It's all because of Muschamp. Well, maybe not all of it. But rest assured that Sergio Kindle and Lamarr Houston deciding to return for their senior seasons has more to do with Muschamp ($) than any other football factors. Sure, Kindle and Houston will both earn their degrees next fall, with Houston the first of his four siblings to get a college degree, and Kindle wants to graduate to get his T-ring. Additionally, Brian Orakpo passed on his leadership role on the defense to Kindle and Houston and expects them to step up and take over the team next year. Hey, as big as Kindle and Houston are, even they don't want a disappointed Orakop coming around and asking them to explain failure.
In the end, money was an important factor, and Muschamp fits into that equation because he's the one who is going to scheme them to success and the fortune to follow. Here's Muschamp's sales pitch, according to Kindle:
Basically, he just laid out the numbers I can make this year compared to next year. He talked about the schemes for next year, and the possibility for our team to get to the Big 12 championship and the national championship with the players that we have coming back.
In terms of roles, Muschamp says that Kindle will get more work at the defensive end position in the spring because of the lack of depth there. After being unable to participate in offseason workouts last year, Kindle says the "sky is the limit" for what he can accomplish through hard work during the spring and summer leading up to his senior year. For Houston, he will have another year of experience and strength training at defensive tackle, and if he can avoid the nagging injuries that plagued him for most of his junior season, expect big things from him as well.
Devon Kennard set back in decision-making process. With former USC defensive coordinator Nick Holt leaving for Washington, the promotion of Rocky Seto to defensive coordinator and the hiring of Jethro Franklin as defensive line coach, defensive end Devon Kennard is stepping back from the process to re-evaluate ($), pushing his decision likely back to Signing Day. A commitment to USC seemed imminent in the recent weeks, but if Darrell Scott is any evidence, the new position coach could tilt the scales in favor of the Longhorns. Could, that is, but may not, since Franklin is a long-time friend of Kennard's father, Derek, a former offensive lineman for the Saints. Also in Franklin's favor is his recent experience in the NFL, coaching defensive lineman for the Houston Texans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, though he was fired from both jobs.
Of course, family connections played a key role in Scott's eventual commitment to Colorado, so maybe this situation doesn't end up favoring the Longhorns in the end at all. Some Longhorn fans are distressed about Kennard taking his in-home visit from Pete Caroll during the Fiesta Bowl, but Kennard says he recorded the game to watch it later and has seen Texas play and practice already. At least Texas fan are used to bad news leading up to and on Signing Day.
Transfer season is upon us. Despite rumors of an impending transfer, DJ Monroe plans to enroll for the spring semester in attempts to become eligible for football season next year. John Chiles and Mack Brown spoke, with Chiles deciding he wants to stay full-time at quarterback, where he will get all his reps in spring and fall practice. Rumors about Sherrod Harris leaving persisted for the second year in a row because of the logjam at quarterback, but Harris is reportedly staying in the program ($) as well after discussing the situation with his family. Defensively, there isn't as much depth, so the likely transfer candidates are all on the offensive side of the ball, unless you think Ben Wells might want out after getting little playing time, but that seems unlikely, since he and Christian Scott will compete for Blake Gideon's position.
That leaves crowded depth charts at the following positions on offense: Running back, wide receiver, tight end, and guard. There will be eight players competing for the two guard spots next season, although Britt Mitchell was worked some at short-yardage tight end, a position he may continue to work out next year with the graduation of Peter Ullman. Expect one player to leave from that position.
There will be seven scholarship running backs next season, including Antwan Cobb, who's more of a fullback by trade. Mostly likely to leave is Tre' Newton, although he received some buzz from coaches in the workouts leading up to the Fiesta Bowl, perhaps making Jeremy Hills a more likely candidate to transfer. Vondrell McGee didn't play at all in the Fiesta Bowl, so he may be considering his options, since Chris Whaley could cut into his playing time.
Eight scholarship players occupy the tight end position, although movement there is likely. Greg Smith will probably return to working at center or guard, but might continue in a short-yardage tight end role with Britt Mitchell. Ahmard Howard was moved from defensive end after the injuries during fall practice and is a candidate to move back. Trey Graham will probably redshirt, but that could mean that Ian Harris or Josh Marshall decide to move on after finding themselves on the outside looking in. Blaine Irby might not be able to play next year, though, which decreases the pressure on Harris and Marshall to assess their place in the program until after next year.
Wide receiver is the most likely position to see attrition, and soon. There are 11 (!) wide receivers who will be on scholarship next season, a number that seems way too high. Montre Webber and Philip Payne are the two players who have been passed on the depth chart by younger guys and have only seen limited action the last two years playing on the same unit as John Chiles. Neither of them are likely to ever start or find themselves in the rotation for Texas and are probably best served by finding somewhere they can play. The other player on the outside looking in is probably Brock Fitzhenry, who has the speed to enter consideration as a player who might end up being productive, but with Desean Hales competing for playing time at the same position and in the same class, Fitzhenry doesn't look like he will ever play at Texas, making him a possible candidate as well.
All in all, none of the possible defections I mentioned would cripple or even set back the Texas football program, so there is nothing in particular to worry about or obsess over in terms of potential transfers.
Mims update. Stony Point defensive end Tevin Mims will take his official visit to the Texas campus this weekend, where he will likely receive his scholarship offer. All indications are that Mims will probably commit on the spot, but he has not received his offer yet and despite some rumors, has not yet committed.