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Texas Men’s Basketball: Rodney Terry Continues to Impress Amid Kansas Loss

Feb 6, 2023; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Texas Longhorns interim head coach Rodney Terry watches play against the Kansas Jayhawks during the first half at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been an interesting road for Texas Men’s Basketball Head Coach Rodney Terry to be in the spot he is now. A month or two ago, I wrote an article on Coach Terry regarding his background, former schools he coached at etc. and now aim to discuss the keys to his and the team's success this season. 
Coach Terry took over as, at the time, Acting Head Coach on December 12th, just hours before the Longhorns played against Rice. The game, at least to me, felt awkward and almost like something was off. It seemed that everyone in the Moody Center was affected by the Chris Beard situation that took place earlier that morning, and even among this eerie feeling, Coach Terry led the 'Horns to an 87-81 victory: his first of many more to come this season. Since that game, the Longhorns are 11-4 overall and 8-3 in Big 12 Conference play. As it stands currently, the Big 12 has 6 teams ranked in the Associated press Top-25: Texas at 5, Kansas at 9, Iowa State at 11, Kansas State at 12, Baylor at 14, and TCU at 17. 
The key to success, from my perspective, for Coach Terry and the staff is that they all seem to understand their roles. Last season, the team relied on forward Timmy Allen and guard Marcus Carr night-in and-night out to be the primary scorers and offensive leaders. While these two players are playing at a high-caliber level this season, the team overall has a bit of a different identity to it. With every new game comes a new player who steps up and performs when the team needs it most or when other players are struggling. Against Oklahoma State a few weeks ago, forward Brock Cunningham put up a career-high 15 points in the Longhorns' 89-75 victory. Against Baylor on January 30th, guard Sir’Jabari Rice had 21 points off the bench in the Longhorns 76-71 victory, while going 4-5 on 3 PT attempts and 7-8 on FT attempts. Against Kansas State, forward Christian Bishop played 26 minutes off the bench and had 14 points along with 6 rebounds (5 offensive) and 2 steals. All season long Rodney Terry has emphasized teamwork and relying on each other… and it’s been evident in the play of his team. Back in January, at a media availability, Terry said that “there are things that you are going to go through all the time that you are not going to be prepared for and you’re not ready for, and you have to move forward and you have to try to stay the course.” This motto appears to reign true as the Longhorns have had multiple double-digit comeback wins this year, with the biggest being the 14-point first-half deficit they erased against Kansas State  
Even after their loss to 9th-ranked Kansas on Monday night (February 6th), the Longhorns still hold first place in the Big 12 standings. The immensely tough stretch of the schedule has now come to an end for the Longhorns as well, with their next 3 games coming against (currently) unranked teams West Virginia, Texas Tech and Oklahoma. It will be interesting to see how Coach Terry goes about these games and potentially giving some of his starters, such as Marcus Carr with around 32 minutes per game and Tyrese Hunter with roughly 30, some rest if they grab a big enough lead in any of the upcoming matchups. 
Overall, Rodney Terry has stepped into a role full of pressure and expectations and has appeared to deliver. There are still many games to be played and goals to be hit, but if the Longhorns keep playing the way they do, this team has a chance to make a serious run come March.

Longhorns baseball starts season with tie versus Texas alumni

On Saturday, the Longhorns kicked off their season festivities by hosting their annual alumni baseball game. While the current roster started off the game on a high note, the alumni made things interesting late and ended up settling the score in a 4-4 tie.
Taking the mound as the starting pitcher for the Longhorns was redshirt junior Zane Morehouse, who went four innings allowing only one earned run. However, despite the fact that this year's team produced four runs offensively, alumni Duke Ellis had the game's highlight moment when he blasted a solo shot to right-center field in the top of the fourth inning which started the alumni team's scoring action. From there, the alumni eventually evened up the game at 4 apiece in the top of the sixth inning, finalizing the game's offensive output.
Now, Longhorns fans can prepare to watch Texas's first official game of the baseball season which is scheduled for February 17th against Arkansas in Arlington's Globe Life Field - home of the Texas Rangers.

Longhorns hire Jahmal Fenner as Director of High School Relations

On the 23rd of January, the Longhorns announced that former Austin LBJ head coach Jahmal Fenner was hired as the team's new director of high school relations.
As a high school football coach at Austin LBJ, Fenner led the Jaguars to a state title appearance in 2021, making them the first Austin ISD team to make it to the championship game since 1973.
Fenner will be tasked with replacing Chris Gilbert, who has accepted the job of becoming both UNT's assistant head coach and tight end coach.

