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Texas Football's Decade of Dominance: The Top 10 Longhorns From 2001-2010

Constantine MadiasCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2017

Decade Of Dominance: The Top 10 Texas Longhorn Football Players From 2001-2010

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    Since Mack Brown's arrival to the University of Texas football program in 1998, he's coached up an astounding number of great players in his time.

    The Longhorns went only 5-7 in 2010, but were marvelous for the rest of the decade, appearing in two BCS National Championship games (1-1) and going 7-2 in all of their bowl games.

    From Vince Young, to Colt McCoy, to Cedric Benson, Texas was packed with talent over the last 10 years, and the school currently has the most players represented in the NFL as of 2010 (49 players).

    Here's a list of the 10 best University of Texas football players over the past decade.

10. Earl Thomas (2008-2009)

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    Earl Thomas' run with Texas was short, but sweet.

    He was first-team All Big 12 and a Jim Thorpe Award finalist in 2009.

    Thomas had 8 INT's in 2009 too, which led the team.

    ET started every game as a redshirt freshman in 2008 too; he was just that good.

    Thomas was recently drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and he had a productive rookie season.

9. Nathan Vasher (2000-2003)

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    Nathan Vasher started at strong safety for the Longhorns in 2001.

    He later switched to cornerback in 2002 and 2003, and went on to tie the school record for interceptions by a defensive player, with 17.

    Vasher was an All-American punt returner in 2001, and is widely-regarded as one of the best Texas defenders of all time.

    He's currently playing in the NFL with the Detroit Lions.

8. Michael Huff (2002-2005)

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    Huff was a First Team All-American safety in 2005.

    He won the Jim Thorpe Award for the country's best defensive back in 2005 as well.

    Michael Huff was very well known for his vision and his nose for the ball, as he set a school record for interceptions returned for touchdowns (4) while at Texas.

    Huff was also a 2005-2006 National Champion.

    He was a first round draft selection by the Oakland Raiders in 2006, and is currently still playing for them.

7. Jordan Shipley (2006-2009)

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    Jordan Shipley is without a doubt one of the best receivers to suit up in burnt orange.

    He was a double threat as a wide receiver and a returner, and had his best season as a senior with Colt McCoy as his quarterback. How about 116 receptions, 1485 yards and 13 touchdowns?

    Phenomenal.

    He's shown shades of Wes Welker throughout his football career, with an excellent pair of hands.

    Shipley was insanely consistent, and set several Texas receiving/returning records in his tenure.

    He was drafted in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, and is currently developing as a slot receiver.

6. Brian Orakpo (2004-2008)

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    Orakpo had an unbelievable season as a senior in 2008.

    With 40 tackles and 11 sacks as a defensive end, he piled up the awards.

    He was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner as the best defensive player, the Ted Hendricks Award winner as the nation's best defensive end, and Lombardi Award winner as the nation's best defensive lineman or linebacker.

    Orakpo was even a unanimous All-American selection in 2008.

    Brian Orakpo had one of the best single seasons for a defensive player in Longhorns history.

    He was the 13th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, by the Washington Redskins.

5. Roy Williams (2000-2003)

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    Even still today, when Roy Williams scores a touchdown for his NFL team, he gives the "Hook Em' Horns" sign.

    He's by far the most decorated wide receiver in Texas Longhorns history, as he owns the school records for most career catches, yards, and touchdowns.

    Williams was one of the most highly-touted receivers to ever play college football, and his acrobatic catches and leaping ability have put him on several highlight reels. 

    He had a career 241 catches, 3,866 yards, and 36 touchdowns at Texas.

    Williams currently plays for the Dallas Cowboys, and was drafted by the Detroit Lions with the seventh pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.

4. Derrick Johnson (2001-2004)

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    Derrick Johnson is a football icon at the University of Texas.

    He's one of the most complete linebackers to ever play for Mack Brown.

    Johnson was a two-time consensus First-Team All-American (2003, 2004), and won both the Dick Butkus Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy in 2004.

    From 2002-2004, Johnson recorded three straight seasons of at least 120 tackles. Keep in mind, these guys only played 12-13 games a season. In total, he had 458 tackles in 50 games.

    He went 15th overall to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005.

3. Cedric Benson (2001-2004)

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    He's second only to Ricky Williams as Texas' best running back of all time.

    Benson was a Freshman All-American, and won the 2004 Doak Walker Award as the nation's best running back.

    He had 1,834 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior in 2004, both top-five marks in school history.

    At the end of his dominant tenure for Texas, Benson was second on the UT all time rushing list behind Ricky Williams, and 7th all-time in Division I NCAA history.

    He was drafted fifth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

2. Colt McCoy (2006-2009)

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Daniel "Colt" McCoy is legendary at UT.

    He never won a National Championship, which is the reason he couldn't be number one on this list.

    He holds Texas records for most career touchdown passes, total touchdowns, most career wins as a quarterback (45), and the most passing yards in a single season.

    On a National scale, he holds records for the highest single season completion percentage (76.7), most wins by a starting quarterback in Division I NCAA history (again, 45), and he's the only quarterback to have 10+ wins per season all four years.

    This kid was ridiculous, even scoring 20 career touchdowns with his feet.

    He changed the quarterback position at Texas forever, and if not for his injury in the 2010 National Championship game, they might have won.

    He was a third round pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2010 NFL Draft, and he's currently the starting quarterback in Cleveland. 

1. Vince Young (2003-2005)

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    He's the best player to ever put on a Texas uniform.

    Young engineered one of the finest drives ever seen in the closing minutes of 2006 Rose Bowl against USC, winning a National Championship for Texas.

    In that same season, Young threw for 26 TD's, and had over 1,000 rushing yards with 12 rushing touchdowns.

    He's the only player in NCAA Division I history to throw for 3,000+ yards and rush for 1,000+ in a single season (2005).

    Young went on to win the Maxwell Award as college player of the Year in 2005, the Rose Bowl MVP in 2005, the Davey O'Bren National Quarterback Award in 2005, and he was an All-American in 2005.

    His Rose Bowl performance landed him an ESPY, and he finished second to Reggie Bush in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2005. Bush later forfeited his trophy.

    Young displayed versatility at the quarterback position that nobody had ever seen.

    He was named the 10th best college player of all time according to ESPN.

    "VY" was drafted third overall in 2006 by the Titans, and is currently a free agent.

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