January 12, 2007

Season in reveiw: The cornerbacks

As we begin our final breakdown of the 2006 season for the defending national champion Texas Longhorns, we'll next take a look at the cornerback position. Although Cedric Griffin had used up his eligibility, there were still some lofty expectations for a group that was led by Aaron Ross and Tarell Brown. Ross brought home the Jim Thorpe Award but the Texas pass defense was one of the worst in the country statistically.

Grading scale

A - All-America
B - All-Big 12
C - Solid season
D - Disappointing
F - Failure

Aaron Ross (Senior)

Expectations - Ross came into this season with plenty of experience and a ton of talent, so he was expected to have a big year as the starter at left corner. He and Brown were expected to team up to give the Horns' one of the top cornerback tandems in the conference.

Reality - Ross held up his end of the bargain. He did get beat from time to time (which cornerback doesn't?) but he also made big plays at key moments. For his efforts, Ross was named the Thorpe Award winner and a first-team all-American.

Stats - 80 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 6 interceptions, 19 pass break-ups, 3 forced fumbles, 2 QB hurries

High point - It would obviously be the Thorpe Award, but if you're looking for one game, we'll go with the Nebraska win. Ross had games with more tackles and better overall stats (including a three turnover day against Oklahoma), but his forced fumble late in the game against the Huskers kept Texas from what would have been a definite loss.

Low point - He, and the rest of the secondary, got lit up pretty good by Ohio State.

Overall grade - Ross wasn't perfect (see the Alamo Bowl for an example) but he was a first-team all-American and awarded the honor of being the nation's best defensive back. For that, he brings home an A+.

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