Texas Football 2023 Big 12 Schedule Released

Photo: Mikala Compton/American-Statesman / USA TODAY
The 2023 Big 12 Conference Football Schedule was released on Tuesday, incorporating the four new member programs of the conference (BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston).  Originally scheduled to face West Virginia, Iowa State, TCU and Baylor on the road, the Longhorns will keep away games against Baylor, TCU and Iowa State but lose the trip to Morgantown in favor of a trip to the Bayou City to face the Houston Cougars. 
Nonconference opponents remain intact, with Texas opening its season on September 2 by hosting the Rice Owls, followed by a trip to Tuscaloosa to play the Crimson Tide (September 9) and then back home to host the Wyoming Cowboys (September 16).
The four teams the Longhorns will not face in-conference next season are the West Virginia Mountaineers, Cincinnati Bearkats, University of Central Florida Golden Knights and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Here's a look at the newly released Texas Longhorns 2023 Big 12 football schedule.
DATE OPPONENT LOCATION 9/2/2023 Rice Austin, TX 9/9/2023 @Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 9/16/2023 Wyoming Austin, TX 9/23/2023 @Baylor Waco, TX 9/30/2023 Kansas Austin, TX 10/7/2023 *Oklahoma Dallas, TX 10/14/2023 BYE WEEK BYE WEEK 10/21/2023 @Houston Houston, TX 10/28/2023 BYU Austin, TX 11/4/2023 Kansas State Austin, TX 11/11/2023 @TCU Fort Worth, TX 11/18/2023 @Iowa State Ames, IA 11/24/2023 Texas Tech Austin, TX *Cotton Bowl - Dallas, TX
Full conference schedule can be found below (photo credit @Big12Conference)


Sir'Jabari Rice's 21 points lead #10 Longhorns to victory over #11 Baylor

Jan 30, 2023; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns guard Sir'Jabari Rice (10) reacts after a victory over the Baylor Bears at Moody Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Interim Head Coach Rodney Terry improved his record to 11-3 on the season on Monday night as the 10th ranked Texas Longhorns (18-4, 7-2) defeated a red hot #11 Baylor (16-6, 5-4) team 76-71 at Moody Center.
Grad transfer Sir'Jabari Rice led the Longhorns in scoring, with 15 of his 21 points coming in the second half, including four three-pointers.  The Longhorns took a 38-36 lead into the half, shooting 53.8% from the floor to Baylor's 38.9%.  While Texas held the lead for most of the game, Baylor kept it close in the second half,  climbing within one point of Texas (72-71) with :50 left on the game clock.
A clutch jumper by Marcus Carr and two free throws by Sir'Jabari Rice after being fouled by Flo Thamba (fouled out) extended the Longhorns' lead 76-71 with :15 left.  
Adam Flager's missed 3-pointer was rebounded by Rice, who was able to run out the clock and seal the Longhorns' victory.
The Longhorns are now 4-0 in games against Top 20 opponents at Moody Center this season.
Game Notes
Texas snapped a six game skid to the Bears with the victory on Monday night The Longhorns' bench players outscored Baylor's 30-6 Timmy Allen contributed 18 points (13th time in double digits this season) Tyrese Hunter had 13 points and 3 steals in the win Texas improved to 7-2 in Big 12 play, their best start since the 2013-2014 season With the Longhorns' win and Iowa State's loss to Texas Tech, the Longhorns sit in first place in the Big 12, half a game ahead of Kansas State  

