Carrington Byndom

Cornerback Carrington Byndom is one of many Longhorns hoping to get drafted to the NFL this year. 

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Texas held its Pro Timing Day on Wednesday, and, with representatives from all 32 NFL teams in attendance, it was one of the last opportunities for the team’s seniors to show off their skills and impress scouts before the draft on May 8-10. 

For defensive lineman Jackson Jeffcoat and wide receiver Mike Davis, it is not a question of whether they will have an opportunity to realize their NFL dream but, instead, a question of when they will hear their names on draft day. 

For the other Longhorn draft hopefuls, the question is a little more up in the air.

Cornerback Carrington Byndom impressed scouts with his blazing 4.37 40-yard dash time, a showing that should definitely help his case in the later rounds of the draft. Byndom hopes that his name is called during the draft but is prepared to work for an NFL roster spot if he goes undrafted.

“Just trying to make it on somewhere — that’s my goal.” Byndom remarked, “I can only control what I can. I can’t control where people draft me or call me. So I just got to try to get a shot and try to make it in some kind of way and, once I get there, show them what I’m capable of.”

Defensive tackle Chris Whaley was shooting up draft boards before suffering a season-ending injury against West Virginia in November.  Whaley appears to be about a month ahead of schedule in rehabilitating his knee but will have to overcome both his injury and skeptics in order to realize his dream. 

“I’m willing to fight,” Whaley said. “I’ve had to for a long time. Coming from running back to [defensive] tackle, I had to fight for that job. So the fight is nothing new.” 

Defensive end Reggie Wilson came to Texas as a heralded recruit whom almost everyone wanted out of high school. But, because of Texas’ glut of NFL caliber talent at the position throughout his career, Wilson never made much of an impact on the field. Still, he remains positive, encouraged that he can fight for his dreams as they now rest solely on his performance. 

“At the end of the day, if I go out and don’t perform, then I have nobody to blame but myself,” Wilson said. “That’s how I look at it.”

Offensive guard Trey Hopkins, who hopes to be the first Longhorn offensive lineman drafted since 2008, is relieved to know that, if the NFL doesn’t work out, he has work in physical therapy as a back-up plan. “That’s one good thing,” Hopkins said. “I have a plan for outside of football. But football is definitely what I want to do right now.”

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Longhorns eligible for the upcoming draft displayed their talents in front of NFL scouts Wednesday at the team’s Pro Timing Day.

Senior cornerback Carrington Byndom was among the players who impressed scouts. Byndom ran a 4.37 40-time. He was not invited to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

“I had to come out today with a lot to prove and today was my day to kind of show everybody what I can do and what I’m capable of,” Byndom said. “I think a lot of scouts had me running a lot slower than that, so to come out and run that is really good. I could have done a little bit better on my position work, but there’s still time for that. But overall, pretty good day.”

Byndom said he has heard rumors about where or if he will be drafted in May.

“I can’t really listen to all that,” Byndom said. “If my name gets called, then my name gets called. If it doesn’t, then let’s see if we can make a team.”

Senior defensive lineman Jackson Jeffcoat posted high numbers at the combine with his 4.63 40-time and his 36-inch vertical jump. He only participated in the bench press Wednesday because he said he did not think he performed well with it in Indianapolis. 

“I went out there and showed I was in shape, showed that I’ve been working,” Jeffcoat said. “The goal was to show that I can move in space, change direction and show that I can play defensive end and outside linebacker. When it comes down to it, they want to see my film and they want to see me move out here.”

Senior wide receiver Mike Davis said he thought he could have done better.

“I’m just shooting for whoever calls me,” Davis said. “I feel scouts know who I am. I take pride in my route-running ability. As a receiver, I’ll be able to separate, and I feel like I can do that really well and I can play inside and outside.”

Senior safety Adrian Phillips said, from what he was told, Longhorn Network clocked his 40-time at a 4.37, but the scouts measured his time at a 4.44. 

