Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s Thursday, April 26th.
On this date: The Chiefs took Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher with the top pick of the NFL draft (2013); the Lions drafted Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford No. 1 overall (2009); Seattle Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 250th career home run (1997); the Patriots took Washington State quarterback Drew Bledsoe No. 1 overall in the NFL draft (1993); NASA’s Pioneer 10 probe left Pluto’s orbit (1983) — we ended up losing contact with it in 2003 when it was 12 billion kilometers away from Earth; and Philadelphia’s Phillie Phanatic made his first appearance as the Phillies’ mascot (1978).
Happy birthday, Greg Davis (67) and JP Howell (35). And to Darren Woodson (49) and Tim Duncan (42), too.
How ’bout them Horns?
The NFL draft kicks off tonight (7 p.m., ESPN and NFL Network) as Dallas’ AT&T Stadium takes center stage over the next three days. There technically are 15 Longhorns considered draft-eligible, though some of them will end up signing with teams as undrafted free agents. Danny Davis has been tracking mock drafts for the past several weeks (here’s his latest post); from those, only 4-6 Longhorns should be expecting to get drafted — Williams, Jefferson, Elliott and Hill, and maybe Ford and Dickson too:
Connor Williams, OL: Rated as the No. 2 or No. 3 tackle in the draft. Of those five mocks that Danny has tracked (247Sports, Draft Wire, Sports Illustrated, DraftTek and Pro Football Focus), three have him going in the first round, two others very high in the second. On Wednesday night, on ESPN’s NFL Live, former Colts executive Bill Polian highlighted Williams in a “Buyer Beware” segment. “Not because he’s not a good player, but because he had a serious injury which kept him out of a lot of games this year, and now with that injury and that games-missed statistic, that would drive him down in my mind,” Polian said. “I’m not willing to risk a high pick on a guy who might not be available.”
Malik Jefferson, LB: Probably will go in the second or third round on Friday.
DeShon Elliott, DB: Four of those five mocks have Elliott being taken in the 89-132 range.
Holton Hill, DB: Three of the five mocks have him being taken. DraftTek has him at 82 overall to join Quandre Diggs in Detroit; 247Sports and Pro Football Focus both have him going in the 160s.
Poona Ford, DT: Like Hill, three of those five mocks have Ford getting drafted — 82nd (Lions), 163rd (Redskins) and 251st (Chargers).
Michael Dickson, P: Will anyone actually use a draft pick on a punter? It’s happened before and, at least in college, Dickson was a high-impact player because of how he affected field position. Pro Football Focus has him going 121st overall to the Bills.
Other Horns that are draft-eligible: OL Terrell Cuney, DB Antwuan Davis, WR Armanti Foreman, DB Jason Hall, LB Naashon Hughes, WR Lorenzo Joe, WR Dorian Leonard, OL Tristan Nickelson and RB Chris Warren III.
Williams is Texas’ only real hope to go in the first round. Texas is tied for eighth all-time in first-round picks. The top 10:
1. USC (80)
2. Ohio State (77)
3. Notre Dame (66)
4. Miami (65)
5. Alabama (57)
6. Florida (52)
7. Tennessee (46)
T8. Texas (44)
T8. Oklahoma (44)
T8. Michigan (44)
That’s just first-rounders. Texas is 11th when it comes to all-time picks, with 337. USC tops that list too, with 502.
The last 10 Longhorns who have been drafted:
2013 — Kenny Vaccaro (1st), Marquise Goodwin (3rd), Alex Okafor (4th)
2015 — Malcom Brown (1st), Jordan Hicks (3rd), Mykkele Thompson (5th), Quandre Diggs (6th), Geoff Swaim (7th)
2016 — Hassan Ridgeway (4th)
2017 — D’Onta Foreman (3rd)
OTHER NEWS FROM WEDNESDAY:
Ghim shares Big 12 title: No. 15 Texas was fit to be tied in the final round of the Big 12 men’s golf championship in Tulsa — the Longhorns tied for second with Oklahoma State, 8 shots back of league champion Oklahoma, and senior Doug Ghim tied for individual honors at 3-over par along with OU’s Grant Hirshman, Kansas State’s Jeremy Gandon and Oklahoma State’s Kristoffer Ventura. Scottie Scheffler tied for fifth, 2 shots back. Texas shot a 9-over 289 on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately we just didn’t have that great round that we needed,” UT coach John Fields said. “… We came here thinking and feeling like we had a chance to win. We got to the last day and we were in the hunt in the last part of the round with a chance to win.”
