Send a happy Thanksgiving to a memorable class of Texas Longhorns

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By By Eric Nahlin, Inside Texas Recruiting Editor
Posted Nov 21, 2012
Copyright © 2014 InsideTexas.com


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Marquise Goodwin (Will Gallagher/Inside Texas)

Best intentions don’t always lay bare.

Imagine KBrown, standing before a perfectly harvested turkey. I say perfectly because yours isn’t. The turkey quills have been extracted. Inkwells filled with red correcting ink - blood of the ungrammatical - await. 

As he pulls out his carving knife, perfectly sharpened in the moonlight by satellite laser beams from lands you can't pronounce much less spell, he offers a self satisfying smile. “Only you could carve this turkey with an engineerbots precision.” “Wait until (or should I use ‘tilst’ here, he wondered inwardly) the fam (he’s often times ‘hood’ or urban authentic when he’s wondering inwardly) sees this perfectly carved turkey.”

With the turkey now expertly parceled, our hero makes way for a table geometrically set. He set it of course. Well, he and his ever holstered pocket protractor, Hank. But, on his path to hero-dom, he trips head over heels over a misapplied apostrophe. Did you leave it there, dear commenter? D’ID YOU?

Now, adorned in a perfectly basted turkey helmet and stuffin beard, our protagonist must recalibrate. Is this turkey helmet part of the presentation???

HAPPY SENIOR DAY!  

It’s a small class, but like KBrown, it’s ours.

It may not have worked out perfectly, but again, it’s ours.

Let’s take a look, a positive look, at players that will forever be part of the Longhorn time capsule.

Let’s kick our homage off with a bang, or a jet sweep.

Marquise Goodwin

My fondness for Goodwin unsettles me. It’s unfortunate Texas doesn’t have his talents for one more year. Explosive players, truly explosive players, are few and far between. Often, they’re one dimensional, and that dimension is ‘fast.' Goodwin, however, is much more than just fast. He’s tough. He has reliable hands. He has football awareness. He leads, it's just tough to keep up.

When Quise goes, a part of me goes with him. He’s the 2012 version of Fozzy in so many ways. Did Texas utilize him enough? Unfortunately, I think we all know how to answer that.

Favorite Goodwin moment: You’ve already anointed the sweep against Ole Miss as his signature play, haven’t you? I’m a bit angrier than that. His block versus UCLA embodied Marquise to a ‘Q.' Toughness. Selflessness. EXPLOSIVENESS. When you’re slight of build like Goodwin, punch isn’t generated from size. It’s generated from the legs, the hips and the heart. Marquise Goodwin is one of my favorite Longhorns.

Thank you, Marquise Goodwin.

D.J. Grant

Grant can apply for a, um, grant. At least as it applies to one more year of eligibility. I hope he does. I don’t want to eulogize him here, but if his eligibility is done, I’d like to say thanks.

Thank you for fighting through those injuries. Thank you for bouncing back. You weren’t your athletic self, but I bet you’d admit you’re a better man for battling back. I saw you coming out of high school and your talent was obvious. Talent evaluators didn’t ‘miss’ on you, your injuries were just unkind to your first step.

But you still had those hands and great frame. Injuries couldn’t take that. Nobody ever questioned your effort either. Not that they should, but a tight end coming off multiple knee injuries could appear to loaf at times.

Not you.

My favorite D.J. moment: UCLA and his three touchdowns, right? Wrong. My favorite moment was the fourth down catch versus Oklahoma State. Sure, that pass was perfect, but just as much as that ball caught Grant, Grant caught it. It was the surest of plays. Perfect throw. Drama free catch. He simply tucked it and ran. Texas went on to win.

Thank you, D.J. Grant.

Jeremy Hills

He wanted to be a Longhorn from day one, like many of you. He was indoctrinated at an early age, like many of you.

It’s easy to associate the Achos to one another. Their time overlapped. Tony and Jeremy’s contributions have been a bit lost in the shuffle. Like D.J. Grant, Tony Hills battled through injuries like a man and fulfilled his expectations.

In my eyes, his brother did the same.

J. Hills’ value is without question. With a stable of exceptional talent, he's been Texas' Thurman Thomas. Not a great runner. Not a great receiver. But he was good in all facets when given the opportunity, including blitz pick-up. He chose to redshirt because he knew he hadn’t left the mark on Texas he wanted to. He knew he had more to offer. I’m of the belief that he maximized his time at Texas and left a template for some of the more heralded runners to emulate. I’m happy Jeremy Hills is a Longhorn.

Favorite Hills moment: He’s been big, in this his fifth year, and his three catches versus Oklahoma State were instrumental in what I consider a huge win. In a backfield filled with NFL talent, he’s been Prudential, at least if they're still reliable. Markets are fuzzy to me. Hills has been reliable to the definition of the word and has given Texas a lot of extra yards through his effort even if some of them were invisible to the common eye.

Thank you, Jeremy Hills.

Barrett Matthews

North Shore in the house.

When you see these guy up close, they take on a new dimension. They’re not trading cards. They’re not dots on a television screen. They’re real. Standing five feet from them is humanizing. Barrett Matthews didn’t live up to your expectations as a Longhorn football player, but whether you know it or not, he lived up to your expectations of a Longhorn. I say it in that manner to reaffirm my own belief.