“My fieldwork was exceptional,” Phillips said. “I think I did really well on that. I dropped the ball. I was mad about that. I wanted to go perfect on that. Other than that, I feel like everything I came out and showed what I was and did my best and hopefully the scouts like it.”

Senior defensive tackle Chris Whaley returned to the Pro Timing Day after he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the West Virginia game last year. Whaley only participated in the bench press, and he said he maxed out at 22 reps at 225 pounds. Whaley measured in at the Pro Timing Day at 6-feet-3-inches, 273 pounds, nearly 30 pounds lighter than he was while he played last year. He said he was happy he lost weight during the process of his recovery.

“I kind of started running a little bit, and it’s progressing really good,” Whaley said. “I got all my range and motion back. Not all the flexibility back yet, but it‘s close and it’s getting there and I am about a month ahead of schedule.”

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

While Andre the Giant stood at 7-foot-4-inches. “Quandre the Giant” — as junior defensive back Quandre Diggs likes to be known — stands at just 5-foot-10-inches.

Size difference aside, the defensive back has become one of Texas’ strongest defensive players in his three years on the 40 Acres. Whether it’s his ability, work ethic or
desire, Diggs earned his reputation because of his attitude and fearless nature. 

“Quandre has a passion for the game,” senior cornerback Carrington Byndom said. “He is going to play hard every snap and every down.”

Diggs plays with a consistent chip on his shoulder, occasionally using negative attention and criticism as motivation. Diggs likes to prove people wrong.  

“He’s just a player,” Byndom said. “He’s trying to go out there, and he’s trying to prove a point. If you want to say it’s a chip on his shoulder then there it is. I guess you can call it that.”

Teammates gravitate toward Diggs’ outspoken personality, which has established him as an unquestioned team leader. When Greg Robinson took over the defensive play-calling duties from Manny Diaz, head coach Mack Brown and his staff went to Diggs to convince the players to buy into the new coach. 

“He’s one of the guys that [defensive backs coach] Duane [Akina] would bring in and say ‘We need your help. You have a voice on this team,’” Brown said. “‘You and Adrian Phillips are the two they are going to listen to. So here’s what we need, and here’s what we need you to do.’ He has really taken that role and stepped up and have been key to getting this team back on top.”

One of Diggs’ role models is his brother Quentin Jammer, who was a safety for Texas from 1997-2001 and currently plays for the Denver Broncos after 11 years with the San Diego Chargers. Jammer, who will be inducted into the Texas Hall of Honor this Friday, continues to teach Diggs even while he’s in college. 

“I couldn’t even point out one specific thing because he’s taught me so much,” Diggs said. “He’s a father figure to me even though he’s my brother. Words can’t describe all the things my brother has done for me. I’m thankful to have a brother like him in my life.”

The pair are similar in stature and their impact on the field, but Brown said Diggs has a much larger leadership role than his brother did.

“Quandre is a much better communicator than Quentin was,” Brown said. “Quandre talks all the time. He’s very positive and upbeat. Quandre is in the middle of that defense and really leading a lot. Quentin wouldn’t have said much. That’s the biggest difference between them.”

Diggs may not be the largest Longhorn in stature, but no one on the team would dispute his nickname. The fleet-footed, sharp-tongued junior stands nothing short of a giant. 

Senior cornerback Carrington Byndom refuses to take it personally when opposing quarterbacks target the receiver he is covering. In fact, he embraces having the ball thrown in his direction.

“Always,” Byndom said. “I’m a cornerback. That’s always a good thing.”

The senior thrives off of making game-changing plays when given the opportunity. Byndom boasts an impressive résumé of five interceptions, 27 passes defended and a pair of defensive touchdowns over the course of his stellar four-year career, and the Longhorns’ opponents seem to have taken notice so far this season.

