Texas football has seen a lot of ups and downs over the last couple of years. From their near-perfect seasons in 2008-09 and their steep decline in 2010 to the rebuilding process in 2011, the current Longhorns bunch has experienced it all.
This is especially true of the seniors, who have won a conference championship, played in the national championship game and then recorded one of the worst seasons in recent memory. While most of the old lot will be replaced by one of the top-ranked recruiting classes in the country, there are a few seniors whose services Texas will miss.
The impact of their departure will be felt on the Longhorns, until they find suitable—and reliable—replacements, and this might take some time and effort on part of the coaching staff.
Justin Tucker's rugby-style punts have continued to give the Longhorn defense much-needed breathing room during his four years with the team. To add to this, he even took on placekicking responsibilities after Hunter Lawrence's departure in 2009.
Today, Tucker is an important part of an offense that's currently ranked 82nd in the nation in third down conversions and often needs a punt to bail it out of tough spots.
Even his field goal percentage is in the high 80s, making him one of the main point-scorers for the 'Horns.
Kheeston Randall's presence has been overwhelming for most of Texas' opponents this year. Even in the blowout loss against the Sooners, Randall was one of the few sparks on the 'Horns defense.
During his four years in a burnt orange jersey, Randall has made his presence felt with some crucial blocks and tackles. While Texas stumbled to a 5-7 record in 2010, Randall had an outstanding year that saw him post 23 solo tackles and a sack.
Needless to say, the Longhorns will miss his services next year.
Like Randall, Keenan Robinson also had a good 2010. This year seems no different for this fifth-year senior who has managed 25 solo tackles so far this year.
In a defense that has not managed to force too many turnovers, Robinson has managed to keep a check on the opposition's running game. While Texas' defense has so far left a lot to be desired, Robinson seems to be on the mark with some timely plays.
He's, undoubtedly, an asset for first-year defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and features heavily in his schemes.
Blake Gideon has suited up for every game since he came to the Forty Acres in 2008. Over his four seasons, he's become an important part of the 'Horns defensive backfield. He has had his unfortunate moments—most notably the spilled interception during the 2008 Texas Tech game—but he's been largely reliable.
This three-time honorable All-Big 12 selection is having another stellar year and is on the Thorpe Award watch list. He's already made his presence felt on a shaky defense with 21 solo tackles and one sack.
Mack Brown and Manny Diaz will have a tough time replacing him next year.
Another remnant of the Colt McCoy era, Emmanuel Acho has only gotten better over the years. This year, he's even on the watch lists of a few individual honors, including the Butkus Award.
During most of his Longhorn career, Acho lived in his older brother, Sam's shadow, but has now started to come into his own. He's recorded 49 tackles, including 21 solo attempts, in 2011. He has also registered 2.0 sacks so far.
He'll have a big part to play in ensuring Texas makes it to a respectable bowl game this year.
In Texas' ever-changing offense, David Snow has been a rare constant. Having played in every game since he was a freshman, he will be a tough act to follow.
While the offense is having a mixed season so far, Snow is one of the few bright spots up front that has made it possible for the 'Horns to execute some spectacular plays on the ground.