Alex Okafor

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

1. DE Cedric Reed (Jr.)

With Alex Okafor now in the NFL, Reed is the man expected to fill the void at defensive end for a Texas defense that has plenty to prove this season. Fortunately for the Longhorns, he enters the season with some experience under his belt after filling in when Jackson Jeffcoat went down with a season-ending pectoral injury against Oklahoma. Although Reed had his best performance of the season against Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl, racking up three solo tackles and 1.5 sacks, Texas needs him to build off of last season and provide consistent pressure against opposing offenses. With Jeffcoat playing opposite him and likely to draw double teams from New Mexico State’s offensive line, Reed should get plenty of opportunities to start the 2013 season off with a bang. 

2. RB/WR Daje Johnson (So.)

Coming off a freshman year filled with several highlight-reel plays but also inconsistent play, the speedy Johnson has shown that he is more than capable of providing a spark for Texas’ offense. With Jaxon Shipley’s status for Saturday’s game in doubt due to lingering injuries and New Mexico State weary of senior Mike Davis, Johnson should see an increased workload. In a game where the Longhorns are expected to score early and often, look for Johnson to break out against the Aggies’ paltry defense.  

3. S Adrian Phillips (Sr.)

Much has been said this offseason about Texas’  desire to turns things around on defense this year after a horrendous showing in 2012. In order for that to happen, the Longhorns need Phillips to step up as the leader of the secondary now that Kenny Vaccaro is no longer around. That means Phillips, who struggled at times last year with tackling, will need to show he is the full package. Although the Aggies by no means represent the biggest challenge Phillips and the Longhorns defense will face all year, it’s crucial he comes out confident and plays aggressively.

4. RB Malcolm Brown (Jr.)

Brown was one of several key Longhorns who spent much of the 2012 season on the sideline due to injuries and, as a result, saw his touches reduced when he returned to the lineup at the end of the season. With Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron still around, Brown needs to stand out in a crowded backfield and show he can still contribute at a high level. With a healthy ankle and plenty of motivation after last year’s frustrations, Brown should come out with a full head of steam.

Former Longhorn quarterback Vince Young is now the likely backup quar- terback for the Packers after the team released quarterback Gra- ham Harrell on Friday evening. Young has been out of the NFL since 2011. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Kenny Vaccaro
New Orleans Saints

After an impressive career in burnt orange, Kenny Vaccaro joined New Orleans in the first of the 2013 NFL Draft — the first time in franchise history the Saints drafted a safety that early. The 15th overall pick will strengthen the Saints’ defensive backfield, which was the second-worst in the league last season. The hard-hitting Vaccaro recorded 92 tackles in his final season at Texas and tallied two interceptions. He’s already created a buzz around the Saints’ organization after starting a few on-field skirmishes, most notably with veteran tight end Jimmy Graham. 


Marquise Goodwin
Buffalo Bills
Wide Receiver

Former Olympian and Longhorn Marquise Goodwin established himself as an impact player early on for the Bills this preseason. Goodwin, a third-round pick in 2013, returned a kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown in his first preseason game. 

Goodwin will add needed speed and quickness to the Bills’ return game. 


Alex Okafor
Arizona Cardinals
Outside Linebacker

The Arizona Cardinals selected Alex Okafor in third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The defensive lineman set a number of records during his senior season, which included a 4.5 sack effort in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Okafor, who played defensive end at Texas, is listed as an outside linebacker on the Cardinals’ roster. Either way, expect Okafor to find a way to the quarterback.


Vince Young
Green Bay Packers

Young is back in the NFL after sitting out the 2012 season, after the Bills released him at the end of the preseason. The Packers released Graham Harrell on Saturday evening, making it likely that Young will be the backup to Aaron Rodgers to start the season. Although he is firmly entrenched behind Rodgers on the depth chart, Young impressed in his preseason debut, throwing for 41 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 39 yards on three carries in Friday’s 17-10 loss to Seattle. 


Brian Orakpo
Outside Linebacker

Orakpo returns to the Redskins’ starting lineup in Week 1 after a torn pectoral muscle forced him out of the final 14 games of 2012. The Redskins hope that Orakpo, who has recorded 29.5 sacks in 49 career games, can return to form as a pass-rusher. If he can, it would be a huge aid to the 30th-ranked pass defense in the NFL. Now in a contract season, the 27-year-old outside linebacker is healthy and primed for a productive year in Washington.