“They really haven’t thrown at him much this year,” head coach Mack Brown said. “Everybody’s been going away from him. He’s been healthy this year and it’s been
interesting that a lot of people have gone to the other side and stayed away from him.”

While he has yet to force a turnover through six games this season, Byndom continues to contribute. He regularly matches up against the opponent’s top receiver, and senior safety Adrian Phillips said this opens things up for the rest of the defense.

“Whoever’s their best receiver, he’ll be on them,” Phillips said. “Having a guy like that, knowing you can put him on someone and knowing he’s pretty much locked up for the whole game, it brings a lot to our defense and we’re able to do a lot of things with that.”

In addition to starring as a shutdown corner, Byndom plays an active role in pursuit of the ball. The senior cornerback registered 10 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles in his first three seasons, and he recorded his only career sack as a junior last year.

As one of the most experienced members of the Texas secondary, Byndom also holds a leadership role on the Longhorns’ defense. Junior cornerback Quandre Diggs rooms with Byndom on road trips, and he said the senior cornerback served as one of his mentors during his first two seasons.

“He’s been a guy that’s taught me a lot,” Diggs said. “When I came in, he was one of the guys that took me under his wing. He’s one of the guys that keeps me focused and keeps me level-headed. He’s quiet, but when he does say something, everybody respects it.”

While he is not a particularly vocal member of the locker room, Byndom continues to lead the younger members of the secondary by offering positive reinforcement and setting a
strong example. 

“I know the younger guys look up to me with my experience,” Byndom said. “I just keep them going and keep them positive, and they do the same for me. I just continue to do what I can for them each game.”

Byndom figures to secure a job in the NFL after this season, but for now he remains focused on his time at Texas. The senior cornerback said the Longhorns’ biggest goal revolves around winning the rest of their games this season, and he believes doing this allows each of his individual goals to take care of themselves.

“It’s all about the team for me first, and I think the biggest goal for us now is to win out,” Byndom said. “The closest goal is just to win this week. It’s all about the team for me. All of the individual goals will come later, and as long as we’re winning games, my goals are fine.”

The senior cornerback remains dedicated to leading Texas to a Big 12 championship in his final opportunity to win the conference. The Longhorns’ defense must continue improving in order to achieve this, and no player figures to be more vital to this than Byndom.

Senior cornerback Carrington Byndom refuses to take it personally when opposing quarterbacks target the receiver he is covering. In fact, he embraces having the ball thrown in his direction.

“Always,” Byndom said. “I’m a cornerback. That’s always a good thing.”

The senior thrives off of making game-changing plays when given the opportunity. Byndom boasts an impressive résumé of five interceptions, 27 passes defended and a pair of defensive touchdowns over the course of his stellar four-year career, and the Longhorns’ opponents seem to have taken notice so far this season.

“They really haven’t thrown at him much this year,” head coach Mack Brown said. “Everybody’s been going away from him. He’s been healthy this year and it’s been
interesting that a lot of people have gone to the other side and stayed away from him.”

While he has yet to force a turnover through six games this season, Byndom continues to contribute. He regularly matches up against the opponent’s top receiver, and senior safety Adrian Phillips said this opens things up for the rest of the defense.

“Whoever’s their best receiver, he’ll be on them,” Phillips said. “Having a guy like that, knowing you can put him on someone and knowing he’s pretty much locked up for the whole game, it brings a lot to our defense and we’re able to do a lot of things with that.”

In addition to starring as a shutdown corner, Byndom plays an active role in pursuit of the ball. The senior cornerback registered 10 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles in his first three seasons, and he recorded his only career sack as a junior last year.

As one of the most experienced members of the Texas secondary, Byndom also holds a leadership role on the Longhorns’ defense. Junior cornerback Quandre Diggs rooms with Byndom on road trips, and he said the senior cornerback served as one of his mentors during his first two seasons.

“He’s been a guy that’s taught me a lot,” Diggs said. “When I came in, he was one of the guys that took me under his wing. He’s one of the guys that keeps me focused and keeps me level-headed. He’s quiet, but when he does say something, everybody respects it.”

