Brandon Moore

Senior wide receiver Mike Davis (1) enjoyed a productive junior year, and if he continues to refine his skills in his last season at Texas he could be the next Longhorn to make it to the NFL. Davis is joined by other upperclassmen as well as a few others as potential NFL prospects

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Former Texas players Kenny Vaccaro, Marquise Goodwin, Alex Okafor and Brandon Moore fulfilled their childhood dreams last week, earning spots on four different NFL rosters. As Texas heads into the fall season, the spotlight will shine on seniors eager to prove themselves in the eyes of NFL scouts and coaches.

Wide receiver Mike Davis is among those entering his final year as a Longhorn. After seeing significant playing time in his freshman and sophomore years, Davis started 11 times in 2012, leading the team in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and yards per catch. Davis was a second team All-Big 12 choice by the San Antonio Express-News and the Dallas Morning News.

Entering the draft was a possibility this year for Davis, as he bounced back and forth on whether to remain at Texas or leave for the NFL. After discussing his options with Texas coaches and his family, Davis decided to stay.

“It’s been tough for me,” Davis told ESPN’s Joe Schad. “I did plan on coming out [for the draft], but I need to do this one more time. I want to try to win the Biletnikoff award. Those guys at Texas deserve another year.”

Returning for his final year means Davis will have a chance to increase his efficiency on the field and boost his tapes with more catches. 

“I took it upon myself to be a senior leader and help the other receivers get better,” Davis said. 

2013 will mark offensive guard Mason Walters’ fifth and final season at Texas. After missing the bulk of his freshman season with a foot injury, Walters returned to start 12 games during his second season and win UT’s Frank Medina Rehabilitation Award. 

Walters has started all 13 games during his past two seasons. He was a 2012 honorable mention All-Big 12 selection and named to the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award watch lists. 

Walters is already 17th on CBSSports.com’s list of top offensive guards heading into the 2014 NFL Draft. 

Jackson Jeffcoat earned buzz from sports analysts and columnists heading into the 2012 season as a top draft prospect.  

The heavily recruited Plano West defensive end played in eight games during his first year at Texas and started 12 as a sophomore, missing only one start due to injury.  His promising junior year was cut short by a right pectoral muscle rupture during the Texas-Oklahoma game.  Despite the injury, Jeffcoat still managed to come in second on the team in tackles for loss
and sacks.  

Athleticism is in Jeffcoat’s blood: his father, Jim Jeffcoat, was a well-known NFL lineman who played for both the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills.  

Jackson, lauded for his speed and flexibility on the field, still has analysts abuzz with his potential to land a spot in the early rounds of the 2014 draft. Now, Jeffcoat will have 2013 to prove himself after his recovery. 

Wide receiver Mike Davis posted high numbers this season and has decided to return to Texas for his senior year. 

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

The end of an autumn football season brings a flurry of career prospects for NCAA players as they grapple with the decision to remain in school or pursue an NFL career. 

Wide receiver Mike Davis’ indecisiveness could best be summarized with The Clash’s “Should I stay or should I go?” lyric.

In the span of one week, reports circled through the news and social media, claiming the Dallas native was staying, then he was going, then he was unsure and finally, that he was staying.  

Davis shined this year with the most receiving yards, receptions, receiving touchdowns and yards per catch on the team. He played in all 12 games and started 10 of them. 

Those numbers left Davis wondering if it was time to pack his bags and head for the NFL, where some experts projected him to be a third-round draft pick. 

What followed was a spree of social media-induced confusion. Davis tweeted that he would remain at Texas, but then it was rumored he would enter the draft. 

ESPN’s Joe Schad then announced that Davis was unsure about his decision to end his collegiate career, but Davis again changed course and declared his intent to stay after discussing it with coaches and family. 

“I need to see the big picture and see what I can be at Texas and in the Big 12,” he said. “I want to maximize my stats and go to the BCS.”   

For a team that often struggled to perform offensively, Davis’ return is a sigh of relief. He was often quarterback David Ash’s go-to guy, and his quickness allowed him to dart past opponents on the field. Davis would have been a weighty loss for the Longhorns, forcing younger receivers Jaxon Shipley, Kendall Sanders, Marcus Johnson and Cayleb Jones to step up. While Shipley started nine times in his sophomore season, Sanders, Johnson and Jones saw relatively little playing time. Thus, Davis’ departure would have left a gaping hole and the need for increasingly fervent recruiting for wide receivers. 

Just after Davis’s announcement, defensive tackle Brandon Moore declared he would enter the draft.

The decision surprised many who weren’t used to hearing Moore’s name dropped in play-by-plays. But But Moore, who played one year at Texas after two at East Mississippi Community College and one at Alabama, posted solid stats. He played in 11 games and started four, ranking fourth on the team in tackles for loss and tied for third in quarterback pressures. 

