The addition of JUCO transfer Donald Hawkins had a positive trickle-down effect on the rest of the offensive line, but the Friday announcement that junior offensive tackle Paden Kelley has given up football is a serious blow to the 'Horns.
Even though Kelley only started one game at Texas, his ability to provide solid contributions from the back-up tackle position looked to be invaluable to a team desperately trying to build depth on the outside.
Kelley will stay at Texas to finish his degree and had this to say about his decision:
After talking with my family and the UT staff, I have made the decision to take a step back from football in order to focus on family and other priorities in my life outside of athletics. I am abundantly thankful to Coach [Mack] Brown, the rest of the coaches and the team for the tremendous opportunity and experiences I've had during my time as a Longhorn, and I look forward to starting a new chapter in my life.
Suspended at one point for violations of team rules, it's not clear why exactly Kelley decided to give up the game, especially given that he should have contributed in an important role in 2012.
In any case, the result is that senior Luke Poehlmann will have to elevate his game, as well as incoming freshmen like Kennedy Estelle, who had been slated for a redshirt season prior to Kelley's decision.
Depth at tackle could have a major negative impact on the team if a starter sustains an injury -- the margin of error was low to begin with and Kelley bailing on the football team only decreases it.