While he is not a particularly vocal member of the locker room, Byndom continues to lead the younger members of the secondary by offering positive reinforcement and setting a
strong example. 

“I know the younger guys look up to me with my experience,” Byndom said. “I just keep them going and keep them positive, and they do the same for me. I just continue to do what I can for them each game.”

Byndom figures to secure a job in the NFL after this season, but for now he remains focused on his time at Texas. The senior cornerback said the Longhorns’ biggest goal revolves around winning the rest of their games this season, and he believes doing this allows each of his individual goals to take care of themselves.

“It’s all about the team for me first, and I think the biggest goal for us now is to win out,” Byndom said. “The closest goal is just to win this week. It’s all about the team for me. All of the individual goals will come later, and as long as we’re winning games, my goals are fine.”

The senior cornerback remains dedicated to leading Texas to a Big 12 championship in his final opportunity to win the conference. The Longhorns’ defense must continue improving in order to achieve this, and no player figures to be more vital to this than Byndom.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Quandre Diggs paused for a moment after being asked if he was surprised Texas enters Saturday’s road affair against BYU as a seven-point favorite.

“What would I be surprised about?” he finally answered. “My deal is for us to win 
every game.”

Diggs has become an anchor of the Texas defense, someone who finds losing unfathomable. He is so supremely confident in his ability that it is hard for him to imagine being the underdog.

The junior defensive back emerged as the Longhorns’ most prominent defensive playmaker over the last two seasons, compiling eight interceptions and 30 passes defended in 26 games. This production, coupled with his physical skill set and his punishing 5-foot-11, 200-pound frame, prompted defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to shift Diggs to nickel back to start the season.

“One of the rules is the more instinctive of a player you are, the closer you want to line that guy up to the football,” Diaz said. “Certainly one thing Quandre has shown over the last two years is he has great instincts for playing 
the game.”

Diaz believes Diggs fits naturally at nickel back due to his aptitude for playing in both zone and man coverage. Additionally, the junior boasts the speed to cover receivers in the slot and the physicality to line up in the box and prevent the run.

“[Nickel] plays a lot of different factors in the game,” Diggs said. “You get to blitz, you get to cover and you get to do all different types of stuff and disguises. It puts me closer to the line of scrimmage to go make more plays. That’s something I’m very, very excited about.”

Diggs played well in his debut at nickel back last Saturday, racking up five tackles while breaking up a pass and recovering a fumble against New Mexico State. Senior cornerback Carrington Byndom was impressed by the junior’s performance, saying Diggs possesses the ability to make a major impact in the 
Longhorns’ secondary.

“Him playing nickel is allowing him to be around the ball, and that’s something that he is really good at,” Byndom said. “He’s really instinctive and he’s always around the ball, so putting him even closer is helping him out. We’re looking for big things out of him from the nickel spot.”

Diggs follows in the footsteps of a number of high-profile nickel backs to star in the Texas defense, including current NFL safeties Earl Thomas, Aaron Williams and 2013 first-round draft pick Kenny Vaccaro, who led the Longhorns with 107 tackles last season. Diggs realizes that comparisons to Vaccaro are inevitable, but after just one game his focus remains on improving each week and forming his 
own identity.

“I can’t compare myself to Kenny, but it was fun [playing nickel] and I can tell you that I enjoyed it,” Diggs said. “I look forward to playing it every week. I’m learning so much more about the game just being there, and I want to just continue to take advantage of the opportunity that coach has given me. I’m very thankful for it.”

The emergence of sophomore cornerback Duke Thomas and junior cornerback Sheroid Evans gives the Longhorns the depth to pencil Diggs into the nickel slot. While the junior still lines up at his traditional cornerback position in Texas’ base defense, Diggs’ teammates expect him to make his biggest contributions jetting around the field as the nickel back.