While his exit from the team comes after the worst defensive season in school history, the depth of Moore’s position means his departure is less concerning than that of someone like Davis. All the others in the team’s five-man rotation are set to return. 

But it does mean younger players will be dealt more responsibility in filling Moore’s place, particularly true freshman Malcolm Brown

For Davis, the decision to stay came down to BCS hopes and Biletnikoff Award aspirations. For Moore, the decision to go simply came down to the pursuit of a dream.

“I really appreciate the opportunity I had to play for the Longhorns, but my lifelong dream has been to play in the NFL and to have a chance to support my family,” Moore said. 

Published on January 16, 2013 as "Davis decides to stay, Moore leaves for draft". 

Moore wants more football, but not at Texas

In four of the last five NFL drafts, a Texas defensive tackle has been selected.

This year, defensive tackle Brandon Moore hopes to join the ranks of former Longhorns Casey Hampton, Lamarr Houston, Henry Melton, Roy Miller, Kheeston Randall and Shaun Rogers, foregoing his senior season to pursue a lifelong dream as an NFL player.

“I enjoyed my time and really appreciate the opportunity I had to play for the Longhorns, but my lifelong dream has been to play in the NFL and to have a chance to support my family,” he said.  “I’ll definitely miss everyone at Texas and will always pull for the Longhorns.”

If the name sounds unfamiliar, it may be because Moore only played one season at Texas, following two years at East Mississippi Community College and a year at Alabama just after high school.

He did, however, make his mark: Moore posted 18 tackles and two sacks in his twelve games this season, five of which he started. His eight tackles for loss ranked fifth on the team.  His six quarterback pressures earned him a tie for third on the team. 

David Ash looks downfield during Texas’ 63-21 loss to Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl last Saturday. Ash suffered a broken left wrist in the fourth quarter of the defeat but will still take the field when the Longhorns face Baylor at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday. 

Photo Credit: Andrew Torrey | Daily Texan Staff

If you didn’t already know he was hurt before he spoke to reporters this week, you would have thought the wrapping on his left wrist was decorative.

The last time David Ash’s non-throwing wrist was seen without something covering it up, it looked like a black and blue golf ball was lodged under his palm. A source told The Daily Texan that the doctors who treated Ash believe his wrist is broken but could not find exactly where the break took place.

But, somehow, Ash was back on the practice field Sunday, taking snaps and throwing passes. The day after that, he spoke of playing Saturday against Baylor as if it was a foregone conclusion.

And that’s exactly what Texas needs right now.

After suffering the third worst loss in the 186 games that the Longhorns have played since Mack Brown took over as head coach in 1998, their injury list is a long one. Jordan Hicks has missed the last three games with a hip injury. Malcolm Brown has missed the last two with a hurt ankle. Jackson Jeffcoat is out for the rest of the year with a torn pectoral muscle. Donald Hawkins (ankle) and Brandon Moore (neck) were hurt against OU and may miss this week’s game as well.

“It definitely looks worse than it feels,” Ash said, shrugging off the injury. “When it hit in the game, I just kind of said, ‘Shoot, that kind of hurt.’ I was running off and looked down and went, ‘Oh, shoot.’ Everyone started freaking out. I threw a towel on it and I walked out.”

There’s a difference between being hurt and being injured. You can’t play if you’re injured. But if any of those guys are hurt, they need to follow Ash’s example and get on the field Saturday.

“It shows a lot of toughness,” junior guard Trey Hopkins said. “We have a lot of guys banged up. Just the fact that he was out there with us [Sunday], shows how he’s continuing to be a leader on the team. I think that really shows how he’s stepped up as a person. That’s what we really need with so many guys banged up. We need everyone to know that you can still play through it.”

Without knowing the intricate details of his teammates’ injuries, here’s to hoping Ash playing through pain this weekend sets a precedent that can help turn this season around. Texas’ defense has sorely missed Hicks since he went down a month ago. Hawkins and Moore, both junior college transfers, have provided a valuable presence at the line of scrimmage. And, while freshman Johnathan Gray has impressed in his first few games as a Longhorn, Malcolm Brown is Texas’ best option at tailback.

“I try not to listen to the injury repot on Sunday after a loss because it’s long,” Mack Brown said. “Maybe it’s partly because we have a younger team. You may get banged up more when you’re younger than you do when you’re older. You also have more guys hurt after a loss than you do a win. They’re down. They’re tired. They’re frustrated and mad, so there’s more guys in the training room.”

Like Ash, the Longhorns need those guys on the field.

Printed on Thursday, October 18, 2012 as: Hurt Horns should follow Ash's lead