Texas senior Naashon Hughes has played for three head coaches, a slew of assistants and practically seen it all with the Longhorns. His teammates rewarded that longevity and work ethic by naming him a team captain last week.
In fact, Hughes got the most votes of any Longhorn. The fifth-year linebacker is one of only three players on the roster who has ever been on a winning Texas team.
“I guess it’s a tribute from my teammates, just seeing that I’ve been working my ass off since the beginning of the summer,” Hughes said after Tuesday’s practice. “It was a great deal of respect for me and my teammates.”
Hughes, defensive tackle Poona Ford, left tackle Connor Williams and nickel back P.J. Locke III were all named team captains. It was the first time the players had spoken with reporters since the news broke last week. All expressed varying degrees of excitement, but hearing an All-American offensive linemen tell his tale may be the best.
“I can’t even explain the feeling,” Williams said. “(Offensive line) Coach (Derek) Warehime had my mom on the phone when I came out of the meeting when they announced it. I got on the phone with her and I couldn’t even spit it out, because I was so taken away. I had to go into the bathroom and I still couldn’t say it. I was just balling crying, and she thought I was injured.
“Yeah, I finally got the words out. It was very humbling that my teammates voted on us.”
Locke almost broke down, too.
“I had to hold it in for my teammates,” he said. “Something I definitely dreamed of since I was younger at the University of Texas. It’s really, really a dream come true.”
Standing just 5-feet, 11-inches tall, Ford was told over and over again that he was too short to play major college football. A defensive lineman? Forget it, he heard. Ford actually considered joining the Marines out of high school since he grew up near a base in South Carolina.
Now with 33 career games under his belt, Ford may be one of the best defensive tackles in the Big 12.
“I’ve been pretty much hearing that my whole high school career and I was able to look past it,” Ford said. “It brought me this far, so I’m just going to keep running with it.”
Buechele welcomes competition: Coach Tom Herman could have easily named sophomore Shane Buechele the starting quarterback on Monday and left no doubt that he’s the starter for the entire season. Instead, Herman said that Buechele was the starter “today.”
That leaves plenty of wiggle room for freshman backup Sam Ehlinger, recruits Cameron Rising or Casey Thompson or anyone else the UT coaching staff brings in.
Buechele didn’t seem fazed by Herman’s comments during Monday’s press conference.
“It’s a constant competition, no matter if you’re the starter or not,” Buechele said. “That’s how it is and that’s how it should be.”
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email email@example.com.
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