Not too long ago they meandered through the 40 Acres, bulked up in the weight room and left their sweat on the field at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Now former Longhorns Chykie Brown and Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens, along with Tarell Brown and Leonard Davis of the San Francisco 49ers will make their mark on professional football’s largest stage — the Super Bowl.
The Feb. 3 game in New Orleans will be the first Super Bowl for each of the former Longhorns, although high-pressure play is nothing new. Tarell Brown was part of the 2005 National Championship team, while Tucker and Chykie Brown played in the 2009 National Championship game, earning two Big 12 Championships along the way.
For Houston native Chykie Brown, the path to an NFL career began with his years as a cornerback for the Longhorns. Brown started 29 games and posted 106 tackles and four sacks throughout his career. After starting nine games in his 2010 senior season, Brown was sidelined with a season-ending injury against Kansas State.
Brown was picked up by the Ravens as a defensive back in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and has added 25 tackles in his two seasons with the team. Whether or not Brown will start against the 49ers is up for debate. After struggling to make tackles against the Patriots, Brown was benched in favor of Jimmy Smith. With the offensive talents of Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and Randy Moss, effective defensive backs will be crucial.
Fellow Raven Justin Tucker seems to have a knack for closing out nail-biting games. The Austin native and music major graduated with an impressive field goal percentage that ties for third best in Texas history. Tucker is beloved in the minds of Longhorn fans for his game-winning 40-yard field goal against Texas A&M in 2011 as the clock ran out.
After tallying 132 points and a 90.9 percent accuracy rate in his first year with the Ravens, Tucker found himself in a similar situation as he stepped up to attempt a field goal against the Broncos this season. Tucker successfully concluded the fourth-longest game in NFL history by converting a field goal.
Chykie isn’t the only Brown to have made his start as a Texas cornerback. Tarell Brown, now a San Francisco cornerback, was also racking up impressive statistics during his college career. Starting 35 out of 47 games, Tarell Brown tallied 172 tackles during his four years as a Longhorn.
Tarell Brown has spent six seasons with the 49ers, and has recorded 57 tackles this season, a career best. He played a key role in snagging a win against the Packers when he intercepted Aaron Rodgers’ pass, which spurred another 49ers touchdown.
Teammate Leonard Davis also has burnt orange roots. The 49ers guard, and the largest player on the team, was once a powerful offensive tackle for Texas, lovingly dubbed the “Dancin’ Bear” by his teammates and coaches. After starting all 12 games as a senior, he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinalsin 2001.
Davis has a wide variety of NFL experience. After playing six seasons for the Cardinals, he then played for the Cowboys for four seasons before heading to Detroit and finally to San Francisco. Davis has played in 16 games for the 49ers this season, although he has yet to start a game.