2023 Texas Baseball Primer

There will be a lot of new faces for Texas Baseball this year, but the expectations remain high for a program coming off their 38th trip to the College World Series. The 2022 Longhorns opened the year as the unanimous #1 team in the country. The 2023 squad has seen their preseason ranking anywhere from the 20-25 range to unranked in many publications.
Let's take a look at what to expect from the Longhorns in 2023.
The Returners (Position Players)
The Longhorns will be replacing Ivan Melendez, Trey Faltine, Murphy Stehly, Skyler Messinger, Douglas Hodo, Austin Todd and Silas Ardoin in the lineup. The lone returners who saw significant action at the plate in 2022 are Mitchell Daly, Dylan Campbell and Eric Kennedy. Daly will be entering his 3rd season as a starter and will likely be making the move to SS this season to replace Faltine. 2022 was not kind to Daly, as he finished the season with a .237 average with 4 homers and 37 RBI's. The glove has never been a question, but his offense will need to step forward in 2023. Perhaps the most intriguing player on the Texas roster is Campbell, who came on strong in the back half of the 2022 season and hit .325 in Big 12 play. He finished the year with 10 homers and 14 stolen bases. He will likely open this season as the starting RF and bat in the middle of the lineup. Kennedy opted to return for his 5th season at Texas instead of starting his professional career. He has 166 career starts and hit an even .300 in 2022 despite missing time with a hamstring injury. Kennedy and Campbell have the ability to combine for 40+ steals if both remain healthy. 
Jack O'Dowd, Ace Whitehead and Peyton Powell combined to start only 9 games in 2022 but all 3 figure to take on bigger roles this upcoming season. O'Dowd is a strong contender to win the starting 2B job with Daly sliding over to SS. Whitehead is another speedy OF who showed good contact skills in limited duty last year (10 hits in 18 at bats). Powell has battled injuries throughout his time at Texas, but has been healthy throughout the fall and could factor in at catcher, first base or the outfield.
The Returners (Pitchers)
In addition to losing the bulk of their lineup, Texas is also having to replace Pete Hansen, Tristan Stevens, Jared Southard, Marcus Olivarez and Aaron Nixon on the mound. Lucas Gordon, who stepped into weekend rotation last season following Tanner Witt's injury, will be the Friday night starter this year. Gordon had an outstanding 2022 (7-2, 3.05 ERA, 77 strikeouts in 85.2 innings) and will look to take the next step as the ace of the staff. Zane Morehouse is a strong candidate for a weekend rotation spot after starting 6 games in 2022. Morehouse, who has flashed a mid 90's fastball and nice slider, has spent a lot of time this offseason working on his command after issuing 22 walks or HBP's in 39 innings last year.
Andre Duplantier and Lebarron Johnson Jr. are two other candidates who could work their way into the starting rotation. Duplantier returned to the mound last year after missing the 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery. He struggled at times throughout 2022 but pitched some big innings for Texas in the postseason. Johnson Jr. has an electric fastball that can sit in the upper 90's but has struggled with control (11 walks in 17 innings in 2022). He has been stretched out throughout the fall and could be in line for some work as a starter to begin the season.
Luke Harrison and Travis Sthele both seem likely to begin the season in the bullpen. Sthele, like Duplantier, was returning from Tommy John surgery last season and struggled with consistency. At his best, he is able to utilize his mid 90's fastball and a nice changeup. Harrison led the team in appearances last season (32) and will be used heavily as a left handed reliever. 
The real wildcard is Tanner Witt, who is about 9 months removed from Tommy John surgery. Witt has stated publicly that he hopes to pitch this season and Pierce mentioned that the righty is ahead of schedule in his recovery. It is not known when he might return to the mound, if at all.
The Portal Additions (Position Players)
The Longhorns brought in 3 transfer position players to help shore up the lineup. TCU transfer Porter Brown, who is a career .286 hitter with an OBP hovering around .400, is the favorite to be the everyday starter in LF. Brown has started 82 games in his career. USC transfer Garret Guillemete is a strong candidate to take over the catching duties after hitting .286 last year with the Trojans. Lastly, Long Beach State transfer Tanner Carlson will look to carve out a role in the everyday lineup after hitting .345 last year. Carlson can play 2B, SS and 3B.
The Portal/JUCO Additions (Pitchers)
Pitching was a huge focus for Texas this offseason after struggling with depth in 2022. The Longhorns welcomed 6 new pitchers from the portal or junior college ranks. The most notable is USC transfer Charlie Hurley, who stands 6'8 and started 13 games for the Trojans a year ago. Hurley has a fastball that can touch 93-94 and a nice curveball. He will push for a spot in the weekend rotation right away. 
In addition to Hurley, Texas also added LHP David Shaw (Rice), RHP Heston Tole (Arkansas), RHP Cody Howard (Baylor), LHP Chris Stuart (San Jacinto junior college) and RHP DJ Burke (San Jacinto junior college). Stuart is the most likely out of the group to push for time in the starting rotation. The lefty struck out 106 batters in 78.1 innings at San Jac in 2022. The other 4 will be competing for innings in the bullpen. Burke and Howard could both end up in the backend of the bullpen in high-leverage roles.
The Freshman (Position Players)
Texas added 7 position players in the 2022 signing class. The 3 most notable arrivals are Jalin Flores, Jared Thomas and Max Beyleu. Flores is the favorite to open the season as the starter at 3B and oozes potential. Thomas has seen a lot of reps at first base has a nice swing from the left side. Beyleu is another left handed hitter who can play in the OF or factor into the discussion at DH.
Jayden Duplantier (younger brother of Andre) and Cade O'Hara will serve as depth up the middle of the infield. Duplantier has outstanding speed and will be someone who can be used situationally late in games. Catcher Rylan Galvin is the catcher of the future with a ton of offensive potential and will likely get eased into action as the season progresses.
The Freshman (Pitchers)
RHP Kobe Minchey and RHP Max Grubbs are the two freshman most likely to see time on the mound.
The Coaches
David Pierce opted to completely remake his coaching staff following the 2022 season. He parted way with pitching coach Sean Allen and assistant Philip Miller was reassigned to an off-field role. In addition, volunteer assistant Troy Tulowitzki also chose to step away from his role with the program. Former Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez is the new hitting coach while 15-year MLB veteran Woody Williams was hired as the new pitching coach. Texas also hired former Duke pitching coach Chris Gordon as the coordinator of hitting and pitching development.

Texas MBB: Highlights, Heat and Holland

Photo:  Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
The Texas Men’s Basketball team is now 10-2 under head coach Rodney Terry. Their 75-89 win over Oklahoma State at the Moody Center on Tuesday night seemed to emphasize the “team first” style of basketball as four different Longhorns scored in double-digits, including Brock Cunningham who had a career-high 15 points (5-6 from the field, 3-3 on 3PT attempts ). Marcus Carr led the way in scoring with 21 points and the team shot over 61% from the 3 point line. The 'Horns will have a tough next few games as they travel to Tennessee to take on the 4th-ranked Volunteers, travel back home to face the 17th-ranked Baylor Bears, then head to the state of Kansas to take on 5th-ranked Kansas State and then the 9th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks (rankings subject to change by then). The Big-12 continues to show the rest of the NCAA how competitive they are. 
On Monday, guard Marcus Carr and forward Christian Bishop spoke to the media regarding their individual goals along with the team’s mindset as a whole so far this season. Summarizing Bishop’s availability, he said that he feels “like I have to be the defensive anchor… I [Bishop] feel like a physical force. Unguardable really.”  He spoke highly of freshman forward Dillon Mitchell and said that Mitchell “doesn’t play like a freshman to me at all." He was asked if the team hears comments pointed towards them about Chris Beard when playing on the road: “that’s old stuff for us… not even paying too much attention to that.” To summarize Carr, he feels like he “was gradually building up to the point where I [Carr] was being more aggressive anyways… coach is always telling me to stay aggressive and stay attacking” when asked about his growth and role in Coach Terry’s system. When asked about the Big-12 Conference, he said “it’s the best league in basketball right now… it’s been fun to see how we’ve grown and how we can be able to finish these games.” The quote of the day though? Carr said “no matter what, we are never out of it.” That statement seems to hold true, as the Longhorns only have 3 losses on the season up to this point. 
University of Texas 2023 5-star signee Ron Holland was named a McDonald's All-American earlier this week. Holland is a 6-8 forward from Duncanville who is ranked as the number 1 power forward in the nation, the number 1 recruit in the state AND is ranked as the 6th best player in the country. Holland will be the 23rd player in UT program history to play in the MAA game and is averaging, in his senior year, over 21 points and 9 rebounds per game. It seems as if Holland and Coach Terry have a strong relationship, as Coach Terry tweeted out a congratulatory photo and message with the future Longhorn, even though Holland did commit when Chris Beard was still Head Coach. All that being said, the future looks bright for this Texas Basketball team.