Aaron Ross

Ross will play a significant role in the Giants secondary, especially after cornerback Jayron Hosley left Saturday’s preseason game with an ankle injury. If Hosley is unable to return for the season opener, Ross could slot as the Giants’ third cornerback behind Prince Amukamara and Corey Webster. In the pass-happy NFC East, look for Ross to see plenty of time in New York’s secondary.

Senior cornerback Carrington Byndom (23) is one returning starting defender that should help Texas back to dominance in a different looking Big 12 conference.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

With the NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, the Texas football program can now set its sights on a promising 2013 season. Despite the departure of team captains Kenny Vaccaro and Alex Okafor, the Longhorns will be looking to reach double-digit wins for the first time since 2009. The question is: will they?

Looking ahead to their schedule this fall, things appear to be falling into place for the Longhorns. The top five quarterbacks in the Big 12 last year — Geno Smith, Landry Jones, Collin Klein, Nick Florence and Seth Doege —  all graduated and left gaping holes in their teams’ backfields. Considering three of the Longhorns’ four losses in 2012 came to those quarterbacks, that should bode very well for Texas.

And it doesn’t stop there. The Longhorns’ upcoming opponents had a combined .530 win percentage last year, including two teams that won only one game apiece. In fact, only two teams that Texas will play in 2013 won more than eight games last season: the Kansas State Wildcats and the Oklahoma Sooners. Though the Red River Rivalry is another story, the Wildcats shouldn’t scare Texas without Klein, who was the Heisman front-runner for most of 2012.

The next question then is whether the Longhorns will bring enough to the table to take advantage of what appears to be a golden opportunity to reclaim the Big 12 throne? When looking at the Texas’ roster, there’s no doubt that Vaccaro and Okafor will be missed. Both were a presence in the locker room, providing leadership to a Longhorns team that featured underclassmen at almost every starting position. Even more so, the duo usually provided the lone bright spots for a defense that was statistically the worst in Texas history. Vaccaro was the only semi-reliable tackler on the team, recording a team-high 96 tackles. 

Okafor did his part, too, leading the team with 18 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks, 4.5 of which came in the Longhorns’ 31-27 Alamo Bowl victory over Oregon State. 

That being said, the Longhorns still have plenty of talent remaining on defense, especially in the areas that their seniors vacated. With Okafor and Vaccaro gone, the torch is now passed to Quandre Diggs, Carrington Byndom and Jackson Jeffcoat, all of whom are expected to make big moves in 2013. Diggs and Byndom combined for seven interceptions last year and should form one of the nation’s top defensive back duos.  Along the line of scrimmage, Jeffcoat should dominate in a way that will remind Texas fans of Sergio Kindle. Despite playing in only six games last year, he finished second to Okafor with 11 tackles for loss and four sacks. The Longhorns look good on the offensive end, too. They have a stable of running backs, including Johnathan Gray and the lightning-quick Daje Johnson, as well as a seasoned receiving corps that shouldn’t miss Marquise Goodwin too much. Texas has tons of big-play ability to boast. There are still questions that need to be answered, though. Will David Ash, in his third year starting, make the necessary strides to guide Texas to a Big 12 title? With most of the conference’s premier quarterbacks gone, he stands alone as the only signal-caller who has won two bowl games. No doubt, big things will be expected of him. Additionally, Major Applewhite’s ability to call plays will have a huge impact on this offense. If he struggles like Bryan Harsin did, expect Texas to have trouble scoring against top defenses.

Senior wide receiver Mike Davis (1) enjoyed a productive junior year, and if he continues to refine his skills in his last season at Texas he could be the next Longhorn to make it to the NFL. Davis is joined by other upperclassmen as well as a few others as potential NFL prospects

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Former Texas players Kenny Vaccaro, Marquise Goodwin, Alex Okafor and Brandon Moore fulfilled their childhood dreams last week, earning spots on four different NFL rosters. As Texas heads into the fall season, the spotlight will shine on seniors eager to prove themselves in the eyes of NFL scouts and coaches.

Wide receiver Mike Davis is among those entering his final year as a Longhorn. After seeing significant playing time in his freshman and sophomore years, Davis started 11 times in 2012, leading the team in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and yards per catch. Davis was a second team All-Big 12 choice by the San Antonio Express-News and the Dallas Morning News.

Entering the draft was a possibility this year for Davis, as he bounced back and forth on whether to remain at Texas or leave for the NFL. After discussing his options with Texas coaches and his family, Davis decided to stay.

“It’s been tough for me,” Davis told ESPN’s Joe Schad. “I did plan on coming out [for the draft], but I need to do this one more time. I want to try to win the Biletnikoff award. Those guys at Texas deserve another year.”

Returning for his final year means Davis will have a chance to increase his efficiency on the field and boost his tapes with more catches. 

“I took it upon myself to be a senior leader and help the other receivers get better,” Davis said. 

2013 will mark offensive guard Mason Walters’ fifth and final season at Texas. After missing the bulk of his freshman season with a foot injury, Walters returned to start 12 games during his second season and win UT’s Frank Medina Rehabilitation Award. 

Walters has started all 13 games during his past two seasons. He was a 2012 honorable mention All-Big 12 selection and named to the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award watch lists. 

Walters is already 17th on’s list of top offensive guards heading into the 2014 NFL Draft. 

Jackson Jeffcoat earned buzz from sports analysts and columnists heading into the 2012 season as a top draft prospect.  

The heavily recruited Plano West defensive end played in eight games during his first year at Texas and started 12 as a sophomore, missing only one start due to injury.  His promising junior year was cut short by a right pectoral muscle rupture during the Texas-Oklahoma game.  Despite the injury, Jeffcoat still managed to come in second on the team in tackles for loss
and sacks.  

Athleticism is in Jeffcoat’s blood: his father, Jim Jeffcoat, was a well-known NFL lineman who played for both the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills.  

Jackson, lauded for his speed and flexibility on the field, still has analysts abuzz with his potential to land a spot in the early rounds of the 2014 draft. Now, Jeffcoat will have 2013 to prove himself after his recovery. 

Former Longhorns wide receiver Marquise Goodwin runs after the catch during the Alamo Bowl against Oregon State. Goodwin was drafted to the Buffalo Bills over the weekend with the 78th pick. 

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Three former Longhorns will boast new jerseys, new teams and new cities after being selected during the 2013 NFL Draft this past week.

Safety Kenny Vaccaro was selected in the first round of the draft as the 15th overall pick by the New Orleans Saints. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was picked 78th overall by the Buffalo Bills in the third round while defensive end Alex Okafor was chosen as the 103rd overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals.

First off the board for the Longhorns was Vaccaro, who had made it his goal to be the first safety chosen. Without waiting too long on Thursday at Radio City Music Hall, his wish was granted.

“This is just the beginning,” Vaccaro said. “Now I have to keep working hard to get to New Orleans and make an impact.”

Vaccaro was a strong prospect heading into the draft after leading the Longhorns in tackles in 2012. 

“I have been grinding my whole life, literally since I was four years old, for this opportunity,” Vaccaro said. “The Saints were my last visit, and I had a good feeling about it.”

Goodwin, well aware of the other talented players still up for grabs, didn’t pay much attention to the draft Friday night, during which he got the call from the Buffalo Bills.

“I was just sitting out there throwing the football with my brothers and sitting on the back of the truck talking,” Goodwin said. “I was like, ‘Dude, I don’t even think I’m going to go today. There are still receivers ranked ahead of me on the board.’ I got the call while I was on the back of the truck.”

Being chosen as a new member of an NFL team came after a whirlwind eight months for Goodwin, during which he competed at the Olympics in London and finished out his senior year of football, forgoing his last season of track to prepare for the draft. 

“[My time at Texas] really taught me patience and how to persevere through thick and thin,” Goodwin said. “I went off the board before guys that had a lot more catches and yards than I did. But I’ve got a wonderful opportunity in front of me, and I’m just going to make the most of it.”

For Goodwin, Buffalo comes with some familiar ties. Former Longhorn and current Buffalo Bills safety Aaron Williams is a close friend while men’s head track coach Bubba Thornton also played as a wide receiver for the Bills. 

