When Super Bowl XLVIII concludes on Sunday, at least one former Longhorn defensive player will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
This year’s game features Seattle’s Earl Thomas against Denver’s Michael Huff and Quentin Jammer, continuing a tradition in which a former Longhorn has made it to the Super Bowl every year since 2007.
Texas junior cornerback Quandre Diggs, who is Jammer’s younger brother, is excited for the matchup and to see the trio represent Texas as “Defensive Back University.”
“It means a lot just to know that pretty much every year for a long time there has been a DB in that game,” Diggs said. ”No matter who wins, we know a DB will get the Super Bowl.”
Earl Thomas, safety:
Thomas was drafted No. 14 overall by the Seahawks in the 2010 NFL draft, following a sensational redshirt sophomore season in which he was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist.
Thomas is regarded by many to be the best safety in the NFL and is a crucial piece in the Seahawks’ secondary. If the Seahawks are going to win, they will need their defense to step up, which means Thomas playing at a high level. Though it wouldn’t be a surprise if he makes a game-changing play, Thomas is focused on just doing the little things right.
“You see a lot of guys that aren’t tackling as well; they’re not doing as well as they started,” Thomas said. “That’s what it’s all about — sticking to your core beliefs, sticking to who you are and everything else will take care of itself.”
Of the three Longhorns in the game, Thomas has the most potential to decide the game with a decisive interception or pass breakup.
Michael Huff, safety:
Huff was drafted seventh overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2006 NFL draft, following the 2005 season, in which he became Texas’ first Thorpe Award winner while helping the Longhorns to their first national title in 35 years.
Huff’s best season was in 2010 when he recorded career-highs in tackles, sacks, forced fumbles and interceptions en route to being named a second-team All-Pro safety. He spent his first seven seasons in Oakland before being cut in March 2013, he was later picked up by the Ravens before being cut again mid-season. Now Huff is on the verge of winning the Super Bowl, having been picked up by the Broncos in November. With the humbling experience of losing in Oakland behind him, he realizes the need to seize the moment now.
“Those years in Oakland, getting cut by two teams this year,” Huff said. “To know nothing but winning in college, struggle for seven years and never even get to the playoffs, all of those losing seasons, just makes what I’m feeling right now extra special.”
Quentin Jammer, cornerback:
Jammer was drafted fifth overall in 2002 by the San Diego Chargers, after being named a unanimous All-American in 2001.
In 2009, Jammer was named to the Chargers’ 50th anniversary team as a cornerback. After 11 seasons with San Diego, the Broncos picked him up and he is now primarily cornerback Champ Bailey’s backup. Like Huff, Jammer probably won’t have much impact in the game, though he should see some important playing time.
“I am excited to be able to share it with him and go up there and be by his side through the rest of the weekend and hope they go out and get the win,” Diggs said.