Report: Texas to hire Jaguars WR coach Chris Jackson

(Photo: USA Today)
Steve Sarkisian has reportedly found his new receivers coach. Mia O' Brien has reported that Jaguars WR coach Chris Jackson is expected to take the same position at Texas.
Jackson spent the 2022 season in Jacksonville after serving as the assistant WR coach for the Bears in 2020 and 2021. The Washington State alum played with Texas TE coach Jeff Banks in Pullman before spending 6 years in the NFL. 
Jackson will replace Brennan Marion, who left Texas to become the offensive coordinator at UNLV.  

Texas football's offseason priority: transfer portal needs

Photo Courtesy: Daniel Dunn - USA TODAY Sports
With the 2022 football season having come to a close, it is safe to say that Steve Sarkisian and his coaching staff are entrenched in preparing for next year. Having already made an impact on the high school football recruiting trail, currently being slated as the third-best class in the country, much of the offseason's focus will be on transfer targets who are ready to play immediately.
Of course, Longhorns fans are now familiar with the value of transfer portal additions, having seen recent additions Quinn Ewers and Ryan Watts play critical roles to the team's success on Saturdays. While the team has a formidable foundation currently (which will need to be further developed), there are several positions that will need to be the focus of the transfer portal - even after recent adds such as Jalen Catalon and Gavin Holmes.
Focus Areas:
Wide Receiver: Although the team is set to regain the services of Isaiah Neyor, who sustained a season-ending injury prior to the season-opener, the Longhorns are in desperate need of landing a reliable pass catcher. Thankfully for Longhorns fans, Jordan Whittington announced that he will be returning for another season and freshman phenom Johntay Cook II will compete for playing time early. However, the team proved that they lacked a reliable third receiver last season and the competition for this spot will be the one to watch. Defensive Front: Ironically enough, I would expect this to be a position of need even though the coaching staff made this group a focus of their recruiting efforts during the 2022 recruiting cycle. With several key players such as Keondre Coburn and Moro Ojomo declaring for the NFL Draft, the team will need someone who is ready to fill in the gaps up front immediately (even if the underclassmen are sprinkled in increasingly). Mix - Linebackers and Secondary: For the most part, these positions look to have a solid foundation of players that are primed to step up. However, with losses such as DeMarvion Overshown and D'Shawn Jamison, there are certainly headline names that are leaving the Forty Acres. As mentioned earlier, the coaching staff has already been quick to add pieces to the secondary, with Catalon and Holmes, however I would not be shocked to see another addition in the coming months. Meanwhile, at linebacker, with it appearing that Jaylan Ford will be returning next fall, the Longhorns should keep their eyes on adding anyone of high-caliber who is capable of filling in for the loss of Overshown. Also worth noting here, the Longhorns welcomed 2023 five-star linebacker Anthony Hill Jr. to the Forty Acres and the freshman will likely play a large role on the field next season.

Longhorns land Arkansas transfer S Jalen Catalon

On Monday, former Arkansas safety Jalen Catalon announced that he would be transferring to the University of Texas to continue his football career.
Heading into next fall, Catalon will embark on his fifth season of collegiate football. Following a tremendous upward trajectory during his years as an underclassman, including an All-SEC First Team honor in 2020 as a redshirt freshman, the defensive back has been mostly sidelined by injuries. In fact, after Catalon's 2020 campaign in which he tallied 99 tackles, 3 INTs and 2 FFs, the former Razorback has been limited to just seven games of action in the past two seasons.
Despite of Catalon's recent health issues, Texas's new transfer addition will be welcomed with open arms by the Longhorns coaching staff. After a season marked by improvement, building depth across the roster has to be Steve Sarkisian's priority this offseason. Additionally, if Catalon is able to regain form, it is quite possible that he could become one of the main leaders of the Longhorns defense next season. As a result, the transfer addition should be viewed as a low-risk, high-reward investment which, at a minimum, should improve the team's depth in the secondary.
Also worth noting, Catalon's commitment marks the defensive back's return to the state of Texas, where he was a standout at Mansfield Legacy before graduating in 2019.

Longhorns receive commitment from 2024 Cy-Fair QB Trey Owens

Cy-Fair High School (Houston, TX) quarterback Trey Owens became the third pledge in the Longhorns' 2024 recruiting class on Wednesday, joining Clear Lake athlete Hunter Moddon and Aledo defensive back Jaden Allen.  The 6-5, 210 lb. pro-style passer is a three-star prospect and is ranked as the 34th best prospect nationally at his position and the 69th best player in Texas, according to the 247 Sports Composite Rankings.
Owens received an offer from the Texas staff in November and has visited and attended camps on the 40 Acres on multiple occasions.  He holds offers from Texas Tech, SMU, SFA, Baylor, Rice, University of Houston, Tulsa, UTSA, and UCONN among others.
While National Signing Day for the '24 Class is still a ways away, Steve Sarkisian and AJ Milwee liked what they saw early on in Owens and were able to secure his commitment.  He has the arm strength and height/frame to be a success the next level, and look for more schools to offer as next season gets underway.
Owens threw for 3,058 yards and 34 touchdowns in 12 games last season for the Bobcats.
He will be back in Austin on January 21st for the Longhorns' Junior Day.

