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The Five Biggest Surprises Of 2006: #5 - Scott Derry

2006 had its fair share of disappointment, no doubt, but there were a lot of exciting surprises for Texas fans, as well. When you talk about the best surprises of the '06 season, you simply have to include Scott Derry in the conversation. Not a single person predicted Derry would play such a critical role on this year's squad, and as nightmarish as the linebacking play was this season, Derry was, relatively speaking, a savior.

Derry played as a reserve in 11 games as a redshirt freshman before missing his entire sophomore season to a severe ankle injury. After injuries and inexperience plagued this year's group, Derry was given every opportunity to succeed and he made the most of it. He wound up starting in ten of Texas' thirteen games, earned an "Honorable Mention" on the All Big 12 team, while finishing with 63 tackles, six tackles for loss, a sack, and a forced fumble.

Derry's not the speediest guy in the locker room, but he plays hard and has a pretty good nose for the ball. As bad as the linebacker play was overall this season, it's frightening to think just how low things could have sunk without Derry rising to the occasion.