When legendary Texas Longhorns linebacker Tommy Nobis passed away last December at the age of 74, head coach Tom Herman and his staff made the decision to honor the memory of Nobis by choosing a player to wear his No. 60 in the Texas Bowl.
Though that No. 60 was retired by the Longhorns, former standouts like Derrick Johnson, Dusty Renfro, and Britt Hager had all worn the number in the past, so Herman met with his staff and talked to Lynn Nobis about their proposition.
The staff eventually settled on defensive end Breckyn Hager, the player on the current team who most embodies the example set by Nobis during his time in burnt orange and white.
“It’s going to be a special night with our guys wearing a number 60 helmet decal and having a Longhorn legacy player like Breckyn, whose father Britt wore the number during his All-American career, in a 60 jersey for this game,” Herman said before the game. “We join everyone in paying tribute to a beloved Longhorn and a great man.”
Since Hager grew up hearing about Nobis from his father, he took the responsibility seriously.
“It is a huge honor to have the chance to wear Tommy Nobis’ number 60 on Wednesday night,” Hager said after finding out. “Growing up, my dad constantly talked about Nobis being the standard of Texas football, and also the importance of the 60 jersey that he wore so proudly throughout his career. Mr. Nobis set the standard at The University of Texas and I am truly honored to have the chance to wear it in honor of him and his family during the Texas Bowl.”
After starting at defensive end, Hager finished the game with four tackles, including a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
In March, Texas advisor and former interim athletics director Mike Perrin, who was a teammate of Nobis for one season, took Lynn Nobis on a tour of the football facilities before Hager presented her with a game jersey in an emotional moment in Herman’s office.