Malcolm Epps swears he’s 19 years old. Then why are his Texas teammates calling him Grandpa?
“I get that a lot,” Epps said after Thursday’s practice. “People think I’m lying when I tell them my actual age.”
Epps looks 29, not 19. But the tattoo trailing down his right biceps appears legitimate. It says, “Est. 2000.”
“I don’t worry about what people talk about my body, because everybody has to work,” Epps said. “God gives you something to work on. If you’re tall, you might not be the fastest. If you’re short, you’re gonna be blazing but you’re height deficient. So in order for me to not think about that, I just have to work as if I’m 5-10.”
Epps is the most intriguing member of the Longhorns’ deep receiving corps. He’s 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 245 pounds. If you wanted to intimidate opponents, have Epps get off the bus first.
He played in just two games last season, thereby preserving his redshirt status. Going into his second year, the freshman is one of those “freaks of nature” along with sophomore Brennan Eagles, senior Collin Johnson said.
Johnson and slot receiver Devin Duvernay are certain to get plenty of targets. There’s a crowded field of players looking to be next in line. Epps had 58 catches for 999 yards and 12 touchdowns in three varsity seasons at Spring Dekaney.
Epps will now get a few extra days of headway over Eagles, the 6-4 wideout from Houston who had minor arthroscopic surgery on his elbow to clean up an old high school injury, a UT official said. Eagles is not expected to miss the season opener on Aug. 31.
“Malcolm has been doing an unbelievable job,” Johnson said. “Obviously, he can go up and get the ball, but now he’s understanding route running and things like that.”
Asked how good he could be, Epps said, “As good as God allows me to.”
No worries about Ingram: Quarterback Sam Ehlinger met with reporters on Thursday and had no concerns about the rash of injuries at running back. Asked about his anxiety level, he said, “Minimal. I had to tell Keaontay (Ingram) to stop jogging today. He’s going to be OK.”
Ingram suffered a minor knee injury during Sunday’s scrimmage and was expected to be held out of practice as a precaution. From the sound of it, Ingram missed a few days at most.
“It could have been a lot worse than his knee with what happened,” Ehlinger said. “But because of the supporting ligaments and the supporting muscles, because he’s so strong, it was pretty minor.”
Young stays focused: Running back Daniel Young doesn’t want to be labeled a third-down back. He doesn’t want to be labeled anything. It’s clear the junior is keeping his head down, sharpening his craft and waiting for his chance.
“Everything happens for a reason. Everything’s for a purpose,” Young said. “I don’t really worry about playing time. I’m here to play, not to decide playing time. So I just work on things that I need to work on. And If I’m not playing, there’s something else I need to work on.”
Ingram and freshman Jordan Whittington are getting the preseason attention, but Young is a grinder. The junior had 42 carries last season for 153 yards and a season-long run of 30 yards to close out a win over Tulsa.
Walk-ons get rewarded: The Longhorns surprised two walk-on linebackers Wednesday by putting them on scholarship.
Cort Jaquess, a sophomore from San Antonio Churchill, has played in nine career games, all on special teams in 2018. He’s a business major and also a two-time member of the Big 12 commissioner’s honor roll. His father, Jay, was a defensive end at UT from 1986-88.
Russell Hine, a sophomore who attended Austin Regents School, is a biochemistry and pre-med major and two-time member of the Big 12 commissioner’s honor roll.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.