Okafor said he couldn’t stop smiling after the call he received from the Arizona Cardinals.

“It’s just a blessing,” Okafor said. “No matter what team you go to, when you get that call on draft day you’re already in love with the team. Really, that is all you can ask for.”

Two other former Longhorns, defensive end Sam Acho and center Lyle Sendlein, are already on the Cardinals roster. 

For Okafor, who many analysts predicted would be chosen in the second round, the phone call that came upon his selection was a welcomed end to the waiting game.

“I expected to be called yesterday,” Okafor said on Saturday. “It was a long wait yesterday. But God has a plan for me. Today I couldn’t be any happier.”  

Alex Okafor chosen by Cardinals as 103rd overall pick

Alex Okafor is trading burnt orange for bright red. 

Okafor, a defensive end, was chosen by the Arizona Cardinals as the 103rd overall pick in the fourth round of the NFL Draft Saturday morning.

“Alex was so unselfish,” head coach Mack Brown said.  “He played anywhere we asked him to.  When we were short on the defensive line two years ago, at 260 pounds he played all year and never griped one bit. He became a great team leader.”

He follows a line of Longhorns picked by the Cardinals, including center Lyle Sendlein, defensive end Lance Wilson, offensive guard Leonard Davis and fellow defensive end Sam Acho, who was also the 103rd pick, in 2011. Acho and Sendlein are currently both on the Cardinals roster.

Okafor played four years for the Longhorns without redshirting, leading the team in sacks, quarterback pressures, forced fumbles and tackles for loss in his senior season. By the end of his collegiate career, Okafor had played in 52 games with 33 starts.  He was a two-time first team All-Big 12 choice and the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by 

A shining moment for Okafor came during the 2012 Alamo Bowl, during which he managed eight tackles and 4.5 sacks, effectively helping Texas set the Valero Alamo Bowl record for sacks. 

“I think his [best football] is ahead of him because he is going to get bigger and stronger,” Brown said.  “He has a lot of upside.”

Texas WR Marquise Goodwin picked by the Buffalo Bills in the third round of the NFL Draft

Former Longhorns wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday night, the second Texas player to be picked this year after safety Kenny Vaccaro was picked by the New Orleans Saints with the No. 15 pick of the draft Thursday.

Buffalo, who had used its first-round pick to take Florida State's E.J. Manuel, the first quarterback off the board at No. 16, drafted USC wide receiver Robert Woods in the second round before taking Goodwin in the third. The speedy wideout made just 26 catches for 340 yards and three touchdowns last season but wowed scouts with a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at this year's NFL Combine -- the fastest-ever by a receiver.

Goodwin was on both the Texas football and track teams, finishing 10th at the 2012 Olympic Games in the long jump. Now he'll focus on football as a member of the Bills, who had the 25th-ranked passing game in the NFL last year.

"Marquise, in my opinion, has his best football ahead of him," Texas head coach Mack Brown said. "He was such a star in track-winning the World Games in the long jump, being an Olympian, which was a goal of his and we sure didn't want to get in the way. But because of that, he was never in a spring practice, and he was never around in the summer. He has tremendous skills-leaping ability, speed, and hand-eye coordination. He his tough and can be a kick returner as well. We think he has a great up side and someone will be lucky to get him."

Goodwin will be the third former Longhorn in Buffalo, joining cornerback Aaron Williams, the last Texas player to be drafted by the Bills when they selected him in the second round of the 2011 draft, and offensive guard David Snow, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent last year. Buffalo's selection of Goodwin marks the sixth time a Longhorns wide receiver has been drafted since Brown was hired as Texas' head coach. Wayne McGarity (4th round, Dallas Cowboys, 1999), Roy Williams (first round, Detroit Lions, 2004), Sloan Thomas (seventh round, Houston Texans, 2004), Limas Sweed (second round, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008) and Jordan Shipley (third round, Cincinnati Bengals, 2010) were the other five Brown-coached Texas wideouts drafted.

Former Longhorns defensive end Alex Okafor tries to make a tackle against the TCU Horned Frogs on Thanksgiving Day last season. Okafor, who is expected to be drafted in the early rounds of the NFL draft, had eight tackles and 4.5 sacks in the 2012 Valero Alamo Bowl last December. 

