How Does Latest Player Arrest Affect Texas Longhorns?
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
In what's becoming an all-too-familiar rite of spring passage for college football players, another arrest has occurred over the weekend.
Texas Longhorn receiver Kendall Sanders was arrested early Saturday morning in Brazos County, Texas on a charge of driving while intoxicated—the 18-year-old was released on a $3,000 bond later that morning, according to an ESPN report.
Sanders was vying for a top spot on the depth chart and this latest incident certainly won't help him get in good graces with head coach Mack Brown. In fact, his current legal trouble puts the Longhorns in a tough position at wide receiver, as a report from ESPN notes:
Sanders, a sophomore, is the third Texas player to run afoul of the law since February. Quarterback Connor Brewer was arrested for public intoxication and minor possession on February 2. Wide receiver Cayleb Jones is accused of aggravated assault against Texas tennis player Joey Swaysland and is due in court on April 22.
Sanders and Jones were both angling to become starters. After Jones was suspended and with his future with the Longhorns uncertain due to legal trouble, it appeared as if Sanders would slide right into the starting role.
Unrelated to the Sanders arrest, Texas moved cornerback Duke Thomas recently to wide receiver in order to bolster a thinning group of players.
The Longhorns finally go into spring practice with a designated starting quarterback, but now the wide receiver corps depth is suddenly a possible question mark.
If Sanders is found guilty then we should expect some sort of punishment including, but not limited to, a suspension. But if Jones is suspended as well, the team's chemistry may change. It's one thing to lose players to injury—it's part of the sport—but it's entirely different when players are lost due to actions off the field.
Brown, too, may face a backlash over this, especially since he has faced some harsh criticism from his detractors lately. Despite his incredible record—only two of his 15 Texas teams have had less than nine wins—the last few years have been considered unacceptable by some of the Longhorn fans. In particular, the defense had some glaring weaknesses last season but Brown has pledged to fix that.
I expect the veteran players to turn to younger players and demand they step up to the task. This is Texas football and the roster is riddled with blue chip talent—the only thing missing from this team is a defense full of passion and a nasty edge.
Nothing makes players forget the off-season faster than a solid fall practice.
A win over Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry couldn't hurt either.
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