Before Friday’s game against the Kansas State Wildcats, the Texas Longhorns will recognize 29 members of the senior class, honoring a group that has been through a lot on the Forty Acres — as many as three head coaching changes for some of them, a global pandemic, a racial justice movement, heartbreaking losses, and the tragic death of their teammate Jake Ehlinger.
“As I said post game, this week is about celebrating our seniors. They’ve given a lot to the university. They’ve given a lot to this program. They’ve been through a lot,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said on Monday.
The players scheduled to receive recognition are linebacker Ayodele Adeoye, wide receiver Kartik Akkihal, running back Skyler Bonneau, tight end Cade Brewer, punter Ryan Bujcevski, nose tackle Keondre Coburn, edge Ben Davis*, kicker Cameron Dicker, cornerback Darion Dunn*, safety B.J. Foster, offensive lineman Rafiti Ghirmai, offensive lineman Tope Imade*, edge Jacoby Jones*, long snapper Chandler Kelehan, offensive tackle Derek Kerstetter*, long snapper Justin Mader, wide receiver Kai Money, offensive guard Denzel Okafor*, defensive back Tremayne Prudhomme, safety Brenden Schooler*, linebacker Carlton Smith, running back Jarrett Smith, defensive back Turner Symonds, cornerback Josh Thompson, edge Ray Thornton*, running back Gabe Watson*, wide receiver Travis West, wide receiver Al’Vonte Woodard, and running back Daniel Young.
(* denotes players who took advantage of their extra season of eligibility in 2021)
The group includes super seniors who returned for their extra season of college football — the so-called COVID year — and players who have decided to move on, like three scholarship players on special teams in Bujcevski, Dicker, and Mader, as well as former walk-on Kai Money.
The most notable names on the list are the players who have decided to give up eligibility. Adeoye, Coburn, Foster, Ghirmai, Thompson, and Woodard all fit into that category. Coburn and Thompson are both potential late-round draft picks if they decide to declare, but Foster is less likely to hear his name called. Ghirmai and Woodard fit int the category of non-contributors who may enter the NCAA transfer portal.
A handful of fourth-year players are not on the list — quarterback Casey Thompson, offensive guard Junior Angilau, linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, defensive tackle Moro Ojomo, nickel back Anthony Cook, and cornerback D’Shawn Jamison. The fact that they aren’t currently schedule to participate in Senior Day activities doesn’t necessarily mean they intend to come back next season, but it does leave open the possibility for each of those players.
[Friday 11:07 a.m. Central update]: Overshown and Jamison did receive recognition before the game, but Coburn did not.