From what I know of Matthews second hand, and what I know of Matthews first hand, he fought his ass off every day in practice and in the weight room, to try to get as much playing time as possible. On a field suited for only eleven men, I’m not sure Texas utilized him to his potential, but he did have some profound moments. I would have loved to see him get more time, but only fools play twelve.

My favorite Matthews moment: Did I sound sentimental talking about Barrett? Good. He left an indelible mark on me in the spring of 2010. While the team was in full practice mode a few guys weren’t paying attention. Paying little attention to his pay grade, Matthews lit into those players and demanded they pay attention to coaching. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of the Barrett Matthews look. He demands land and title.

Thank you, Barrett Matthews.

D.J. Monroe

Go D.J., that’s our D.J.

How do you not love D.J. Monroe? He’ll be the most underutilized Texas alumni since McCartney didn’t use Jamail in divorce proceedings.

Most know D.J. for his speed, I know him for his toughness. I’m 6’ 200 pounds and I want little to do with Big 12 linebackers. D.J.’s half my size (3’ 100 pounds) and he’s fearless. Angleton tough, imo.

Like Goodwin, there’s nothing more aesthetically pleasing than Monroe hitting the corner. When he’s able to turn and take off, it’s a special play.

Hey, Texas, you should have done more of that. They tried to this year, and D.J. rewarded them, but we never saw enough of D.J. Monroe. Some of that has to do with coaching, some of that has to do with D.J. The victim in all of this is you the fan and the boxscore.

Favorite D.J. moment: OU, 2010. When he swerved that corner I just knew UT would use him more. I was wrong because UT was wrong, but when he banked that turn against OU during the plague of 5-7, year of our Lord 2010, it was talent personified.

Thank you, Donald Junior.

Luke Poehlmann

Luke, somebody at a Brenham feed store is your father. How do you not love Luke Poehlmann? First, he’s from Brenham, Texas, home of friendly humans. Second, he’s been extremely selfless as Texas plays mad scientist with his weight fluctuation. Am I fat? Am I skinny??

To answer, yes, and no. He’s been fat as  an offensive tackle, and he’s been skinny as a tight end. Because of the balancing act, our lineman Walenda is skinny fat.

I love what Luke has given this team in the last two years, though I’m not sure he’ll ever remove his standing within the mullet community.

Favorite mullet moment: No, it wasn’t the mullet on the Fiesta sideline. Like you, I just shook my head and said, “Brenham.”

My favorite Poehlmann moment is the touchdown. Or, as I’m sure the Poehlmann’s call it, THE TOUCHDOWN. Where were you??? Tricking Baptists is a slippery stairway to heaven, but nothing says you’re in for the hard road like purposely wearing a mullet. Now I’m torn, if he could have just worn that Tennessee Tophat while scoring that touchdown versus Baylor. BTW, that was a Shuttlesworth [REDACTED]. He also called the touchdown.

Thank you, Luke Poehlmann. Brenham in the house!

Ryan Roberson

Why didn’t you grow a mullet? You’re from Brenham, I thought that’s what y’all did?

The town that’s been more kind to me than any other has also been kind to Texas. While many players come to Texas from bluebonnet country, it just so happens that they often flip flop positions once they get there. That selflessness, TEAM, stands out to me.

Roberson came to Texas with the heart of a linebacker and the feet of a running back. While he may not have struck it big on your Saturday TV set, he did in the locke rroom and with me.

As a fullback, I’m not sure he ever received the tutelage necessary. There aren’t a lot of people that adequately teach the linebacker of the offense role, but Roberson never lacked for effort.

Favorite Roberson moment: Easy, Oklahoma State. Roberson had four huge catches in a game that may go down as the Longhorn’s best win of 2012. I bet that touchdown versus Ole Miss didn’t feel too shabby, but those four dirty work receptions versus the Cowboys loom large.

Thank you, Ryan Roberson.

Kenny F****** Vaccaro

Vaccaro is Italian for ‘Powers.' I just learned this recently.

Oh Kenny. What will the Longhorns do when you’re gone? Hopefully not play uninspired tackle missing football.

From his first sprint on kickoff coverage we all knew Kenny Vaccaro was going to be special.

Vaccaro is the Allen Iverson of Longhorn Nation. In a world where ‘I left it on the field’ is infinite capital, Vaccaro is the global banker.

You can’t question his football IQ. You can’t question his passion. You can’t question his explosiveness. You really can’t question anything about Kenny Vaccaro the football player. Can you?

The ultimate compliment I can give a safety is “he tracks, he smacks.”

Sounds like Kenny F****** Powers, doesn’t it?

Favorite KV moment: This one is private. Only one hundred people witnessed it. While at a practice before the 2010 season Kenny filled the flat. And by that I mean, a player yelled “DAAAAAAMMMMMN KENNNNEY!” as he hit his teammate. What’s instructive is, the player said this as Vaccaro hit his teammate, not after. What does that tell you? They already expected hits like that. And they would keep coming.

Thank you, Kenny Vaccaro.

 

 

 

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