Here is the complete list of the 2018 Texas Exes power rankings
No. 25 Derrick Johnson, football
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Why he is here: Johnson would, without a doubt, be higher on this list if we knew he was still going to be active. Johnson has yet to officially retire and, at 35, he was recently let go by the Chiefs where he had spent his whole career.
No. 24 Jordan Hicks, football
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Why he’s here: Hicks’ second season in the NFL may have been the best a Longhorn NFL player had in 2016. He looked like a future mainstay at middle linebacker with the athletic ability to be a threat in passing coverage. There’s little doubt that Hicks would be higher on the list if not for the same issues that kept him from becoming a true super star at Texas: injuries. He says he’s healthy and ready for his fourth season — a contract year.
No. 23 Jhonattan Vegas, golf
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Why he’s here: There are three golfers on the list, and all three are in the top 60 of the World Golf rankings. While Vegas isn’t a house hold name like one current Longhorn on tour, he’s a veteran golfer who over the last seven years has established himself on tour. When he turned pro in 2008, Vegas was the 1,381st ranked golfer in the world. He finished 2017 as the No. 44-ranked golfer. At 33, he’s entering his prime, and it’s not crazy to imagine him one day joining Jordan Spieth, Tom Kite, Justin Leonard and Ben Crenshaw as Longhorn major winners.
No. 22 Marquise Goodwin, football
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Why he’s here: Goodwin was No. 1 on Hookem.com’s 2017 Longhorns in the NFL rankings and he jumped up 14 spots to get there. Goodwin was by far the most productive Longhorn last year. You wonder had Goodwin received the quality quarterback play he seemed to have missed his entire pro career before the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco (and let’s face it, after having Colt McCoy at quarterback as a freshman, Goodwin’s quarterbacks at Texas weren’t great either), would his breakout year come even sooner? However, Goodwin had 20 catches in three seasons to start his career in Buffalo — injuries were a factor — which is why he’s not higher on the list.
No. 21 Avery Bradley, basketball
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Why he’s here: Bradley is one of the best defenders in the NBA and is almost certainly is going to land a sizeable deal this offseason. Few Texas Exes can claim to be “one of the best at X” in their sport, but Bradley can certainly say it on the defensive end. While his defense is singled out a lot, his offense has improved over the years, making him the one thing every NBA team wants: a “3-and-D” player.
No. 20 Imani McGee-Stafford, basketball
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Why she’s here: Only 23, McGee-Stafford could have a long and successful career ahead of her both in the WNBA and overseas. McGee-Stafford, along with Ariel Atkins (who was drafted earlier this month in the WNBA) will become standard barriers for Longhorns programs at the next level. But McGee-Stafford could also become a powerful voice off the court, where she has already published a book about her life, Notes in the Key of Heartbreak, as well as a nonprofit that combines sports and mental health called Hoops and Hope Foundation.
No. 19 Ryan Crouser
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Why he’s here: He’s 25 and already at the top of his sport with an Olympic gold medal. How many Olympics will he compete in? How many gold medals can he win? He’s here because very few — not even the top two players on this list — can claim to the best individual at their sport. Ryan Crouser can.
No. 18. Jarrett Allen, basketball
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Why he’s here: Allen performed above expectations his rookie year if you use what draft experts predicted of him. As he continues to develop his body and add muscle, Allen showed he has the talent to grow into a dominant, NBA franchise center.
No. 17 Quandre Diggs, football
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Why he’s here: There’s only one Longhorn defensive back in the NFL currently better than Diggs, and that guy is a future Hall of Famer and the best safety of his generation. Diggs’ humble beginnings to his pro career and his active social media presence— the Longhorns are rarely far from his mind– makes Diggs one of the best Longhorn representatives right now and if his pro career continues to excel, he’ll be one for the future.
No. 16 Destinee Hooker, volleyball
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Why she’s here: Destinee Hooker may be the third or fourth most famous international Longhorn athlete competing today. While professional volleyball may not be a thing in the United States — and beach volleyball definitely is bigger in the states — it is in other countries. But it’s not just that, it’s the Olympics as well. Hooker is arguably the best American Olympic volleyball player of the last decade despite not even participating in the 2016 games — that seems to be a whole another story — and she is clearly one of the best outside hitters in the sport. Living in San Antonio in the offseason, hopefully Hooker will have another shot winning an Olympic gold medal, something America has done just once since winning gold at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, that would be at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
No. 15 Dylan Frittelli, Golf
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Why he’s here: At just 27, Frittelli is starting the prime of his career and that is evident by his last two years — his first playing PGA Tour events — where he’s starting find success. He finished 11th at the Honda Classic and reached No. 44 in the World Golf Rankings. The one blind spot is his struggles in the majors, the only events that are truly going to gain the attention of the casual fan. He’s made just one cut in the in the three majors he’s played in as a pro, finishing tied for No. 63 at the 2017 PGA Championship. However, that has come in a small sample size, and with ranking hovering in the low 50s, he certainly is a golfer to watch moving forward.
