Before the Texas Longhorns kick off against the Iowa State Cyclones on Friday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, the program will recognize 16 players, largely comprised of the senior class recruited by head coach Tom Herman when he first arrived on the Forty Acres, along with three graduate transfers and the three fifth-year senior holdovers from the Charlie Strong era.
Here’s the list of players who will receive recognition:
- Wide receiver Tarik Black
- Tight end Cade Brewer
- Safety Chris Brown
- Quarterback Sam Ehlinger
- Offensive lineman Matt Frost
- Defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham
- Linebacker Russell Hine
- Offensive guard Tope Imade
- Wide receiver Kai Jarmon
- Linebacker Cort Jaquess
- Defensive end Jacoby Jones
- Center Derek Kerstetter
- Defensive tackle John Lilly
- Offensive guard Denzel Okafor
- Wide receiver Brenden Schooler
- Running back Gabriel Watson
Players like Jaquess, the former walk on who earned a scholarship last year, have remaining eligibility — Jaquess is currently a fourth-year junior. Frost is a sophomore who joined the program as a preferred walk on in 2018.
With the eligibility waiver put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, all 16 of those players had the potential to return next season. Last week, Herman said that he won’t have those conversations with players until next month, but players that walk on Senior Day typically do not return the next season.
Meanwhile, the absence of running back Daniel Young and defensive end Marqez Bimage, both seniors who opted out this season due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, suggests that those two players will indeed return next year.
For Herman, the most emotional moments will likely come when he greets his senior class, led by Ehlinger, who now has a Senior Bowl invitation.
“The senior class is extremely special to me and to our program. To see guys like Sam Ehlinger and Sam Cosmi and Derek Kerstetter and Ta’Quon Graham — and the list goes on and on — in DKR for the last time in their career, pretty special and pretty emotional considering the things that those guys have accomplished,” Herman said.
All four of those players mentioned by Herman are captains. After three straight losing seasons, those players helped form a nucleus under Herman that has won three straight bowl games and played for a conference championship in 2018. As a whole, the senior class has started 150 games at Texas and appeared in 332 games overall.
“From where this program was when they got here to where it is now, the things that they’ve accomplished, not just in the previous three years, but that they’re accomplishing currently in the season of 2020, just really proud of them and excited to hopefully send them off with a very happy memory of Senior Day,” Herman said.
In addition to celebrating Senior Day on Friday, Texas will also unveil the 11-foot bronze statue of Jullius Whittier, who was the first Black letterman in school history. The statue was commissioned in July as part of president Jay Hartzell’s campus-wide initiative to promote diversity, inclusion, and equality.