Next up for Texas: The NCAA regionals, May 14-16.
Softball blanks Texas Southern: Freshman second baseman Janae Jefferson went 3 for 3 with a double, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored as the Longhorns shut out Texas Southern, 6-0. The game was delayed for two hours because of bad weather. Texas (28-18, 10-3 Big 12) travels to conference-leading Oklahoma (41-3, 12-0) this weekend for a key league series.
Tom Herman in Amarillo: On Wednesday, the This is Texas tour moves to Amarillo’s Botanical Gardens from 6-8 p.m. The tour was in Midland on Tuesday; Herman told the UT faithful at the Commemorative Air Force that good times are right around the corner. “It’s coming, but it is a process,” he said. Here’s the Midland Reporter-Telegram coverage of the event. It wsan’t just Herman there; athletic director Chris Del Conte was there along with coaches Shaka Smart, Karen Aston, Eddie Reese, Carol Capitani and Angela Kelly.
Around the Horns
Football: On the recruiting front, Wednesday’s Dotted Line notebook ($) from Mike Craven visited with Spring Dekaney cornerback Marcus Banks, who had high praise for Texas after last weekend’s Orange-White game. And the Dallas Morning News re-published an item from about a month ago that had Houston St. Pius X quarterback Grant Gunnell saying he thinks Texas will win a national championship before Texas A&M does; Gunnell was once committed to the Aggies before he backed out of that pledge.
Men’s basketball: At the aforementioned This is Texas tour stop in Midland on Tuesday night, Shaka Smart gave the crowd an update on Andrew Jones, who’s battling leukemia. Jones, Smart said, has been playing at Austin rec centers: “He goes to the local rec center to play basketball. So he’s actually playing, and his goal is to play next year. I’ve told him, ‘Hey man, let’s just get you healthy.’ But yeah, for him to have that in his mind, you can tell he’s a real fighter.”
Women’s golf: The field for Austin’s NCAA regional has been decided. In order of seeds — Arkansas, Texas, Michigan State, Florida, Auburn, Oklahoma, Houston, Miami, Baylor, Texas A&M, BYU, East Carolina, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, UTSA, Georgetown, Houston Baptist and Missouri State. The regional is May 7-9 at the UT Golf Club.
Women’s tennis: Texas, which won the Big 12 regular season title, is the top seed for this week’s Big 12 championships at the Texas Tennis Center. The tournament starts today but the Longhorns have a bye; they’ll meet the winner of today’s TCU-West Virginia match on Friday at noon. If Texas wins that one, it would get either fourth-seeded Kansas or fifth-seeded Baylor at 3 p.m. Saturday. The finals are Sunday at 1. The Waco Tribune-Herald wrote about Baylor player Theresa Van Zyl, who’s come a long way from her farm in South Africa.
Around the Big 12
The Independent Commission on College Basketball ‘s recommendations released Wednesday to fix corruption in the sport: End the one-and-done rule, ramp up the enforcement of NCAA eligibility rules and dole out more penalties. The Kansas City Star wrote a story on KU coach Bill Self’s response. The Star’s Sam Mellinger also wrote a piece on Wednesday that says the NCAA got what it wanted — the ability to overlook its own part of the problem. … Oklahoma lost a recent commitment when Notre Dame grad transfer Jay Hayes, a defensive end, backed out of the Sooners and instead pledged to Georgia, per the Oklahoman. But don’t feel too bad for the Sooners. They received their 11th pledge for the 2019 class in 4-star guard E.J. Ndoma-Ogar. … At Oklahoma State, quarterback issues — backup QB Keondre Wudtee is out with an injury — head coach Mike Gundy is re-thinking the format to the Cowboys’ spring game on Saturday. It’ll now look more like a practice-style scrimmage, according to an Oklahoman report. … The Tulsa World advanced the NFL draft with a story on OU quarterback Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph.
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