One week before the season opener, Texas coach Tom Herman announced the Longhorns’ five captains for the 2018 season. All are seniors, most have battled through major injuries and every one will play pivotal roles this season.
Defensive end Breckyn Hager, defensive tackle Chris Nelson and linebacker Anthony Wheeler represent the defense. Tight end Andrew Beck, who was also a team captain last season and guard Elijah Rodriguez represent the offense.
Toughness, leadership and likability are key traits in any locker room. The team captains were selected by their peers. Herman also called each player’s parents Saturday to tell them the news personally.
“This is the biggest honor I’ve ever gotten in my life, to have you guys vote on me,” Hager said in a video posted on social media.
— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) August 25, 2018
Hager, a philosophy major from Westlake, has made 105 tackles and 10 sacks in 34 career games. He’s suffered a broken collarbone and knee injures playing football only to bounce back and emerge as a preseason All-Big 12 pick this summer.
Nelson, who has recovered from elbow surgery, is a Florida product who has already graduated with a degree in youth and community studies. Wheeler, a Dallas Skyline graduate with a musical background, is a sport management major.
All three are projected to be season-long starters for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando.
“If you would have asked me last year, I would have said, ‘Nah, I ain’t ever going to be no captain,’” Wheeler said in the UT video. “Just being up here is a really good feeling for me.”
Said Nelson: “Y’all are going to have somebody to look up to. Y’all can ask me any questions. I’m going to go 100 percent every day.”
Beck, a corporate communications graduate from Houston, was named a team captain prior to last year but missed the entire year with a foot injury. The Tampa, Fla., native is one of the last recruits brought into the fold by former UT coach Mack Brown. He committed to the Longhorns in April 2013.
Rodriguez finished his degree in physical culture and sports in May. He missed the entire regular season last year after suffering an ankle injury in August. Rodriguez had surgery but returned in time to start the Texas Bowl.
“I’m going to do the same on the field. Give it all to you guys,” Rodriguez said. “Thank you. Hook ’em.”
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.