Christian Jones to return for 2023 season

Texas OT Christian Jones announced via instagram on Tuesday morning that he would be returning to Texas for his 6th season of eligibility. Jones started all 13 games at right tackle in 2022 and has 35 career starts.
The return of Jones means Texas will return all 5 starters along the offensive line and 10 of 11 starters on offense as a whole. 

"Control What You Can Control": 1/9 Men's Basketball Press Conference Takeaways

Today was the first media availability for the UT Men's Basketball team since the firing of HC Chris Beard. To start the presser, G Marcus Carr, F Brock Cunningham and F Timmy Allen (happy birthday) were asked a series of questions, mainly regarding the elephant in the room of Chris Beard's absence. The phrase and overall message of the day was "control what we can control". The players were asked about dealing with the Beard suspension/firing specifically and said there was an initial "shock and surprise" but that the team, according to Carr, has banded together. Cunningham added that "it's still our team" and said that they can "weather any storm" while the goals have remained the same. They were next asked what they missed most about coach Beard, the answer for Carr being his presence. He adds though that, as a team, the "expectations and standards are still the same". The players were asked if new HC Rodney Terry had somewhat of a "therapist" role and if the feeling around the team is more relaxed with him at the helm. Cunningham stated "different is a better word, but not relaxed by any means". Allen added that "we have a culture here, and that culture is going to stay...". Moving more towards basketball matters, the players mentioned the strong defensive practice they had after falling to Kansas State 116-103 last week before defeating Oklahoma State on Saturday 56-46 and said that HC Rodney Terry is a "defensive-minded coach". Marcus Carr, referencing the win against the Cowboys, stated "when we [Texas] get to the paint, we are a successful team" and says the paint is where they "thrive". Overall, I think Timmy Allen's quote at the end of their conference sums up the next few weeks for the Horns: "We are Texas, we are supposed to be used to the noise". 
Next, HC Rodney Terry took the stage. If you're wondering what he was mainly asked about, I am sure you could guess it yourself. Coach Terry was asked about that "therapist" role and said he is there to "help the young men grow" and that there are many different "hats" to wear as the head coach right now. The two big themes here were positivity and living in the moment. Throughout his conference, Terry reiterated how he likes to "live where his feet are", how this time in conference play is "a marathon, not a sprint" and how he "doesn't like negative energy". Terry also stated the importance of practice as the players "will never have anything harder than what you have to go through in practice". Being later asked about his next opponent in the TCU Horned Frogs, he said they "play fast in transition... force a lot of turnovers... put a lot of pressure on you at the basket". He was lastly asked about Chris Beard altogether and his involvement with the team, saying that "Chris will always be a brother to me... he wants this team to do special things... he doesn't want to be a distraction... but would love to throw some advice here or there". 
The Longhorns next take on TCU in Austin on Wednesday at 8 pm. 

WR Jordan Whittington Returning to Texas Next Season

Dec 29, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns wide receiver Jordan Whittington (4) runs the ball in the 2022 Alamo Bowl against the Washington Huskies at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Wide Receiver Jordan Whittington is set to return to Texas next season, as first reported by ESPN's Pete Thamel and confirmed by Whittington via his Twitter account.
Whittington, a 5-star prospect in the 2019 recruiting class, had his most productive season this year as a junior.  He started in 12 of Texas' 13 games and caught 50 passes for 652 yards with one touchdown.  In his first three seasons with the Longhorns, Whittington played in just 14 games due to injury and started in five of those tallying 600 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
His return would bolster a wide receiving corps that struggled at times down the stretch, but returns a cadre of players with tremendous experience and talent.

Texas fires Chris Beard

(Photo: USA Today)
Texas has fired men's basketball coach Chris Beard, the school announced on Thursday afternoon. Beard was previously suspended without pay on December 12th stemming from an incident at his home involving an arrest with domestic family violence.
Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte released the following statement on Beard's firing.
"The University of Texas has parted ways with Chris Beard. This has been a difficult situation that we’ve been diligently working through. Today I informed Mr. Beard of our decision to terminate him effective immediately.
We thank Coach Rodney Terry for his exemplary leadership both on and off the court at a time when our team needed it most. We are grateful he will remain the acting head coach for the remainder of the season.
We are proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, who throughout this difficult time have continued to make us proud to be Longhorns."
Beard's attorney, Perry Minton, released a statement of his own following the news.
According to correspondence between the University's Legal Affairs Department and Perry Minton, Chris Beard was given the opportunity to resign and avoid termination by the University. And it was emphasized that the University had no preference for the resignation or termination option relative to Beard.
The Longhorns, who are 12-2 this year and 1-1 in Big 12 play, will be led by Rodney Terry the rest of the season. The longtime assistant under Rick Barnes who returned to Austin with Beard last year is 5-1 as the acting head coach.
A copy of the formal letter termination notice sent via Certified Mail from Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte to Beard can be seen below.

