I was sitting here flipping the channels on this rainy morning waiting for college football to get going and I took a pit stop on the Longhorn Network. On this day, 11 years ago, Texas beat Colorado 70-3 in the Big 12 Championship game in Houston, so naturally LHN was re-playing that very game.
As I sat there watching, the few minutes I planned to stay on the channel turned into half-an-hour. And the more I watched, the more I was reminded at just how much talent was on that national championship team.
I mean, it was SILLY how much talent was on that team. I went back and pulled up that roster and just started cracking up. Seriously, that team was looooaaaddeeddd.
Just look for yourselves - I’ve listed some of the notable players below.
- Vince Young (JR)
- Matt Nordgren (SR)
- Colt McCoy (FR) - sat for his redshirt season
At the time, not many of us knew much about some 3-star freshman quarterback named Colt McCoy. It was the Vince Young-show then, and that’s all we cared about.
- Jamaal Charles (FR)
- Romance Taylor (SO)
- Selvin Young (JR)
- Chris Ogbannaya (RS FR)
- Ahmard Hall (SR)
- Henry Melton (FR) - also played DE
- Scott Ballew (JR) - walk-on, but was a stud for Westlake in Austin
- Antwaun Hobbs (JR)
Overall, this was easily the deepest group of running backs Texas has ever had on its roster at one time. Just an embarrassment of riches.
- Quan Cosby (FR)
- Limas Sweed (SO)
- Billy Pittman (SO)
- Brian Carter (SR)
- Nate Jones (SO)
- Jordan Shipley (RS FR)
This Texas team didn't even need Jordan Shipley this season. If I’m not mistaken, he had some injury issues he was dealing with at the time. Also, Billy Pittman is one of the better former Texas receivers that doesn’t really get brought up often.
- David Thomas (SR)
- Jermichael Finley (FR) - redshirt year
David Thomas did it all. Coach Herman, please use a tight end in the receiving game.
- Justin Blalock (JR)
- Kasey Studdard (JR)
- Lyle Sendlein (JR)
- Jonathan Scott (SR)
- Tony Hills (SO)
- Will Allen (SR)
- Adam Ulatoski (FR) - sat as a redshirt
- Cedric Dockery (RS FR)
- Chris Hall (FR)
- Charlie Tanner (FR)
I’m pretty sure all of these guys played in the NFL at one point or another. To really get back to being any sort of contender, this new coaching staff at Texas has to continue to develop current linemen but also continue to get more talent on the offensive line.
- Frank Okam (SO)
- Rod Wright (SR)
- Roy Miller (FR)
- Larry Dibbles (SR)
- Derek Lokey (SO)
The hope is the current Longhorns roster has some future stars at defensive tackle that were freshmen this past season. This group from 2005 was pretty stout.
- Brian Orakpo (RS FR)
- Brian Robison (JR)
- Tim Crowder (JR)
- Henry Melton (FR) - also got carries at RB
- Aaron Lewis (FR)
Pick your poison... One of the most talented groups of defensive ends Texas ever had at one time? Maybe THE best?
- Robert Killebrew (SO)
- Aaron Harris (SR)
- Rashad Bobino (RS FR)
- Roddrick Muckelroy (FR)
- Drew Kelson (SO) - hybrid LB/Safety at this time
- Scott Derry (SO)
Aside from kicker/punter, this position group was probably the weakest on the team yet it was still solid and held its own.
- Cedric Griffin (SR)
- Aaron Ross (JR)
- Tarell Brown (JR)
- Ryan Palmer (RS FR)
- Brandon Foster (SO)
- Michael Griffin (JR)
- Michael Huff (SR)
- Marcus Griffin (SO)
The Texas defense truly won’t be elite until it has at least one safety playing at the level the “Michael’s” played at during their time as Longhorns. They both led the team in tackles that 2005 season and were ballhawks.
- Richmond McGee (SR)
- David Pino (SR)
- Ryan Bailey (FR)
Luckily, Texas won most of its games by double digit points and didn’t need to punt too often.
When I compare the current Texas roster to the one from 2005, it’s clear the current Longhorns still have work to do in getting more talent back into this football program. We also see that when we compare this roster to the rosters of the late 2000’s during Colt McCoy’s reign at Texas.
Don’t get me wrong, Coach Strong did a great job of getting this train moving in the right direction again with the recruiting classes he pulled in. Thanks to him, there’s a lot to like about the potential many of these players that were freshmen and sophomores this past season have moving forward. They just need to be developed.
But in order for Texas to get back to the elite program we all enjoyed during the first 10 or so years of the 2000’s under Mack Brown, Coach Herman and his staff still have work to do on the recruiting front. And that reality is why I am a huge fan of Herman’s plans to expand the Texas personnel staff during his time on the 40 Acres.
As for today, if you get a chance to watch that Big 12 Conference Championship game from 2005, sit and stay for a while. While you watch, just appreciate the recruiting job Mack Brown and his staff did to put together that roster. Texas really was a recruiting machine during those glory years under Mack.