Texas Football: Longhorns 2020 Draft Class Will Be Remembered for its Leadership

All five Texas players moving on to the NFL were team captains in 2019
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Texas' 2020 draft class didn't grab the same kind of headlines as others in the college football world. 

The Longhorns didn't produce a pick in the first two rounds and finished fourth in the conference behind TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor in draft picks with three. Two more went on to sign NFL free agent contracts at the conclusion of the draft. 

When it comes to legacies, however, the 2020 Texas draft class has etched its own place in school history. 

The 2020 draft class was Charlie Strong's last recruiting haul and part of Tom Herman's transition group. While the class' numbers whittled down due to the kind of attrition that happens through a transition, those that stayed behind took ownership in building the program. 

All five players - Devin Duvernay, Brandon Jones, Collin Johnson, Zach Shackelford and Malcolm Roach - were team captains in 2019. 

"It’s a great lesson to all the young guys out there that you can be really talented, but if your goal is to just lace your cleats up and go play, you’re never going to achieve your maximum potential," Texas head coach Tom Herman said. "These are five guys that, not because they’re captains, but because of who they are they became captains. And because of who they are, they have been able to maximize their potential and their capabilities.”

While the 2019 season didn't go as planned for the Longhorns, but many Texas fans may not realize how close it came to going completely off the rails. 

Had it not been for senior leadership, the Longhorns probably would have faced a disastrous home loss to Kansas and potentially another one to Kansas State. Those two defeats would have flipped a 7-5 season to 5-7 really quickly.

Even as senior players skipping out on bowl games to prepare for the NFL Draft becomes more prevalent, Herman doesn't recall even having a significant conversation about any of his guys taking that path. 

“Them playing in the bowl game was a testament to a lot of things – first and foremost their love for The University of Texas," Herman said. "But their love of their teammates and wanting to help send the rest of the seniors out on a high note beating a top-10 team in a top-tier bowl game. It’s their selflessness. There’s a reason they’re captains. Obviously, Brandon (Jones) was hurt. But had he not been, he was going to play. And I have to be honest, there really wasn’t a whole lot of discussion. There wasn’t really a sales job by myself or any other coach to try to convince them to play in the game. This was something that all of these guys wanted to do and I don’t think they ever doubted it for one minute.”

Should Herman's rebuild get back on track next season, the 2020 class may go down as the middle children of that success story to the casual observer. Those who spent time around the program over the past few years can attest to this group's significant  

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