Minton, Beard's attorney 

No. 20 Texas drops chances, falls 27-20 to No. 12 Washington

Photo Courtesy: Daniel Dunn - USA TODAY Sports
On Thursday, the Longhorns looked to shock the higher-ranked Washington Huskies in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, TX. Entering Thursday's contest with the nation's top-ranked passing offense, the Huskies were certain to give the Longhorns a challenge and they did just that. However, the Longhorns managed to claw their way back into a competitive battle, ultimately falling to the Huskies 27-20.
With weeks to prepare for the twelfth-ranked Huskies, the Longhorns entered this year's bowl contest with a few missing pieces - including star players Bijan Robinson, Roschon Johnson and DeMarvion Overshown, who all declared early for the NFL Draft. With these three cheering on their teammates from the sidelines, the Longhorns proved that they still could compete with one of the best teams in the country.
At quarterback for the Longhorns, Quinn Ewers looked to salvage what was left of this year after experiencing a regular season that was full of tumultuous ups and downs. Under the roof of the Alamodome, Ewers delivered - giving the Longhorns a chance time and time again with 369 passing yards and one touchdown. While there were some bumps in the road against Washington, Ewers gave his playmakers a shot to do just that - make plays. However, Thursday's contest will be remembered for the plethora of dropped passes that Texas receivers suffered, the biggest of which was a potential touchdown catch that wide receiver Xavier Worthy could not hold onto in the second half (one of at least three drops that the sophomore suffered on Thursday night).
Despite a number of disappointing moments for the Longhorns, their playmakers still fought to make things close. For example, despite of a performance that Xavier Worthy will most likely want back, the talented sophomore still caught seven passes for 84 yards, many of which came in crucial moments. Additionally, sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks made a couple of big plays for the burnt orange faithful, scoring two touchdowns in the absence of Bijan and Roschon. Furthermore, it was Brooks's second touchdown, which came with 9:50 remaining in the game, that gave the Longhorns a sense of hope as Washington's lead was cut to 27-17.
However, the Longhorns offense was far from consistent, thanks to the aforementioned dropped passes in addition to a dismal performance on the ground as well. In fact, the Washington defense held the Longhorns to just 51 rushing yards on 18 carries. Texas's two featured running backs, Keilan Robinson and Jonathon Brooks, actually tallied more yardage in the passing game than they were able to discover on the ground in their running lanes.
Although the offense had a frustrating outing, the Longhorns defense looked stout more often than not and certainly gave the team a chance. Moreover, the 27 points that the Longhorns allowed amounted to Washington's second-lowest scoring output of the season, only trailing Oregon State who held Washington to 24 points in a Huskies win.
Under center for Washington, junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. passed for 287 yards, two touchdowns and an interception but, most importantly, seemingly always found a way to move the sticks on third down. In this year's Alamo Bowl, the Huskies went 11-20 on third down conversions, a sizable advantage over Texas's 6-15 on third down tries.
Along with Penix, Huskies running back Wayne Taulapapa ended up being a difference maker thanks to his 108 rushing yards on 14 carries. The graduate student was able to keep his legs moving all night and found his way into the end zone on one occasion.
With the conclusion of Thursday's game, the Longhorns will ultimately have to settle for a record of 8-5 in 2022. When compared to last year's final record of 5-7, it is hard to ignore signs of improvement. However, Longhorns fans will have to wait until next season to see if Texas's winning ways will soon come crawling back.
Game Stats:
QB Quinn Ewers: 31/47, 359 passing yards, 1 TD RB Jonathon Brooks: 55 all-purpose yards, 2 TDs WR Casey Cain: 4 receptions, 108 receiving yards S Jerrin Thompson: 11 tackles, 1 INT LB Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey: 10 tackles LB Jaylan Ford: 10 tackles

