AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 3: Cornerback Adrian Phillips #17 of the Texas Longhorns celebrates a fumble recovery against the Rice Owls on September 3, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Texas head coach Mack Brown didn't reveal which players would miss the spring due to surgeries during his post-season press conference, but sophomore defensive back Adrian Phillips let it slip on Twitter in a conversation with fellow defensive back Mykkele Thompson that he will undergo shoulder surgery on January 11th and miss 4-6 months.
Phlilips was a valuable part of the Longhorn secondary during his second season on the 40 Acres because of versatility -- he has the physicality to support the run from the safety position, but also has the speed and fluidity to cover receivers. During the 2011 season, Phillips recorded 39 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles.
And while it's never good for any players to miss valuable practice time, Phillips seems like a heady player even though he's still relatively young. In other words, he would be pretty low on a list of young players who could least afford to miss time.
Since Phillips will miss the spring, other young safeties like Thompson and Sheroid Evans will benefit from the increased reps and attention as they seek to break into the rotation with the departure of Blake Gideon, assuming that the ankle injury Thompson sustained in the Holiday Bowl is not so serious that he will miss time as well.