“He’s a playmaker, and at nickel, you’re there to make plays,” senior safety Adrian Phillips said. “Quandre is just a heck of a player. He has a knack for the ball. With him being at nickel, you don’t have to worry about that position. He’s going to find his way to the ball.”

A big season figures to propel Diggs up the 2014 NFL Draft board, especially due to the small sample of defensive backs capable of excelling in the nickel back slot. Despite this, Diggs’ concerns lie with his opponents each week rather than his prospects as a future NFL draft pick.

“I’m not really worried about draft stock,” Diggs said. “That’s something that’s going to come with [playing]. I just want to continue to go out and play.”

This mindset bodes well for the Longhorns, as every acrobatic interception, athletic pass breakup and jaw-dropping hit supplied by their standout nickel back pushes the Longhorns one step closer to becoming a top-flight defense.

Sophomore safety Josh Turner made the most of his first start, making his first career interception, a play that set up a go-ahead Texas touchdown and proved to be a turning point in the Longhorns’ 56-50 victory over Baylor this past Saturday.

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

Ever since Jordan Hicks went down in the first half of the Longhorns’ win over Ole Miss more than a month ago, the Longhorn defense has been searching for a spark. The search ended with Josh Turner.

Texas had surrendered 28 points to Baylor in the game’s first 20 minutes. The Bears were threatening to take the lead when Turner, a sophomore defensive back, chased down a scrambling Nick Florence, laying out to catch him from behind.

Turner made his first career interception on the next play. Florence overthrew his intended target and Turner, with his airborne body parallel to the ground, picked him off. Johnathan Gray’s 25-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive gave the Longhorns a 35-28 lead they would not give up.

“We were in thirds,” Turner recalled. “I was in the right third, and I was just reading the quarterback. I saw that he kind of overthrew the receiver, and I was just trying to make a play on the ball.”

Adrian Phillips was supposed to be the solid safety opposite senior Kenny Vaccaro that solidified Texas’ secondary. His struggles led to sophomore Mykkele Thompson cracking the starting lineup, but Thompson has missed numerous tackles since. It’s time for Turner, who made his first career start during Saturday’s 56-50 win over Baylor, to become a mainstay in the first-team defense.

“He did an excellent job of making plays in the time that he was in, especially geting the turnover that was very crucial to the game and I think it did spark a lot of momentum,” junior cornerback Carrington Byndom said. “That’s what we expect and what he expects of himself. They know when their opportunity comes, they have to take advantage of it and I think he did an excellent job of it this weekend.”

On Baylor’s last possession of the first half, with Texas holding a 42-28 lead, Florence lofted a pass to his favorite receiver, Terrance Williams. The senior wideout leads the country with 1,013 yards ­— more yards than seven FBS teams have passed for this season.

Williams caught the pass in the corner of the end zone but Byndom kept him from catching it in bounds while Turner ranged over to jar the ball loose and ensure he wouldn’t make the catch. Baylor settled for a field goal on the next play as the Longhorns trotted into the locker room with an 11-point lead at halftime.

“The play he makes down there in the end zone is a great play,” head coach Mack Brown said. “That’s a perfect throw and catch. Carrington Byndom’s got him covered up but Josh knocks him out of bounds.”

Phillips and Vaccaro are listed as Texas’ starting safeties for its game against Kansas this weekend. Thompson and Turner are listed as backups. But if the way he played against Baylor last Saturday was any indication of what we can expect from him, Turner needs to be on the field more than Phillips and Thompson.

“We’re excited about the plays that he made,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “That’s how we know our persistence is working, but there’s some things that we have to continue to correct. We’re all in it together. We can’t be too excited about anything.”

Diaz is right. He shouldn’t dwell on the efforts of individuals too long — as good as they may be — as long as his unit is on pace to go down as, statistically, the worst defense in school history. But starting Turner would go a long way toward turning things around.

