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Report: Three Texas Longhorns players facing suspensions
The next wave of attrition could be only temporary.
It appears that the Purge is over for the Texas Longhorns following crucial Monday meetings between players and head coach Charlie Strong, but there remains a possibility that three players are facing suspensions for violating team rules, according to Horns Digest, which cited sources in its report.
The three players in question are junior wide receiver Daje Johnson, senior offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, and junior offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle. All three are either projected starters or important contributors.
Johnson's name being associated with potential issues is hardly a surprise given his past problems in the classroom and in violating team rules, which happened multiple times and resulted in multiple suspensions across his first two years at Texas.
Assessing how much losing him would hurt the Texas offense depends to some extent on how the staff planned on using him entering the fall -- he didn't see any action at running back in the spring despite a lack of depth at the position and wasn't used on jet sweeps either.
Was that a reflection of how offensive coordinator Joe Wickline and play caller Shawn Watson want to use him or a message to Johnson that he needed to take care of business in the classroom before receiving a feature role in the offense?
Now, with the offense looking for playmakers and the suspensions of junior wide receiver Kendall Sanders and redshirt freshman wide receiver Montrel Meander, Johnson could have become a much more important cog in the offense. May still become a much more important cog on the offense, depending on the situation's resolution.
Harrison, however, seemed a less likely candidate than the other academic casualty still on the team from last fall -- junior offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle, who may not be completely clear given his previous issues, either.
Though the Contra Costa transfer played in only seven games last year as a reserve lineman, he's the projected starter on the left side and is an important piece for the 2014 Texas offensive line, which is extraordinarily thin right now on the outside.
Estelle did an admirable job replacing injured starter Josh Cochran last fall at the right tackle position and was the starter at that position again in the spring following Cochran's retirement from football due to his shoulder issues.
So the potential of losing Harrison and Estelle is one that could crater the entire offensive line and make it extremely difficult for starting quarterback David Ash to find time to throw.
Not to mention the impact it would have on the running game with only one or two experienced offensive tackles on the team at that point. And the staff wants to use that tackle, sophomore Kent Perkins, at guard with few viable options there, either.
And no matter how Watson and Wickline are intending to use Johnson offensively, his loss for any number of games would remove the offense's most explosive player from the lineup -- no small loss.
With the Horns facing a difficult non-conference schedule that includes a home game against BYU and a neutral site game in Arlington against UCLA, being without all three players would deal a serious blow to the hopes of winning at least one or those two games.
The dismissals so far may not have a net impact of a game moving from the win column to the loss column, but missing Johnson, Harrison, and Estelle for one or both of those games could have that impact.
Fall camp looms next week and with it a press conference for Charlie Strong. It may not be until then the school confirms the dismissals and Strong addresses the possibility of suspensions for these three players.
Daily Round Up: 32 Days
Disclaimer: Before you proceed, just remember that none of the links are vetted and you may be reading something written by a 13-year-old, a so-called sports journalist or Clay Travis (is there really any difference between those options?). Read at your own peril.
Will freshman DE Derick Roberson have an impact this season? [Rant Sports]
Coach Strong was on the Scott Van Pelt show. [ESPN Radio]
Sorry to disappoint you, but Texas will still have a team in September. [LA Times]
Three more players may face suspension. [Horns Digest]
Meet your kicker, Nick Rose. [Deadspin]
Sam Acho got married. [Arizona Republic]
Did Oklahoma fail Joe Mixon? [NewsOK]
Isn't this Land Thief starting the trash talk a little early? [NewsOK]
Are you a data and statistic nerd? You will love this website. [The Power Rank]
Bo Pelini brought his cat to Big Ten Media Days? [Sporting News]