The Texas Longhorns will be without two freshman linebackers for Tuesday’s Alamo Bowl against the Utah Utes, as the team announced on Monday that David Gbenda and Byron Vaughns were both sent home for a violation of team rules.
A 6’0, 220-pounder, Gbenda was not expected to play against Utah in order to preserve his redshirt — he appeared in four games this season and mostly played on special teams, but did appear on defense against Kansas and made one tackle. Due to injuries at the running back position, he briefly transitioned to offense early in the season.
On Friday, Gbenda received praise from head coach Tom Herman about his development during bowl practices.
“David Gbenda’s having a heck of a few days of practice,” Herman said. “He’s got a great motor.”
Vaughns redshirted last season before appearing in 10 games this year, mostly on special teams. He recorded 14 tackles, including eight tackles against Kansas in the most extensive action of his career on defense.
Without Gbenda and Vaughns, Texas will only have four linebackers available against Utah who were recruited as scholarship players.