Photo Credit: Andrew Torrey | Daily Texan Staff

At the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia in 1936, professional football teams selected their chosen players for the first-ever NFL draft.

Seventy-seven years later, teams are still doing it, with a few more rounds and slightly more advanced technology. The 2013 NFL draft will commence Thursday evening at New York City’s Radio Music Hall, bringing with it a cluster of Longhorns ready to sport the caps of their new teams.

Former Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro has earned buzz from scouts and coaches for his speed, strength and hard-hitting abilities. Vaccaro is considered by analysts to be one of the top safety prospects in the draft and will most likely go in the first round. Vaccaro was included in a small group of players invited to New York City for the draft.

“It is an experience he should enjoy,” head coach Mack Brown said of Vaccaro’s invitation. “It is a great compliment to not only Kenny and not only [assistant head coach/defensive backs coach] Duane Akina, but to our entire program.”

Rumors of teams thinking about drafting Vaccaro have included the Rams, Saints, Cowboys and Titans after had private workouts with the latter two. But Vaccaro is keeping an open mind in terms of rosters.

“I’m fired up to go anywhere,” Vaccaro said. “This has been a dream my whole life. Wherever I go, I’ll excel at that team.”

Defensive end Alex Okafor is also projected to be drafted in the early rounds, thanks to his power, fundamentally-sound hand usage and production as a pass rusher. Sporting his Texas jersey for the final time against Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl, Okafor tallied eight tackles and an Alamo Bowl record of 4.5 sacks. 

“Alex Okafor is a guy I like,” NFL analyst Mike Mayock said. “I love the way he sacked Geno Smith in the end zone [during the West Virginia game.] He has some burst off the edge. He does everything really well. He’s got good hustle.”   

Speedy wide receiver Marquise Goodwin wowed scouts and fans alike with a 4.27 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, the fastest in history by a wide receiver. Goodwin, who is an Olympic long jumper, is projected by some to go sometime during the fourth round. Despite the praise he’s earned for his quickness on the field, Goodwin said his speed often overshadows the other abilities he has to offer an NFL team.

“I definitely have a lot more to me than just my speed,” he said. “I’m physical, I block and I can catch, I can run routes, I can get open.”

Goodwin’s impressive performance at the senior bowl also grabbed the attention of scouts and analysts.

“I came out of the Senior Bowl going, ‘This kid’s a legitimate football player,’” Mayock said. “[He has] potential return skills [and] runs as fast as anybody in the NFL runs.”

Defensive tackle Brandon Moore surprised some with his announcement to enter the draft after just one season at Texas. Moore contributed including 18 tackles and two sacks this past season, alternating between inside and outside.

Moore’s size makes him a notable candidate, but lack of tapes could mean Moore will go in the mid-to-later rounds of the draft, analyst Rob Rang noted. 

Wide receiver D.J. Monroe could earn a spot on a team as a late draft pick. Monroe spent five years with the Longhorns but only started twice last season.

“I’m just ready to see who is interested and who is not,” Monroe said. “I’m ready for another step, another chapter to open. This is my last goal in life. I feel like I accomplished the rest, and now I’m about to show them I can play in the NFL.”


Christian Corona and Trey Scott muse their mock drafts. Corona has Vaccaro to the Rams at No. 16, while Scott has him going a pick earlier, to the Saints at No. 15.

Former Texas defensive star Alex Okafor looks onto the field during the Longhorns' final regular season game against Kansas State. After a strong performance at the Texas Pro Day, Okafor waits to find out where he will be next year with the NFL Draft approaching.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

The path to Alex Okafor’s NFL career began with the sports dreams of a bumbling toddler. 

“Alex started playing sports when he was four, so every season since age four he’s been playing something,” Sonia Okafor, Alex’s mother, said at Texas’ Pro Day in March.  “Football, basketball, soccer.  He’s been doing this all his life.”

Sonia watched Alex’s drills from the bleachers, brimming with motherly pride and a bright smile.

“You just want your kids to do the best they can do,” she said. “I asked him last night and he said he felt really comfortable, he was prepared and pretty calm.”

