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Colt McCoy: The Heart and Soul of the 2009 Texas Longhorns

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Colt McCoy: The Heart and Soul of the 2009 Texas Longhorns
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Overlooked time and time again, Colt McCoy is still standing.

On July 26, 2004 Mack Brown accepted the commitment of highly touted Louisiana prepster Ryan Perrilloux. Perrilloux had the size, foot speed, and arm strength that made scouts drool. Over the course of the next year, things soured between Perrilloux and Texas, and Perrilloux pulled a switcheroo on signing day, opting to play for his hometown school, LSU.

It was a slow divorce process, as Longhorn fans knew late in the game that Perrilloux's heart wasn't in Austin. Many were distraught. It was viewed as a huge loss at the time. Longhorn nation couldn't have known how fortunate they'd be.

Perrilloux became a head case and, aside from a few bright spots like an SEC title game MVP in 2007, his career was troubled and disappointing.

Texas was left with a two-star quarterback from a West Texas High School that nobody had ever heard of. That quarterback was Colt McCoy.

After the recruiting tango with Perrilloux ended with Perrilloux in purple and gold, Colt McCoy was the last man standing. McCoy red shirted his freshman year and watched Vince Young enter college football lore against USC. With a title and a sure fire top 10 selection in the NFL draft looming, Young left school, leaving Colt as the heir apparent.

It wasn't exactly smooth sailing for McCoy. Texas signed another highly touted signal caller, Jevan Snead. The two battled for the starting job which McCoy ended up winning. He got off to a rough start that included a home loss to Ohio State.

Fans clamored for more playing time for Snead, but Mack Brown held firm. Slowly but surely, McCoy started to cement himself as the unquestioned leader of the Longhorn offense.

Texas looked poised to win a Big 12 title, needing just one win in their final two games against Kansas State and Texas A&M.

The unthinkable happened.

McCoy got hurt early in the Kansas State game, the Longhorns couldn't stop the Wildcats, and any outside shot at a national title game appearance was gone.

McCoy clearly wasn't 100 percent two weeks later, and the Aggies stunned the Longhorns, sending Oklahoma to the Big 12 title game. Texas settled for an unsatisfying Alamo Bowl win over Iowa.

Snead saw the writing on the wall and transferred to Mississippi, once again leaving Colt McCoy the last man standing. Unfortunately, 2007 was a constant struggle. The completion percentage and touchdown numbers were solid, but McCoy threw interceptions in bunches.

If not for some herculean fourth quarter performances from running back Jamaal Charles, 2007 would have been a bigger disappointment than the three loss season already was.

McCoy persevered and got bigger and stronger and 2008 started off in miraculous fashion. Nobody expected the Longhorns to beat Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, but the Horns did just that.

Suddenly, Texas was the number one team in the country, and McCoy the Heisman front runner. Then, on a wild night in Lubbock, the dream turned to a nightmare.

After clawing back from a big deficit, McCoy took the Longhorns ahead against Texas Tech with 89 seconds left. That was 89 seconds too many. Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree rallied the Red Raiders, and the national title and Heisman dreams were gone.

To make matters worse, the Longhorns had to sit and watch as arch rival Oklahoma, whom they beat by 10 points on a neutral field, played for a national title against a team that lost to McCoy's former back up, Snead.

That motivates McCoy and the rest of his Longhorns today, and there is no doubt they are among the most talented teams in the nation. Texas returns four starters on the offensive line and an array of talented skill position players.

Aside from a troubling lack of depth on the interior defensive line, the defense is also loaded with talent. Sergio Kindle will probably be a top 10 pick as a 3-4 linebacker. Offensive Tackle Adam Ulatoski could be a first round pick.

Wide receiver Malcolm Williams and Cornerback Aaron Williams could have breakout seasons, but for the Longhorns, it all comes down to the heart and soul of Longhorn nation, Colt McCoy.

McCoy and the Longhorns will be pushed by the defending champions and the defending runners up, both helmed by Heisman trophy winning quarterbacks. But for a small town kid overlooked by more heralded players on a couple of occasions, nothing can phase Colt.

Heck, Tebow or Bradford can win the Heisman again for all Colt cares. As long as the Longhorns hoist the crystal trophy in Pasadena in January, the rest of it won't matter. It'll be tough to bet against McCoy. The kid has a history of being the last man standing.

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