The football season is approaching fast, and Texas fans are getting excited. Counting today, there are 11 days until the start of the football season. To help celebrate, we’re counting down five things every day until the start of the season.
Some people aren’t raised in Texas. No one is perfect. And while the state of Texas produces seemingly thousands of high school football players, sometimes Longhorn coaches go out of state to bring in a football player.
And sometimes those football players are pretty special, as if they’ve been in Texas the whole time.
With high school football in the state of Texas getting started on a Thursday, which doesn’t feel to Texan to most Texans, we tip our probably not made in Texas cap to this sometimes beleaguered but special day and give you five Longhorns not from Texas to remember:
5. Bryant Westbrook, El Camino High School in Oceanside, Calif.
Westbrook was a feared defensive back for the Longhorns in the mid-1990s and was All-Big 12, second team All-Southwest Conference and a second-team All-American during his career at Texas. He played in the NFL from 1997-2003 and was on the All-Rookie Team in 1997 after being drafted fifth overall by the Detroit Lions.
Westbrook’s hit on Texas A&M’s Leeland McElroy is enough to put him all the lists we do.
OK. One more, since Texas is playing Notre Dame in a few days:
4. Major Applewhite, Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, La.
Applewhite’s college career is almost movie-like. He broke all sorts of records, but still didn’t have the starting quarterback job wrapped up his senior year. Then he had one of the greatest games in the history of Texas football, in a bowl game no less, and walked off into the sunset. We won’t get into the Applewhite-Chris Simms hot-take other then the that this was a big national debate before sports television was all about the big national debates. Also, last one, it was between two quarterbacks who are both not from Texas. Simms is from New Jersey.
Applewhite graduated as the all-time leading passer with 8,353 yards. He also graduated with the most touchdown passes thrown, 60, and most 300-yard passing games, 9. All these records were shattered thoroughly by Colt McCoy. Applewhite does hold the record for most consecutive passes without an interception. In fact, he holds the top two and both were accomplished in 1999 when he went 156 passes without an interception and 138 passes without an interception.
Applewhite went on to have success as a coach and was the offensive coordinator at Texas for several seasons. After his name dimmed a bit, Applewhite is now a hot name once again after running Houston’s offense last season.
Here is Applewhite’s signature game in the 2001 Holiday Bowl when threw for 473 yards and four touchdowns and Texas overcame a huge deficit to beat Washington, 47-43. Here are the highlights:
3. Jim Bertelsen, Hudson High School in Hudson, Wis.
Bertelsen is a member of the Texas Hall of Honor and was a key contributor for both the 1969 and 1970 national title teams as one of the running backs out of the wishbone. Teaming with James Street, Steve Worster and Ted Koy, Bertlesen helped Texas to the longest win streak in program history. Going from early 1968 to January, 1971 without a loss. He finished with 2,510 yards with 33 touchdowns and nine 100-yard rushing games in his career. Bertelsen was the 30th pick of the NFL Draft in 1972 by the Los Angeles Rams. He made the Pro Bowl with the Rams in 1974 before retiring in 1976.
Here’s highlights of the 1970 Cotton Bowl. Bertelsen is No. 35:
2. Eric Metcalf, Bishop Denis J. O’Connell High School in Arlington, Va.
Metcalf probably doesn’t get as much recognition as he deserves in Longhorn history. He played during a time when the Longhorns weren’t that good in the mid and late 1980s, but he was sensational for Texas. Metcalf was the 1987 Southwest Conference Player of the Year and an All-American that season. He is the only player in program history to lead Texas in all-purpose yards for four years in a row. The running back pretty much owns every running back receiving record there is at Texas. Not only was he a standout football player, but he was also NCAA Long Jump Champion in 1986 and 1988. He was an All-American in the long jump every year at Texas and competed in the 1988 Olympic trials. In the NFL, Metcalf is one of the greatest special teams players in league history. He went to three Pro Bowls and was All-Pro three times. He holds the NFL record for most kickoff return yards and is second in punt return touchdowns. Metcalf was the 13th pick in the 1989 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.
1. Ricky Williams, Patrick Henry High School, San Diego, Calif.
Williams is not only one of the greatest running backs in Texas history, he’s not only one of the most recognized football players to ever play at Texas, but he’s also one of the greatest high school athletes to come to Texas. Williams was a football player, track and field star, baseball standout and high school wrestler. Williams was the San Diego Tribune’s 1994 Player of the Year in football after rushing for 2,099 yards and 25 touchdowns. Williams was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies and spent four years in their minor league system. Phillies great and future MVP Jimmy Rollins was Williams’ teammate and called him “the fastest man” he’d ever seen. At Texas, well, Ricky was sensational, and you can read about the records he has here.
Here’s nearly 14 minutes of Ricky Williams highlights if you don’t believe me (9:43 mark is the famous “Hello, record book” run).