Okafor will deal with another bout of nerves with the approaching NFL draft, which begins April 25 and runs through April 27. Draft analysts at predict Okafor to be selected as early as the second round, citing his strength and control of his hands and feet during plays as notable qualities.

The defensive end and Pflugerville native leapt onto the Texas scene and did not hesitate to exert his influence in his first year. With 14 starts as both a defensive end and on special teams, the stage was set for a fruitful career as a Longhorn. 

He continued to improve as a sophomore, appearing in all 12 games and starting eight times, nailing 30 tackles by the end of the season. With his junior year came 13 starts and a slew of awards, including a first team All-Big 12 selection by coaches and first team All-Big 12 by a variety of news outlets. 

In his final year at Texas, Okafor stirred up impressive numbers, topping the Big 12 in sacks per game and leading the team in sacks, quarterback pressures, forced fumbles and tackles for loss. But a right hip injury he sustained at the end of the season led to less playing time against Kansas State.

The injury in his right hip forced him to miss the NFL combine, which made his performance at Texas Pro Day even more important for his prospective professional career.

“I wanted to show that I was healthy,” Okafor said after Texas’ Pro Day. “It’s just all mental. If you have a bad time, you can’t let that affect your whole day.  You’ve just got to block things out.”

And while he was coy in discussing specifics, Okafor seemed confident about his prospects.

“I met a lot of teams during the combine, a few teams right before this event, and I have a couple more scheduled,” he said at Texas Pro Day. “I don’t want to discuss what teams I have lined up, but I have some good things coming along.”

Head coach Mack Brown said Okafor’s versatility makes him a key asset for an NFL team to pick up.

“Alex can change directions and I think that’s what makes him so valuable to an NFL team,” Brown said.    

For Okafor — who was born in Dallas, lived in Arlington, moved to Houston and then Pflugerville before attending college in Austin — a shot at an NFL career could mean moving beyond the borders of the Lone Star State. But Okafor isn’t worried about sacrificing barbecue and southern hospitality for the pursuit of his dreams.

“It’s exciting times, and I like to move around,” he said. “I love home but I’m embracing the opportunity to go somewhere else.”

While Vince Young finalizes a degree in applied learning and development at Texas, he will also participate in the Longhorns’ Pro Day  in order to rekindle his relationship with the NFL.

Photo Credit: Matt Norris | Daily Texan Staff

For young NFL hopefuls, the Texas Pro Day will provide an opportunity to rub elbows with top coaches and other talented players. 

For more seasoned prospects like Vince Young, Pro Day will be a chance to prove themselves in the eyes of scouts in order to make a comeback. 

Tomorrow’s activities will allow Young, who is currently finishing up his degree at Texas, to retool the skills that made him a high draft pick in 2006.  

Young led Texas to a BCS National Championship in 2005, leaving many fans with hopes of a bright future for their star quarterback. But his professional story failed to inspire. After being drafted by the Titans and serving as a backup for the Eagles, Young was cut from the Buffalo Bills in 2012.  

Texas seniors entering the draft can showcase their skill sets in the familiar comfort zone of the Texas training facilities. While the official list of Pro Day attendees won’t be released until Tuesday, draft prospects Marquise Goodwin, Alex Okafor and Kenny Vaccaro can be expected because of their promising draft stock. 

The speedy receiver Goodwin clearly boasts running talent, but lacks the size of other top players. He dazzled at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.27 seconds, nearly surpassing the previous record set by running back Chris Johnson in 2008. 

Safety Vaccaro has hard-hitting abilities, speed and natural athleticism, and was a top performer in the 20-yard shuttle at the NFL Combine, notching an impressive time of 4.06. analysts peg Vaccaro to go in the first round of the draft. 

Then there’s Okafor, who is also projected to be selected early in the draft. The defensive end developed strength and firm control over his feet during his sophomore year as a defensive tackle. Last season, he tallied 12.5 sacks and led the Big 12 conference in sacks per game with .96. 

Former Texas cornerback Nathan Vasher, who later played six seasons with the Chicago Bears, said Texas players are groomed to succeed in an environment like Pro Day. 

“We’ve been prepared day in and day out to showcase our talent,” Vasher said. “When the day comes, it’s going to be one of the biggest interviews of your life, and the important thing is getting to that team and being the best you can be.”

Printed on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 as: Going out with class