football-fbs flag

Mark Spoor | | October 8, 2014

Pillars of the Program: Texas

Pillars of the Program: Texas football

The top three pillars of the program are in the video above -- now check out who just missed the cut ...

They've been playing football at Texas since 1893. The Longhorns have been a winning program for exactly as long. In that first season, Texas went 4-0 (they played two games in the fall and two more in the spring), winning every game by a shutout. In all, Texas has 877 wins.

The Longhorns won their first of four national championships in 1963. Head coach Darrell Royal led his squad to an unbeaten season and a 28-6 win in the Cotton Bowl against Roger Staubach and Navy.

As impressive as that was, it was Texas' second national championship in 1969 that was arguably its most famous. That season was the 100th anniversary of college football and Beano Cook, at the time an ABC executive, arranged for Texas and Arkansas to play the final game of the regular season, moving their usual October date to the first weekend in December. By the time the game kicked off, Texas was No. 1 and Arkansas was No. 2.

The game was billed "The Game of the Century" and lived up to the hype. The Longhorns erased a 14-0 deficit to post a 15-14 victory. The Longhorns received their national championship plaque from none other than Richard Nixon.

Texas also won national titles in 1970 and 2005, as well as 32 conference titles in its 121-year history.

Earl Campbell
Running Back | 1974-77
♦ Heisman Trophy winner (1977)
♦ Consensus All-American (1977)
Ricky Williams
Running Back | 1995-98
♦ Heisman Trophy winner (1998)
♦ Consensus All-American (1997, '98)
Vince Young
Quarterback | 1993-96
♦ Rose Bowl MOP (2005, '06)
♦ Consensus All-American (2005)
Jerry Gray
Defensive Back | 1981-84
♦ Consensus All-American (1983, '84)
♦ Member of Texas All-Time Team
Derrick Johnson
Linebacker | 2001-04
♦ Dick Butkus Award  (2004)
♦ Bronko Nagurski Award (2004)
Bobby Layne
Quarterback | 1944-47
♦ Consensus All-American (1947)
♦ College Football HOF (1969)
Colt McCoy
Quarterback | 2006-09
♦ Walter Camp Award (2008)
♦ Maxwell Award (2009)
Tommy Nobis
Linebacker, Guard | 1963-65
♦ Outland Trophy winner (1965)
♦ Maxwell Award winner (1965)

Jerry Gray
Known as an exceptionally hard hitter, Jerry Gray had 297 career tackles, 16 interceptions (second in school history) and 20 passes broken up during his four years at Texas from 1981-84.

Gray is one of only seven Longhorns to earn two-time consensus All-America honors, as he did in 1983 and '84. He earned unanimous honors as a senior and is still one of only 20 players in UT history to accomplish that feat. He was also a two-time Southwest Conference defensive player of the year in 1983 and '84.

Inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1996, Gray is also a member of the Texas All-Time Team and All-Decade Team for the 1980s. Gray was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Derrick Johnson
Known as one of the most dominant linebackers in school history, Derrick Johnson was credited with 458 tackles in his 50 games with the Longhorns from 2001-04. Of those, 280 were solo and 65 were for loss (still a school record).

In his senior season, Johnson was the Big 12's defensive player of the year, he won the Bronko Nagurski Award (nation's top defensive player) and the Butkus Award (nation's top linebacker). Johnson was also a unanimous first-team All-American that season and he was the only defensive player named as a finalist for the that season's Walter Camp Award.

The Longhorns finished the 2004 campaign 11-1 and they defeated Michigan 38-37 to win the 2005 Rose Bowl.

Bobby Layne
Bobby Layne was originally recruited as the Longhorns as a baseball pitcher. Even when you consider that he threw two no-hitters in one season for the Longhorns, it was on the gridiron where Layne made his biggest impact.

It would be difficult to top the impact Layne made in the 1946 Cotton Bowl against Missouri. The Longhorns won the contest 40-21 and Layne accounted for every point, scoring four touchdowns, kicking four extra points and passing for two touchdowns.

Known as much for his free-spirited approach to life as his accolades on the field, Layne set school records for career pass attempts (400), career completions (210) and career passing yards (3,145). All three were broken by Bret Stafford in 1986.

Colt McCoy
During his four-year run as the starting quarterback at Texas, Colt McCoy was exactly what you would expect someone with the name "Colt McCoy" to be, a gunslinger.

In his first year as a starter in 2006, McCoy set school records for most touchdown passes in a season (29) and in a game (six in a 63-36 win against Baylor on Oct. 14). McCoy still holds school career records for wins (45), starts (53), touchdown passes (112), attempts (1,645), completions (1,157), passing yards (13,253) and pass efficiency rating (155.0).

In 2008, statistically his best season (3,859 yards, 34 TDs), McCoy won the Walter Camp Award. After passing for 3,521 and 27 touchdowns in 2009, McCoy won the Maxwell Award. The Longhorns retired his jersey in 2010.

Tommy Nobis
When the Longhorns won their first national championship in 1963, Tommy Nobis was their only sophomore starter. During his three years at Texas, Nobis averaged nearly 20 tackles per season. As a junior, Nobis had one of his most famous tackles, a fourth-and-inches stop of Joe Namath at the goal line to preserve his team's 21-17 victory against No. 1 Alabama in the 1965 Orange Bowl.

Nobis started on both offense and defense for his entire college career, playing linebacker on defense and guard on offense, often playing lead blocker on touchdown runs. Nobis won the Outland Trophy (best interior lineman) and the Maxwell Award (best overall player) in 1965. Head coach Darrell Royal called Nobis the best two-way lineman he ever coached, and in 1965 Sports Illustrated tagged him "the best defender in College Football."

Nobis also pulled a rare triple; he has appeared on the covers of Time, LIFE and Sports Illustrated.

After his collegiate career, Nobis was the first draft pick in Atlanta Falcons history in 1966. He was a five-time Pro Bowler for the Falcons then moved to the front office after retiring from the field in 1976.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners