The tough luck for the Texas Longhorns could be continuing with reports from Inside Texas and then Orangebloods on Friday that running back/wide receiver Daje Johnson and offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle will miss the Alamo Bowl against the Oregon Ducks. Horns247 later provided further confirmation.
While injuries have been the primary cause for Texas starters to miss games this season -- head coach Mack Brown has been saying that the team has lost eight of its top 10 players -- the expected losses of Johnson and Estelle are reportedly due to academics.
And since Estelle has been in good standing with the coaches, as long as he can get back on the right academic track, he should be back with the team for the 2014 season as a junior, when he should once again at least compete for a starting position after taking over at right tackle Josh Cochran during the Ole Miss game when Cochran left with a shoulder injury from which he is yet to return.
Johnson, on the other hand, is another story altogether -- the sophomore has already been suspended twice during his career for unspecified violations of team rules, the first time before even starting his career in burnt orange, as he was suspended for the 2012 season opener, and then the second time for the Texas Tech game, though he was reinstated for the season finale against Baylor.
The team's fastest player has over 550 all-purpose yards this season in nine games, including the punt return for a touchdown that helped consolidate momentum in the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma, but may be on the way out of the program unless the new coaching staff that will be in place for the spring semester wants to keep him around because of his game-breaking ability.
Since Texas just missed on JUCO speedster Tyreek Hill, who visited officially for the banquet but signed with Oklahoma State, and since the spinal injury to Newton's Kevin Shorter might end his football career, the loss of Johnson would represent a significant one for the 2014 team, even if the Pflugerville Hendrickson product hasn't been able to produce as many explosive plays since returning from the ankle injury he suffered against BYU.
In the end, it looks like Brown's last season in Austin may well be defined mostly by the attrition that has cost all those starters due to injury and may have claimed two more for reasons the players could actually control.