Staff Predictions: #20 Texas vs. #12 Washington

Photo credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Texas Longhorns (8-4, 6-3 Big 12) close out the season against the Washington Huskies (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Thursday evening in San Antonio.  After a 5-7 season last year under first year head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Longhorns have an opportunity to notch 9 wins for the first time since the 2018 season.  The Longhorns return to a familiar bowl environment in San Antonio, where they have played five times before and gone 4-1 (Win – 2006, 2012, 2019, 2022; Loss – 2013).
Texas and Washington have met previously four times, with Texas holding a 3-1 record against the Huskies.
Will the 'Horns finish the season strong with a bowl win over Washington?
The HornSports Staff weighs in with their score prediction and thoughts on the game.
Jameson McCausland
It's really hard to predict bowl games because of all the extra stuff going on. Texas has 3 players sitting out to prepare for the NFL draft and it's easy to wonder how motivated the Longhorns will be playing in the Alamo Bowl for the 3rd time in 4 years. 
Washington is a really good team who has made huge strides in year 1 under Kalen DeBoer. Michael Penix is the real deal and Texas has shown to be leaky in the secondary at times this year. On the flip side, Washington is not very strong defensively and Texas should be able to move the football even without Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson.
I expect this to be a close game. Right now, Michael Penix is the more polished and experienced QB compared to Quinn Ewers, so I'll be taking the Huskies in what should be an exciting game.
Score Prediction: Washington 34, Texas 31
Aaron Carrara
Texas will be without several key contributors in this game which makes the task at-hand even more difficult against a really good Washington team. The Huskies have arguably the best offense in the country and Pete Kwiatkowski's defense will need to step up their play if the Longhorns want good things to happen on Thursday night.  The 'Horns secondary has been up and down this season, and their ability to limit big passes from Huskies quarterback Michael Penix will be the storyline in this year's Alamo Bowl.  If Quinn Ewers can connect with his receivers, particularly on deep routes, Texas has a chance to pull off the win. I like Texas to win IF they can win the turnover battle and get things clicking on the ground.  In the end Washington is simply too much offensively and Texas loses a close one.
Score Prediction: Washington 37, Texas 34
Ryan Swantkowski
The Horns have a tall task ahead of them as they take on the #12 ranked Washington Huskies in San Antonio on Thursday... without Bijan Robinson, Roschon Johnson, DeMarvion Overshown and others. That being said, Texas is still favored against the 10-2 Huskies, who have won 6 straight games. Let's take a quick look at both teams. 
For Texas offensively, missing their best player might have a bit of an impact. That being said, the young backs behind Robinson and Johnson like Keilan Robinson, Jonathan Brooks and Jaydon Blue are more than capable of making some big plays. That being said, Washington has a strong run defense. So, expect WR Xavier Worthy to be the focus point of the offense and look out for guys such as TE Ja'Tavion Sanders and WR Jordan Whittington against the somewhat lackluster Huskies secondary. For Washington, it starts and finishes with QB Michael Penix Jr.. Penix Jr. isn't afraid to throw the deep ball as he leads the league in deep attempts and has a combination of wide receivers who can do it all, especially Rome Odunze who has a 70/1088/7 stat line on the year. Their run game isn't great as it's just not their style of play, but their offensive line has been impressive all season long. 
On defense, Texas HAS to communicate well in the secondary and create early pressure in the pocket on Penix Jr. as he only has 86 rushing yards this season. Playing without LB DeMarvion Overshown is a huge blow, but LB Jaylon Ford has been an absolute monster this season and seems to be the leader of the Texas defense moving forward. For Washington, the focus should be on creating pressure and confusion on QB Quinn Ewers. The young gunslinger has struggled heavily in the second half of the season and is without his best player in Bijan Robinson. Ewers will have to step up to get the job done for the Longhorns, and I think Washington knows that. 
Personally, I expect a bit of a shootout and some big-time plays being made all game. If the Horns had Robinson, my pick would be different... but give me the Huskies in a close one. 
Score Prediction: Washington 40, Texas 34
Devon Messinger
On Thursday, the Longhorns will look to end their second season under head coach Steve Sarkisian on a high note. 
Although there will be several notable absences in the Longhorns starting lineup, including Bijan Robinson, Roschon Johnson and DeMarvion Overshown, the team certainly will still field a competitive bunch. However, will a competitive bunch be able to beat the twelfth-ranked team in the nation?
Washington's junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. leads the nation's top-ranked passing offense and will look to bury the Longhorns in San Antonio's Alamodome. Conversely, Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers will look to salvage what has been a shaky first year under center for Steve Sarkisian.
The Longhorns have the athleticism to keep up with the Huskies and, thankfully for them, are fortunate to have benefitted from running back depth this season. As a result, Texas redshirt freshman running back Jonathon Brooks will have to have himself a career day in order to keep the Longhorns in the contest. Lastly, Quinn Ewers will have to have himself an Oklahoma-like game in which he shows off his passing chops. 
While I am admittedly tempted to pick Washinton, I think that Texas pulls this one off late, thanks to some home field-esque magic in San Antonio.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, Washington 31
Bowl picks are tricky with there being such a long layover between games among other factors to account for. Although I'm usually bearish on the strength of the Pac-12, I think Texas may be missing too much to acquire the W with basically their entire run game on the sideline preparing for the NFL Draft. A run game that Sark has relied upon heavily recently in order to offset Quinn Ewers' late season struggles. Kwiatkowski's unit should hold up their end of the deal as they almost always do, but much like against TCU this can't be a game where one unit is consistently propping up the other. Washington will be an excellent test, but I'm uncertain Texas' offense can keep pace in their current state.
Score Prediction: Washington 38, Texas 30


The Texas Longhorns (8-4, 6-3 Big 12) will cap their 2022 season with an appearance in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Thursday, December 29th against the Washington Huskies (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12).  Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian improved from a 5-7 record last season and looks to reach the nine-win mark with a win over first year Huskies coach Kurt DeBoer. 
The Longhorns will face the nation's #2 team in total offense - Washington racks up 521.7 yards per game and boasts the top passing offense  among FBS teams.  Texas Quarterback Quinn Ewers has struggled in his last handful of games, and will be without star running back Bijan Robinson and team captain and running back Roschon Johnson - both of whom have opted out of the bowl game in favor of the NFL Draft.
These two teams have met four times before, with Texas holding a 3-1 record in those contests.  The Alamo Bowl appearance marks the sixth for the Longhorns and the fifth since 2012.  

