Texas’ top playmakers start declaring for the NFL draft after playoff loss

Xavier Worthy celebrates after his touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Wyoming, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas) (Michael Thomas, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas exodus has begun.

Several Longhorns playmakers who led the team to the program's first appearance in the College Football Playoff and first Big 12 championship since 2009 have declared for next spring's NFL draft and will leave school early.

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And more may be on the way.

Wide receiver Xavier Worthy and defensive tackle Byron Murphy II have posted statements on social media announcing their departures. Multiple media outlets reported Thursday that tailback Jonathon Brooks is also leaving.

Texas finished 12-2. The Longhorns lost their CFP semifinal to Washington on Monday when Quinn Ewers' pass to Adonai Mitchell was batted away in the end zone as time expired.

Brooks, a third-year player, was the Longhorns' No. 2 running back behind freshman C.J. Baxter when the season began, but took over the role when Baxter was injured.

Brooks had a breakout year, rushing for 1,139 yards and 10 touchdowns before he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a win over TCU on Nov. 11. Despite the injury, some draft analysts have him among the top tailbacks available.

Worthy finished his three-year career at Texas with 198 receptions for 2,755 yards and 26 touchdowns. He had 75 catches for 1,014 yards and five touchdowns in 2023. He also had 371 yards and a touchdown returning punts.

Murphy was part of a dominant defensive front with senior tackle T'Vondre Sweat. Murphy had five sacks and helped anchor a unit that was one of the top run defenses in the country. He also scored two touchdowns in Texas' goal-line offense, including one in the playoff semifinal against Washington.

Texas is still waiting on announcements from Mitchell, tight end J.T. Sanders and Ewers about their intentions for next season. Ewers, who passed for 3,429 yards and 22 touchdowns, indicated after the loss to Washington that he may return.


AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football

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