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Texas OT Tristan Nickelson suffers an ankle injury in practice

The ankle injuries to starting offensive linemen are piling up for the ‘Horns.

Tristan Nickelson
Texas athletics

With starting center Zach Shackelford already out with an ankle injury, the Texas Longhorns suffered another blow on Tuesday when junior right tackle Tristan Nickelson went down with his own ankle injury, according to Orangebloods and confirmed by Horns247.

The latter site believes that Nickelson, like Shackelford, will be healthy once again by September 4, when the Longhorns open the season against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Until then, freshman Denzel Okafor is likely to receive reps with the first team. Fellow freshman Patrick Hudson may get some, too.

The 6’9, 309-pound Nickelson has been a revelation in fall camp, taking over the starting right tackle position to allow senior Kent Perkins to slide inside to his more natural position of guard.

The rise of the junior college product truly started during the summer, however, as he worked to move beyond a poor performance in the Orange and White game. Nickelson was ultimately able to reshape his body to the extent that he won five of the six heavyweight titles in the “Battle for the Belts” conditioning challenge.

“He’s a beast,” said offensive line coach Matt Mattox at the start of fall camp. “The thing you love about Tristan is his mindset that he’s not going to get beat. That’s how he attacks it.

“He’s gotten his body right and we had exit meetings in the spring about what he needed to get done in the summer and he did a great,” he added. “Again, it goes back to the mental approach of not wanting to get beat.”