On Friday, Tom Herman announced his team captains for the 2017 Texas Longhorns football season. Included in the honor were seniors Poona Ford and Naashon Hughes, and juniors Connor Williams and P.J. Locke III.
The announcement hardly comes as a surprise to most, but it represents a significant change from the previous coaching regime. Herman’s predecessor, Charlie Strong, did not use team captains during his tenure at Texas. Strong’s philosophy was centered around the notion that individuals didn’t define the team. Instead, the team should raise each other up together. There were designated leaders for the team in place of captains.
While Strong’s rationale was noble in its intent, it deviated from the previous 122 seasons in which Texas football teams named captains.
Senior defensive lineman Poona Ford has become more vocal since Herman and his team arrived, and was named the hardest working player on the team following the Orange-White scrimmage in April. His leadership and efforts were noted, as he was voted to become a captain and represent his teammates.
Senior linebacker Naashon Hughes (only 1 of 3 players left from Mack Brown’s tenure) has emerged as a team leader entering his final season in Austin. His leadership has been praised in much of the same way Herman praised Poona Ford, and both seniors are looking to bring together a defense that has been decimated by opposing offenses the past few seasons.
Junior offensive tackle Connor Williams is arguably the most talented player on the team and a budding NFL prospect. He will anchor an offensive line that has seen its share of injuries and lack of depth throughout Strong’s tenure.
Junior nickelback P.J. Locke III rounds out the group. His leadership has been noted and praised by the Texas coaching staff, and his vocal personality and solid game performances have earned him the honor of being one of four season captains.
The Longhorns have their work cut out for them, as they hope to bounce back from losing their head coach last season – and for Naashon Hughes and 2 others players, their 3rd coach in 5 years.
As the old saying goes, “a new sheriff is in town,” and the energy in Austin, Texas is growing by the day in anticipation for the season opener against the Maryland Terrapins at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium.
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