No. 14 P.J. Tucker, basketball
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Why he’s here: Tucker isn’t a superstar or even more than a part-time starter, but he’s a player that will likely spend the rest of his career on championship contending teams due to his ability to shoot (37 percent from 3-point land), play defense and rebound. He’s already helped the Rockets, scoring 18 points in the closeout first-round game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tucker went from a half decade playing for teams like the Piratas de Quebradillas in Puerto Rico in 2011 to making more than $18 million since 2012.
No. 13 Tristan Thompson, basketball
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Why he’s here: We’re not going to lie, the off court stuff makes this post a little awkward. Google “Tristan Thompson” and you’re not finding a lot of basketball stories these days. In fact, because of his relationship with reality TV star Khloe Kardashian, Thompson may be the most famous Texas athlete out there despite many of those people having no clue he went to Texas and was a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award in 2010. Thompson is here because he’s been one of the six or seven best players in the NBA Finals every year for the last three years despite all the talent on the Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. He’s here because he’s 27 and one of the best low post players in the NBA.
No. 12 Brandon Belt, baseball
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Why he’s here: It’s not surprising, because of the nature of how Major League Baseball and college baseball work, that there’s only two UT baseball players on this list despite all the success of the program and all the Texas-Exes pursuing baseball careers. Baseball is arguably the most difficult sport to reach a pinnacle. It’s very hard to become an everyday big leaguer because every club has a half-a-dozen players in the minors playing the same position ready to supplant the starter. Belt has not only reached the point where he’s a veteran in the league, but he signed a 5-year, $72.8 million contract extension before the 2016 season — he’ll make more than $17 million a year until 2021. An All-Star, a two-time World Series Champion, Belt belongs on the list.
No. 11 Malcom Brown, football
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Why he’s here: When the Patriots decided not to pick up his option for the 2019 season, it could be seen as a sign Brown’s career is at a crossroads, but at the same time, the 6-foot-2-inch, 320 pound defensive tackle has been a productive member of the Patriots’ defense and considered the team’s top defensive tackle. However, the Patriots’ decision may be based more on their own salary cap situation than Brown’s performance. A fifth-year option on a first round pick taken between 11-32 means Brown would have made around $7 million that season. Instead, Brown will have an opportunity to make more than that if his fourth season is as productive as his first three. Brown is a Super Bowl champion at just 24-years-old.
No. 10 Courtney Okolo, track and field
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Why she’s here: There’s an argument to be made that the athletes who become the most famous over a two-week period every four years at the Olympic Summer Games are the gymnasts and the sprinters, and Okolo is one of the best sprinters in the world. At 24, she’s the best American 400 meter sprinter. She has one gold medal already and will be just 26 and still in her prime when the next Olympics rolls around. Much like Ryan Crouser, who also made the list, Okolo is a an athlete who could be representing the US– and the University of Texas– in international competition for years to come.
No. 9 Myles Turner, basketball
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Why he’s here: Turner is a 6-foot-11-inch, 255 pound athletic, modern-day NBA big. His pro career was always going to fit his style better than his days as a Longhorn. Turner has seen his 3-point shooting percentage rise from 21.4 percent as a rookie to 35.7 percent this past season– a career high. Now paired with another young rising star, Victor Oladipo, Turner is a cornerstone of the Pacers’ future. His fourth season could be pivotal in terms of what to expect from Turner moving forward. Will he emerge as a possible NBA All-Star as he is already one of the five best post players in the NBA East Conference?
No. 8 Brian Orakpo, football
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Why he’s here: Like Earl Thomas and Derrick Johnson, Orakpo has carved out a stellar NFL career, and it’s not a stretch to think a few more productive, Pro Bowl caliber seasons could have him on a Canton path. He is a 4-time Pro Bowler and is 16th on the active NFL sack list. Orakpo started all 16 games last season and recorded seven sacks for the Titans.
No. 7 Michelle Carter, track and field
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Why she’s here: Carter will be 34 when the next Olympics arrives and to our knowledge she hasn’t announced she won’t try to qualify for the Olympics. Carter won bronze at the World Championships in 2017 in London, so she is still competing. She is also active off the track, where she launched her program “You Throw Girl” which talks to young women about body image and confidence.
No. 6 Corey Knebel, baseball
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Why he’s here: An injury has tripped up Knebel’s 2018 season and limited him to just 5.2 innings as of May 15. With the Brewers in first place of the stacked National League Central and Knebel still entrenched as the closer, expect him to get many opportunities to right the ship. Currently Knebel is the best Texas alum playing professional baseball.
No. 5 Justin Tucker, football
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No. 4 LaMarcus Aldridge, basketball
No. 3 Earl Thomas, football
No. 2 Jordan Spieth, golf
No.1 Kevin Durant, basketball
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Why he’s here: Durant donated $3 million to the University of Texas several months ago. He was recently named to Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. He a global celebrity, a figure of pop culture and one of the most famous people– not just athletes– in the world. He’s been a movie star, has a popular YouTube channel. Simply put, in the present, Kevin Durant is the most famous Texas Longhorn in the world, and certainly the most dominant Texas athlete.
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