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Monday, January 21, 2013
Changing the game: 2002 Texas class

By Carter Strickland

AUSTIN, Texas -- Brian Robison maybe should have been passed over in 2002.

He wasn’t terribly fast (4.6), nor big (248), nor sought after. In fact, Texas only had to seriously contend with Colorado State, Houston and BYU for the linebacker from tiny 3A Splendora (Texas) high school.

But this was 2002 a class so loaded with talent that maybe a risk could be taken. That Robison proved to be one of the most productive players on Texas’ defense by 2005, is a testament that those few risks and all that talent secured in 2002 paid off for the Longhorns.

In all, Texas signed 28 players to what was considered the nation’s top class in 2002. That group, led by quarterback Vince Young, would be swimming in confetti on the floor of the Rose Bowl celebrating the school’s first national title in 35 years by 2005.

In his junior season, 2005, Robison led the team in tackles for loss (15) and sacks (seven). Robison finished his career with 181 tackles, 42 TFL, 50 pressures, 14 sacks, eight PBD, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an INT. He also holds the Texas record for blocked kicks with six. He was one of the many success stories of the 2002 class.

Rodrique Wright became an anchor on the defensive line. Kasey Studdard, Lyle Sendlein and Justin Blalock formed the core of the offensive line that started all of the 2005 season. There were busts, too, such as wide receiver Marquis Johnson (never made it to campus) and defensive end Bryan Pickryl (career cut short by injury). But, by and large, the 2002 class became the most productive and decorated class during Brown's era at Texas.

In all the class produced eight NFL picks, a Heisman runner-up and multiple All-Americans.