Printed on Thursday, October 25, 2012 as: Turner the spark Texas' secondary needs

Junior cornerback Carrington Byndom and Adrian Phillips attempt to bring down Wyoming wide out in Saturday's victory. Byndom and the rest of the secondary had a tough game allowing 276 yards through the air.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Texas allowed Wyoming only one third-down conversion in 11 tries, but that one stood out like a sore thumb.

“When you give up an 80-yard pass, you can’t say your secondary played well,” Longhorns head coach Mack Brown said.

Brett Smith dropped back on third-and-6 and hit Robert Herron for one of his five catches near the first-down marker. Carrington Byndom and Adrian Phillips — two stalwarts of what is expected to be one of the nation’s best secondaries — collided while trying to bring Herron down.

Instead, Herron got the first down and a lot more.

“It’s my fault,” Byndom said. “I should have made the tackle. I’m not going to put the blame on [Phillips]. We just have to put the guy on the ground.”

He went 82 yards into the end zone and gave Wyoming a 9-7 lead that it would hold onto until Texas scored 24 unanswered points and put the game out of reach. Herron went on to catch another long touchdown pass from Smith, but the pieces of an elite defense were on display in the Longhorns’ 37-17 season-opening win over the Cowboys.

Senior safety Kenny Vaccaro made an athletic, leaping interception in the second quarter, and senior defensive end Alex Okafor forced Smith into making a weak toss into traffic that Byndom picked off to end Wyoming’s next possession.

“We did get good pressure on [Smith],” junior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said. “We got in his face and made him throw interceptions. He gave us two, which set our offense up to score. That’s 14 points right there.”

After not recording a sack in Texas’ first three games last season, Okafor gave the Longhorns, who racked up 16 quarterback hurries, their only sack of the day. But like many of his teammates on defense, he conceded that Texas’ defense has much to improve.

“I thought there were some bright points, like when we got a couple turnovers in a short amount of time,” Okafor said.

“That’s when we’re at our best. Then we had some low points when we gave up big plays.”

Okafor, however, does expect more out of the Longhorns’ defense.

“I’m not going to lie to you. We want to be the No. 1 defense in the nation,” he said. “We showed that we could be a dominant defense.”

It’s only the first game of the year, and the Longhorns have several weeks between now and when they face a team with a chance of beating them. Armed with a talented and deep defense that doesn’t allow many sustained drives, it’s paramount that Texas limits the big plays it allows. At the moment, that’s what is keeping its defense from being able to lay a legitimate claim to being considered the country’s best.

“I’m not sure how many missed tackles we had, but it was too many,” Jeffcoat said. “We’re going to be home again, so it should be exciting and it should be a different story.”

Printed on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 as: Defense isn't best in nation...quite yet

Senior safety Kenny Vaccaro had a excellent game in TexasÂ’ season opener. He had five tackles and an interception.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

After the Texas offense went three and out to start the game, the Cowboys responded with a 56-yard opening drive that resulted in a field goal.

During the Cowboy’s second drive, Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith sent a pass down the left sideline to Robert Herron.

Both Carrington Byndom and Adrian Phillips missed the tackle, and Herron took advantage and ran for 82 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s probably good that the defense gave up some big plays tonight ’cause that will get their attention for next week,” head coach Mack Brown said.

The Cowboys finished the first quarter with 178 total yards, not exactly the start the Longhorns were hoping for.

“Honestly, we need to get our head out of the magazine and start fast and play hard,” senior safety Kenny Vaccaro said.

In the next three quarters, the defense only gave up 167 more yards.

Vaccaro creates shift in game

Senior safety Kenny Vaccaro was key in shifting the Longhorns’ momentum after the defense struggled during the first quarter of the game.

Vaccaro intercepted a pass from Smith in the second quarter, and the offense capitalized when Jaxon Shipley scored on a 16-yard touchdown reception.

“I thought the turnovers were a lot of the momentum that helped us get started,” Vaccaro said.

