The first Big 12 Media Days of Tom Herman’s tenure as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns is set to get underway on July 18 and according to the Austin American-Statesman, he’ll be bringing a few familiar faces with him to Frisco, as Connor Williams, P.J. Locke, Naashon Hughes and Michael Dickson are set to attend.
Texas will bring Connor Williams, P.J. Locke III, Naashon Hughes & Michael Dickson to Big 12 Media Days. UT goes on Tuesday, July 18 #HookEm— Danny Davis (@aasdanny) July 6, 2017
A two-day event featuring press conferences, interviews and photoshoots with the coaches and players in attendance, Hughes will serve as the lone Longhorns senior this time around after Charlie Strong brought Caleb Bluiett, Dylan Haines, Kent Perkins and Paul Boyette Jr. last year.
Here’s a bit about each of the four players that will accompany Herman in just under two weeks:
- Connor Williams — If the 2017 season goes as planned, Williams’ appearance at The Star on July 18 will serve as the unofficial beginning of what’s expected to be his final season on the Forty Acres. A Preseason All-American and widely considered a future first round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Williams had considerably exceeded expectations since arriving on campus as a three-star left tackle as part of the 2015 class. Williams was a reliable mass of man protecting Shane Buechele’s blindside in 2016, as his pass block efficiency rating of 98.2 after allowing just one sack in 423 opportunities is tied for best in the nation with Pitt’s Brian O’Neill, per Pro Football Focus.
- Naashon Hughes — Hughes enters the season as a fifth-year senior with hopes of finally breaking through as a key contributor under the guidance and scheme Todd Orlando is bringing to Austin. Hughes has recorded 111 career tackles. 16.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. After seeing his recordable productivity plummet to just 27 tackles last season after notching 57 as a sophomore, Hughes could be in store for a resurgence in a scheme that highlights versatility and freedom from the linebacking corps. He’s picked up some praise for his leadership this offseason.
- P.J. Locke III — If you’re betting the house on one Longhorn poised to breakout in 2017, Locke is your guy. Locke’s presence became more and more apparent as the season progressed and by the time his junior campaign concluded, the Beaumont native was a silver lining in the Longhorns’ secondary, boasting the lowest passer rating when targeted among all returning Big 12 cornerbacks at 48.9, per Pro Football Focus. He’s since done nothing but earn praise from Herman and the staff, whether it’s in the weight room, on the field or simply due to his personality, which prompted Herman to call home to thank Locke’s parents.
- Michael Dickson — A Ray Guy Award finalist from 2016 and the first ever Longhorn finalist for honors as the nation’s top punter, Dickson was among the few consistencies for Texas last season. After punting for a total of 3,079 yards and an average of 47.4 yards per punt in 2016, Dickson will enter 2017 as a favorite to secure the award he fell short of in 2016 as the nation’s premier punter.