Calvin Howell

Sophomore defensive tackle Calvin Howell talks to a pair of teammates during TexasÂ’ 21-10 win over Cal in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl last December. Howell was arrested for marijuana possession Jan. 29 and decided to transfer last week.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Although the Longhorns have been celebrating signing one of the best recruiting classes in the country, the team will be losing defensive tackle Calvin Howell. Howell made the decision to transfer and has not named where he will be going. Since the beginning of the season, transferring seems to be pretty common for Texas football players.

Head coach Mack Brown said “personal reasons” were the cause of Howell’s decision to leave Austin. But, it seems very coincidental that he was arrested on Jan. 29 in San Marcos on charges of marijuana possession. Howell was charged with a Class B misdemeanor. According to a San Marcos Police Department blotter, he was arrested for possession of less than 20 oz. of marijuana at 4:44 a.m.

Defensive tackle is not an area where the Longhorns are lacking depth. Junior college transfer Brandon Moore, who recently signed with the Longhorns, will definitely be important for the team as they try to replace Howell. In addition, five-star recruit Malcom Brown will be playing in the fall. Defensive tackle Kheeston Randall will be graduating, leaving the Longhorns with a lot of different personnel on their defensive front. But, the defense will remain solid with a lot of backup options, even without Howell. Texas had the best defense in the Big 12 last year, and losing Howell will not change that.

But, what happens if this transferring trend continues?

Quarterbacks Garrett Gilbert and Connor Wood, running back Traylon Shead and linebacker Tariq Allen are all leaving Texas behind. Sophomore wide receiver Darius White left the Longhorns after having just six catches and one touchdown during his two seasons in burnt orange. White had very high expectations when he signed with the Longhorns. Wide receivers Greg Timmons and Chris Jones also made the decision to leave Texas.

But, Howell was different from most of these transfers. He was on the field. A lot. He started seven games in 2011 and played in all thirteen games. He finished the season with 16 tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss. He was a four-star member of Texas’ 2009 recruiting class and the No. 7 player at his position in the country.

Although the cause of Howell’s departure from Texas is unclear and is potentially caused by his arrest, his leaving raises concerns about transferring from Texas and out of the football program. Although the Longhorns signed 28 athletes in the class of 2012, there is still the question of how many will actually stay.

Transferring is normal for college athletes, especially with a program that is rebuilding. But it seems that there is a trend with big names leaving Texas behind for other schools. Garrett Gilbert left for SMU. Connor Wood went to Colorado. Traylon Shead went to Navarro Junior College. Although the loss of Howell will not be devastating to the Longhorns’ thriving defense, athletes transferring is becoming too common for the Longhorns.

Printed on, February 7, 2012 as:Recently arrested Howell latest to transfer

Most Important Longhorn

Photo Credit: Tamir Kalifa | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s Note: The Daily Texan will introduce one more important Longhorn each issue. Here is No. 3 of Texan’s 10 Most Important Longhorns.

Last year, Texas was 0-5 when its opponent ran for more yards than it did. This offseason, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz stressed how important stopping the run will be. That starts with Kheeston Randall.

Randall may be the Longhorns’ most dominant defender this season. The senior defensive tackle registered 39 tackles in 2010, 13 of them for loss, which is the most by any returner this year. The terrific junior season was good enough to make the 6-foot-5, 305-pounder a consensus first-team preseason all-conference choice. Despite Randall’s stellar season, Texas allowed 138.6 rushing yards per game, more than they had given up in seven years.

“We don’t want anyone to be able to run the ball on us like what happened last year,” Randall said. “That’s something we need to constantly improve. We’re going to be working on it this week, next week, and all through the season.”

Until the release of the depth chart Monday morning, there was some uncertainty surrounding who would line up beside Randall as the second starting defensive tackle. Sophomore Calvin Howell won the starting job, but others like Ashton Dorsey and former running back Chris Whaley, both sophomores, should see the field as well. Don’t count out Desmond Jackson, who Randall called “one of the best freshman defensive tackles I’ve seen.”

“I’m proud to finally see Calvin playing,” Randall said. “He stepped his game up. He did everything [defensive tackle] Coach [Bo] Davis has asked him to do, along with the other guys. It’s allowed us to have some depth.”

Whoever is playing, they will have a considerable amount of freedom thanks to Diaz. Starting defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor have claimed they can switch sides at their leisure. Diaz has talked about how he will send safeties to rush the passer and drop defensive linemen into coverage.

“It’s controlled insanity,” Randall said. “This defense with Coach Diaz gives us so much freedom, whether we shoot an A-gap or shoot a B-gap or cross over and play defensive end. It’s a lot of fun.”

What isn’t a lot of fun, however, is going 5-7. The defense took a step back last season, allowing a whopping 28.1 points per game over its last nine contests. The Longhorns started the season 3-0 with victories over Rice, Wyoming and Texas Tech but there were red flags from the beginning, even in the season opener against the Owls, who Texas plays in its first game again this year.

“I wouldn’t say we didn’t put forth a great effort, we just didn’t win the way we were expected to,” Randall said. “We had too many mental mistakes, too many busts, and like Coach [Mack] Brown said, it started in those three scrimmages we had. But this year, those scrimmages we had were totally different. We had great effort. It’s just a totally different team.”

Texas has an excellent history of line-clogging defensive tackles such as Shaun Rogers, Casey Hampton, Frank Okam and Lamarr Houston. If Randall plays the way he did last season, his name could soon be mentioned among those greats. Maybe he could help Texas win a few games while he’s at it as well.

Printed on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 as: Randall's run stopping ability key to defense.