The football season is approaching fast, and Texas fans are getting excited. Counting today, there are 36 days until the start of the season. To help celebrate, we’re counting down five things every day until then.
Last season Taylor Doyle, Johnathan Gray, Peter Jinkens and Duke Thomas were the captains for the Longhorn football team. Who will be the captains this year? Will there even be any designated team captains? (In 1990 and 1991, there weren’t any.) Well, whoever will be the team captains, they have some big shoes to fill.
Here are five years in which the team captain group was pretty impressive:
Dick Harris and somebody named Tom Landry were the captains of the UT football team in 1948. Harris is a member of the Longhorn Hall of Honor and a two-time All-American. Tom Landry is one of the most important figures in the history of the game.
The year after the national title, there were five team captains. All five played in the NFL, four were drafted, two played in Super Bowls, and one has a ring. Justin Blalock, one of the greatest offensive linemen to play at Texas, was joined by Jim Thorpe Award winner Aaron Ross, defensive lineman Tim Crowder and two talented sons of former Longhorns, Kasey Studdard and Lyle Sendlein. All five of these players were important members of the 2005 team, and they were all captains in 2006. Ross won a Super Bowl as a rookie with the Giants, Blalock was the 39th pick of the draft and started 125 games for the Falcons, Crowder was a second-round pick of the Broncos, and Sendlein has been a fixture on Arizona’s offensive line since going undrafted in 2007.
Lamarr Houston, Sergio Kindle, Jordan Shipley and Colt McCoy were the captains of the 2009 Longhorns. McCoy is one of the greatest players in Texas football history. Shipley was his favorite receiver. Houston and Kindle were second-round picks and leaders on defense. McCoy won just about every quarterback and offensive player award there was, but not the Heisman Trophy. Houston was the 44th pick of the draft and has made 72 starts in the NFL, including 15 in 2015 for the Chicago Bears. Shipley’s and Kindle’s careers ended early because of injuries, but both were All-Americans and All-Big 12 players.
You could pick just about any captain class from 2000 to 2006 and be impressed. But rare is it that one group — two individuals — accomplished so much in the college game and in their subsequent professional careers. Cedric Benson was one of the greatest running backs in college football history. Derrick Johnson can make a legitimate claim as greatest Longhorn linebacker ever. Both were All-Americans, and Benson won the Doak Walker Award and Derrick Johnson won the Dick Butkus Award. Think about that: Every game, the Doak Walker winner and Dick Butkus winner called heads or tails! Benson left Texas as the Big 12’s all-time leader in rushing yards with 5,540 and tied with Ricky Williams with 64 rushing touchdowns. Johnson is second in Big 12 history with 458 tackles. Benson led the Cincinnati Bengals in rushing for three seasons and was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2009. Johnson is a four-time Pro Bowler who is building a Hall of Fame résumé as a Kansas City Chief lifer.
James Street is one of the most famous athletes ever to walk on the Forty Acres. Ted Koy is from Longhorn royalty. Glen Halsell is one of the greatest linebackers in program history. Street, a quarterback, was the Offensive Outstanding Player from the 1969 Cotton Bowl and team MVP. He led Texas to a national championship in football and three College World Series appearances. Ted Koy was a halfback on the team and his father, Ernie, and brother Ernie Jr. were also stalwarts at Texas. Halsell was only 5 feet 11 inches tall but was known as a fierce hitter and had 263 tackles in three years of starting for Texas. These three were captains for the first of back-to-back national titles at Texas.