What: Texas Longhorns (8-4, 6-3 Big 12) vs Washington Huskies (10-2, 7-2 Pack-12)
Venue: Alamodome
Location: San Antonio, TX
When: Thursday, December 29th, 2022
Time: 8:00 p.m.
All-Time Series: Texas leads Washington 3-1
Last Meeting: Texas defeated Washington 47-43 (12/28/2021 - Holiday Bowl, San Diego, CA)
The Line:  Texas -3
Relevant Information:
Scouting Report: Washington Huskies Staff Predictions: Texas vs. Washington DISCUSS THE TEXAS vs. WASHINGTON GAME HERE

Recap of Recent Longhorn Sports News and Events

Photo: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
A lot has happened over the past week or so in Longhorn sports. From having a top 10 recruiting class in football to Women’s Volleyball winning a National Championship, Longhorn athletics have been making headlines during the holiday season. Let’s take a look at all that's happened: 
Texas Women’s Volleyball not only defeated but swept the Louisville Cardinals in 3 sets to take home the National Championship title for the 2022 season. It’s the team’s first championship since 2012 and the program’s 3rd ever national title. For more information on the game, click here.
The Texas Longhorn Football Team will take on the Washington Huskies at the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on December 29th at 8 CT. The Longhorns are currently favored in the game yet are missing a few significant players like RB Bijan Robinson, LB DeMarvion Overshown and RB Roschon Johnson. All 3 have opted out of the bowl game to prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft. This opens the door for some younger players to get more opportunities, such as RB’s Jonathan Brooks and Jaydon Blue along with others. Texas’ last bowl win came against Colorado back in December of 2020 in the Alamo Bowl and also had a bowl win in the year before that back in 2019 also in the Alamo Bowl where the Horns defeated Utah 38-10. So, long story short, this is the Longhorns’ 3rd straight bowl game in San Antonio. 
Keeping on the topic of Texas Football, the Longhorns recruiting team was busy this past week. Currently ranked the 3rd best 2023 recruiting class in the nation by 247 Sports, Steve Sarkisian and Co. have brought in and recently signed guys such as 5 star QB Arch Manning (#1 QB in the nation), Anthony Hill Jr. (#1 LB in the nation), Cedric Baxter Jr. (#1 RB in the nation), and 5 star WR Johntay Cook II. Other big names such as CB Malik Muhammad, S Derek Williams, and EDGE Colton Vasek also have signed with the Horns while there are plenty of other extremely talented players I can’t even mention due to the list being so long. Long story short, the incoming 2023 class seems to be extremely talented and has the potential to help take Texas to where they really want to be very soon. 
The Texas Men’s Basketball Team has stayed hot with Interim Head Coach Rodney Terry now at the wheel. Since being without suspended HC Chris Beard, the Horns have gone 4-0 and are now 11-1 on the season and ranked 6th in the nation. During Terry’s time, the Longhorns defeated Rice 81-87 in OT, Stanford 62-72 and the, at the time, 10-1 Ragin’ Cajuns of  LA-Lafayette 72-100 (!). The Horns defeated Texas A&M-Comm on Tuesday night 97-72 behind Marcus Carr's career high 41 points.  Up next Texas begins Big 12 play by travelling to Oklahoma on the 31st to take on the Sooners in a Red River Showdown. 
Stay tuned for more Longhorn sports updates as the week goes on. 
Twitter: @RSwantkowski

Scouting Report: Washington

(Photo: USA Today)
It has been over a month since Texas beat Baylor inside DKR to end the regular season. Now the Longhorns will take the field for the final time in 2022 as they travel down to San Antonio to face Washington in the Alamo Bowl. The Huskies, led by first year coach Kalen DeBoer, finished the regular season with a 10-2 record and feature one of the most explosive offenses in the country.
DeBoer made a name for himself as an offensive coordinator at Indiana and head coach at Frenso State. He was able to reunite with his old Indiana QB this year, bringing in Michael Penix from the transfer portal. Penix has been outstanding all season, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns. The lefty loves to push the ball down the field and possesses good accuracy. His favorite targets are Jalen McMillan (70 catches) and Rome Odunze (71 catches). Both have over 1,000 yards receiving and have combined for 15 touchdowns. Odunze stands at 6'3 and is their 'go up and get it' receiver. Ja'Lynn Polk serves as the number 3 receiver and is averaging over 17 yards a reception.
Virginia transfer Wayne Taulapapa shares backfield duties with Cameron Davis. Taulapapa leads the team in carries (126) and yards (779), but Davis has more rushing TD's (13). Washington ranks towards the bottom of the country in a lot of rushing statistics. The Huskies do most of their damage through the air.
The Washington OL is outstanding in pass protection, aided by Penix's ability to navigate the pocket and extend plays. They are an average run blocking unit. The Huskies will start 3 seniors on the interior with redshirt sophomore Troy Fautanu holding down the LT spot and redshirt freshman Roger Rosengarten at RT.
Washington does an excellent job of getting to the QB, and it all starts up front with Jeremiah Martin and Bralen Trice coming off the edge. The duo has combined for 16.5 sacks and 22 TFL's. As a team, Washington has 35 sacks for the season.
The Huskies are definitely stronger against the run than the pass, as they rank 105th in opponent completion %, 101st in passing yards allowed per game and 118th in opponent passer rating. The backend of the Washington defense only has 7 interceptions on the season.
Safeties Alex Cook and Asa Turner have been solid at times this year, but have been vulnerable to big plays. If there was ever a game for Quinn Ewers to get on track, this is it.
Final Thoughts
This is a very interesting matchup on paper. The Huskies were a bad loss against Arizona State away from playing in a NY6 bowl and potentially knocking on the door of the CFP. Texas has some advantages in this game, but they will be playing without Bijan Robinson, Roschon Johnson and DeMarvion Overshown. A win by Texas in this game would be a big momentum builder heading into 2023.

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