Brennan Eagles has a chip on his shoulder. He should after what felt like a lost season with Texas due to COVID-19.
Although the numbers weren't there on the Longhorns' offense, there's upside to his potential. As Texas' Pro Day comes to an end, Eagles hopes there's enough for an NFL team to take a chance on him when on clock in April.
"I feel like I've been the underdog in a lot of situations," Eagles said following his Pro Day workouts on Thursday. "I'm a person of controlling the controllable. I try to do the best possible in the situation God has put me in."
Eagles couldn't control his status in Austin after coming out of Alief Taylor High School. Early on, he'd watch as a depth piece when Texas claimed they were "back" with a victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
His role only grew in 2019. The Longhorns regressed as a contender in the Big 12, but Eagles thrived as a weapon on the perimeter. Tallying 35 receptions for 522 yards and six touchdowns, Eagles couldn't wait for another season to shine in front of the home crowd.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 stepped in the way.
Eagles finished the season with a team-high 28 receptions for 469 yards and caught five touchdowns. The Longhorns would part ways with coach Tom Herman in the offseason, putting Eagles' future role in doubt.
He elected to declare for the draft instead of starting fresh with new head coach Steve Sarkisian. Without an NFL combine, his Pro Day was the first and only shot to let scouts see that untapped potential.
Eagles returned to Austin for the first time since his decision. He ran free out practice field for the last time as a Longhorn. He smiled as he was greeted by fellow teammates, each with the same goal of hearing their name called on draft weekend.
It's a moment he considers to be his favorite throughout the process.
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"Going away and training in a different facility for a long time, especially around people new faces you've never seen before is a little different," Eagles said. "I find my motivation through others.
"Being here today with a lot of people like Joe [Ossai], [Samuel] Cosmi, [Caden] Sterns, Tarik Black, Sam [Ehlinger], it's different. They've been there with me in hard times."
Eagles defines one of the most important traits on the gridiron as leadership. Some people have it, some don't.
That's Ehlinger's best trait, according to the wideout. It'll be the one to get him far towards the next level.
"He's that guy that's going to be vocal and speak when nobody wants to," Eagles said of his former quarterback. "That's a good thing about him. He has that chip on his shoulder."
Eagles would love to play with Ehlinger again. For now, the first goal is building his own path to the next level.
Control what you control? What happens next is out of Eagles' hands. With Pro Day over, it now it up to one of the 32 franchises to call his number.
Wherever that is, expect Eagles to have that chip in place all offseason.
Said Eagles: "As long as I'm living my ways to the man above, I see nobody stopping me. I see my dreams being accomplished."
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