Later that quarter, a quarterback pressure by Vaccaro led to an interception by Byndom. Again, the Longhorns would score, with D.J. Monroe running in for a touchdown.

“Kenny Vaccarro is a great player, he’s not a good player. He can do some really good things to help us,” Brown said.

The running backs are back

With four of the team’s five touchdowns being scored on the run, Texas’ backfield looks to be as dominant as last year.

Both Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron ran more than 100 yards and the Longhorns had 280 total rushing yards.

The two running back leaders took advantage of the holes that the improving offensive line created for them.

Bergeron came to life in the fourth quarter when he had a 54-yard run from the Texas nine and then finished off the drive with a 17-yard run for a touchdown.

“We feel like that we can run the ball well right now, and should be able to run it against anybody,” head coach Mack Brown said.

Freshman Johnathan Gray had a few reps, but only gained nine yards.

“When you are running the ball, you are not going to get the big runs every time,” Bergeron said. “You have to pound them, and eventually, they will give up.” 

Marquise Goodwin (84)anticipates a pass during the 2011 Holiday Bowl. He would finish the game with three receptions for 49 yards and one touchdown. Be

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

The Olympic athlete’s journey is a tough one.

Big league baseball players get 162 games a year, NBA players get 82 and an NFL regular season includes 16 games. An Olympian gets once chance every four years to show the world what they’re made of, to see if their 48 months’ worth of dedication and sacrifice has paid off.

Fortunately for Marquise Goodwin, he has football.

After becoming the first American since 1960 to win an NCAA championship in the long jump and come out on top in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the same event, Goodwin placed 10th in London. His personal best jump of 8.33 meters (27 feet, 4.25 inches), the distance he leaped in Oregon less than six weeks earlier, would have earned him gold if he matched it at the 2012 Olympics.

“Football is a huge stress reliever,” Goodwin said. “The transition, it is just great to be able to come back and not have to worry about if I would’ve done this or that. My mind is totally on football now.”

Goodwin is now in fall camp, preparing for this upcoming season and the Longhorns’ season opener against Wyoming Sept. 1. It will be the first season opener he’ll play in two years as he missed Texas’ win over Rice last year while trying to qualify for this summer’s Olympics in South Korea’s World Championships.

“There can’t be a better two-sport athlete in football and track & field in America than Marquise Goodwin,” Longhorns head coach Mack Brown said in a statement. “We’re so excited to have Marquise back. Here’s a guy who won the last two USA titles and two NCAA Championships in the long jump. He’s a guy who competed in the Olympics and had a chance to win a gold, he was our most valuable player in the bowl game last year and he’s always on the honor roll.”

Goodwin rejoined the Longhorns for their 17-16 win over BYU last year. As a junior, he caught 33 passes for 421 yards and four touchdowns, peaking toward the end of the season, catching five passes for 129 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Baylor in the regular season finale and making three grabs for 49 yards and a score in the Holiday Bowl triumph over Cal in December.

Unlike last year, Goodwin won’t be adjusting to a new offense or flying thousands of miles into Austin in the middle of the year.

“It was great to have him back,” junior cornerback Carrington Byndom said. “We all saw his performance, but it is good to have him back out there. We are going to need him.”

Now that Goodwin’s made the transition from the thrill of his first Olympic experience to the grind of getting ready of his final year with the Longhorns, he’s poised for a solid senior season. The leader of a young receiving corps, no Texas pass-catcher stretches the field better than the blazing-fast Goodwin.

“Words can’t even explain how it is to represent your country, having the words USA written across your chest,” Goodwin said. “But it is great to be back at football, to see my teammates and coaches. I am just glad to be back.”

Goodwin went on to describe his Olympic performance as the most crushing performance of his promising athletic career. He would not reveal his intentions for a possible pursuit of redemption at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. If he does go for gold in Rio, thankfully, for his sake, he’s got football to keep him busy in the meantime.