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Texas LB Juwan Mitchell becomes 5th known senior staying in school another year

Freshman Jaylan Ford will start vs. Colorado as Mitchell must sit out one half for targeting call vs. K-State

Texas linebacker Juwan Mitchell is the Longhorns' leading tackler this season.

Texas senior linebacker Juwan Mitchell will have to sit out the first half of Tuesday’s Alamo Bowl, but at least he isn’t going anywhere long term.

Coach Tom Herman said Monday that Texas’ leading tackler this season has indicated to the coaching staff that he will return to the Longhorns for 2021. The NCAA is giving all players an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic. 

Mitchell will have to miss the first half against Colorado because of his targeting call in the second half of the Kansas State game back on Dec. 5. Herman said freshman Jaylan Ford will start in Mitchell’s place.

Mitchell, who has a team-high 59 tackles, isn’t the only senior taking advantage of the NCAA rule change. Graduate transfer receiver Brenden Schooler, offensive linemen Denzel Okafor and Tope Imade, and tight end Cade Brewer have all announced they will return for another year.

Herman said there are more unannounced seniors who have yet to make their plans known. Herman did not want to announce their names on a Zoom call Monday so it wouldn’t “spoil their moment.” It’s en vogue now to announce your plans on social media.

“We had a meeting shortly after the Kansas State game where I made sure that all of them knew that they were welcome back,” Herman said. “Some have already made that decision on one side or the other, and some are still thinking about it. This is the way of the world in 2020, and chalk it up to another unique quality of this crazy season.”

Graduate transfer Tarik Black, a receiver, is another one to monitor.

The biggest question mark is whether senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger will return. Herman gave no clues about where Ehlinger stands with his decision, only that he would talk it over with the family after Tuesday’s game.

Last week with reporters, Ehlinger sidestepped all questions about his future, saying he would prefer to focus on Colorado. 

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.