As the end of the fall semester arrives, college football fans always do a little nail-biting in anticipation of whether there will be any ineligible players for their team’s bowl game. Around the Forty Acres, it’s become an unfortunate commonality there will be some Texas Longhorns staying behind in Austin due to their failure to meet their academic responsibilities.
This time around, a trio of Longhorns are academically ineligible for the team’s Alamo Bowl matchup with the Oregon Ducks on Monday, December 30th in San Antonio. Redshirt freshman running back Jalen Overstreet, sophomore offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle and sophomore running back/wideout Daje Johnson have all been ruled out and will not see any further football action with Texas until spring practice at the earliest.
Overstreet was used sparingly during the course of the 2013 season, with his biggest output coming with a three touchdown performance against the New Mexico State Aggies in Week 1. Johnson has been in one degree of trouble or another since his arrival at Texas, being suspended once for a team rules violation as a freshman, for another team rules violation earlier this season and now for academics. There are rumblings around the Texas program this third strike may have been the last one for Johnson who could be released from the team depending upon how the new head coach — whomever that may be — evaluates his commitment to the team and his level of personal discipline, which certainly appears to be lacking.
Estelle had seen a greater level of playing time toward the end of this season with injuries along the Texas front-line but hasn’t been an impact player per se during his two years with the Longhorns.
As someone who worked for the athletic academic services offices at Texas for two years as a tutor, working directly with the school’s student athletes on their academic pursuits, I can vouch first-hand that failing to make your grades under that structure actually, in a strange way, requires effort. Every resource under the sun is made available to athletes at Texas to help them meet their academic requirements, and the majority of them do so with some moderate effort and discipline.
To not meet the minimum standards at Texas is just laziness and neglect.
While the third strike for Daje Johnson may have sealed his fate at Texas, Longhorn fans can only hope that this will be an isolated incident for both Overstreet and Estelle who have promise and could both have a role in the program going forward in 2014.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer, Business Analyst and College Content Coordinator for Rant Sports.