Neal led Texas with 11 kills, nine digs and an ace. Next up is Texas-UC Irvine (12:30 today, LHN) and then Texas-LSU (7:30, LHN) to close out the American Campus Classic at Gregory Gym.
Soccer: Texas fell to No. 5 North Carolina last night at Myers Stadium 2-0. The Horns were outshot, 23-7. Abby Smith made seven saves.
Golf: Tough week for Jordan Spieth. He missed the cut at The Barclays on Friday at 7-over. That means he’s going to lose his No. 1 world ranking to Rory McIlroy.
ON AUG. 29 …
2005: Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, devastating New Orleans.
1966: The Beatles played their final concert, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. Final song? “Long Tall Sally,” which blended into a playout of “In My Life.”
1958: The U.S. Air Force Academy opened, in Colorado Springs.
Trivia answer: The two Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney collaborations — “The Girl Is Mine” and “Say, Say, Say.”
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
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