Texas Longhorns: Connor Brewer

AUSTIN, Texas -- It’s hard to tell whether Jalen Overstreet should be labeled a running back or a quarterback these days. So let’s just go a more fitting title: Wild card.

The Texas redshirt freshman has embraced his new do-anything role during fall practices, even if that role remains relatively undefined. With each explosive run out of the backfield -- and he’s had a few -- Overstreet is making a compelling case for why he could be a unique weapon in the Longhorns offense

“He’s so fast,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “We’re enjoying what we’re seeing, and I think we’re seeing more out of Jalen right now because he’s got more confidence, because he’s actually playing a lot more than being some redshirted quarterback. We’ve been impressed so far with what we’ve seen.”

Jalen Overstreet
AP Photo/Eric GayThe ability to run and throw gives Texas options to use Jalen Overstreet's versatility.
He arrived on campus a relatively unknown talent from East Texas with perhaps the strongest arm of any quarterback in the program. Right now, Overstreet is happy to play “athlete” if it’ll mean a little playing time. All along, he’s only wanted to do what’s best for the team.

He agreed to commit to Texas in the fall of 2011 knowing full well that the Longhorns already had their future star quarterback on board in the much-hyped Elite 11 finalist Connor Brewer. But Texas needed a second QB, and Overstreet was happy to oblige.

When he arrived in Austin last summer, he knew he was at the bottom of the totem pole among UT’s quarterbacks. He just wanted to compete.

He was No. 4 on the depth chart throughout the year but didn’t flinch or look to transfer. And in a strange twist, his moment nearly came at the Alamo Bowl in December.

Case McCoy was suspended. If Oregon State knocked David Ash out of the game, new offensive coordinator Major Applewhite planned to insert Overstreet. He spent two hours in a hotel conference room in San Antonio preparing the rookie as quickly as he could for that nuclear option.

Playing in the game would’ve meant burning Overstreet’s redshirt, effectively costing him one year of eligibility. But he was fully on board with the emergency plan.

“He was great, his parents were great,” Brown said. “They said we'll do whatever we need to do to win the game. But it's totally unfair for him if he goes in that game.”

Fast forward to today and Brewer is gone after transferring to Arizona this summer. The next big-time recruit, Tyrone Swoopes, is making progress and likely won’t redshirt.

And Overstreet, well, he’s just doing whatever he can to contribute. Same as always.

Texas’ running backs respect that. They see his quickness, the way he runs surprisingly hard through holes, and his versatility. All valuable traits, and he brings some intangibles to the role, too.

“With Jalen, it is different. With quarterbacks, it is different,” junior back Joe Bergeron said. “As a quarterback, he knows what the offensive line and every other position should do on the field. For him to come in as running back, that is a vital piece for us because he can help us with other things that we may not know. He can tell us to notice rotations and other things. I love it.”

Overstreet still occasionally gets reps as the No. 3 quarterback in fall camp, and he’s capable of playing slot receiver. The challenge for Texas’ staff is finding a few plays or a package in the playbook that highlights his unusual gifts.

An obvious solution would be taking direct snaps in the Wild formation. Brown has said it would take quite a talent to bump Johnathan Gray out of that role after how effective he was in 2012. But Overstreet has a shot.

“We’re looking at he and Johnathan at that position, and he gives you the ability to throw better than John,” Brown said. “So as good as Johnathan was in it last year, if Jalen continues to progress, that would give him something to do.”

And at the end of the day, that’s all Overstreet is really looking for.

Connor Brewer is heading home.

The former Texas quarterback revealed Monday night that he is transferring to Arizona. Brewer, who is from Scottsdale, became one of the nation’s highest-rated quarterback recruits in 2012 after leading Chaparral High School to three straight state titles. He also threw a state-record 100 touchdown passes.

Brewer announced three weeks ago that he was leaving Texas.

Short term, Brewer’s departure means one less fallback option for the Longhorns should anything happen to two-year starter David Ash.

But long term, Brewer’s transfer clears the path for true freshman Tyrone Swoopes as the heir apparent. Ash is a junior, veteran backup Case McCoy is a senior and the only other quarterback on the roster, Jalen Overstreet, has dabbled at other positions.

The Longhorns do have a verbal commitment from Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer), who is the No. 5-rated dual-threat quarterback in the country in ESPN 300's Class of 2014. But it won’t be easy surpassing Swoopes on the depth chart -- something Brewer found out very quickly.

After enrolling early in January, Swoopes flashed his enormous potential in the spring game, headlined by a dazzling 21-yard scramble through the Longhorns’ first-team defense. That performance prompted Texas coach Mack Brown to declare immediately after the spring game that Swoopes would be the No. 3 quarterback behind Ash and McCoy.

“Tyrone is ahead of the other two [Brewer and Overstreet],” Brown said. “He can run. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s in great shape and he’s throwing the ball well. He just needs to get more reps.”

Evidently, Brewer saw Swoopes surging as well. And with Brewer heading back to Arizona, Swoopes' status as Texas' next starting quarterback has become even more defined.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Each week, Sean Adams looks at a few topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: X-factor in 2013

It hasn’t even been 24 hours since Longhorns redshirt freshman quarterback Connor Brewer told Texas’ coaches that he was leaving the program, and other schools have already inquired.

“There are definitely a lot of schools that are interested,” Brewer said. “A lot of schools that recruited me are coming back in the picture, which is good news.”

[+] EnlargeConnor Brewer
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comQB Connor Brewer, who was the No. 130 recruit in the 2012 ESPN 300, is leaving Texas.
Brewer isn’t naming names at this point. He’d like to give his situation some more time to breathe. But his suitors could involve some powerhouse programs based on who offered him out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral High School in 2012.

He chose the Longhorns over offers from Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC and Washington.

“I’m just playing it by ear,” he said. “Just getting in contact with schools over the next couple of days.”

A congested path to playing time was likely one of the main reasons for his transfer. David Ash has started his first two seasons at Texas and still has two years of eligibility remaining. Behind him is senior Case McCoy, who played in eight games last season, and highly touted true freshman Tyrone Swoopes, who dazzled in the spring game.

Brewer hinted at that being the case on Wednesday.

“It was a really long and hard decision for me to actually leave the University of Texas just because it’s obviously the school I committed to,” he said. “I committed there for a reason. I had hopes and dreams to play. I loved everything about the academics, the coaches, the support from the fans. Everything that came along with it was top of the line. I know in the future they will be doing great things. But for me, as a player, I just felt like there are better opportunities to go out and play quicker somewhere. Ultimately, I think that’s what it came down to.”

There are so many quarterbacks vying for snaps that Texas has decided to tinker with redshirt freshman Jalen Overstreet at wide receiver or the defensive secondary. And then there is perhaps the most highly regarded of the QBs, 2014 commitment Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer), who accounted for seven touchdowns in a state championship win last season.

The logjam at the position didn't leave much room for Brewer to compete, even though he figured to be in the running for the No. 2 job this fall.

“I think there was an opportunity [for that No. 2 spot],” Brewer said. “But at the same time I think I could go somewhere else and, potentially, after the one-year sit out, be the guy. That was a better option.”

His pending transfer from the program brings a sudden halt to a promising career that never materialized in burnt orange.

Brewer was highly sought out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral High School in 2012. An Under Armour All-American, he was the No. 130 recruit in the ESPN 300 and the No. 7 quarterback.

A four-star recruit, he ended his high school career by becoming the first quarterback in Arizona history to win three consecutive state titles as the starting quarterback. He finished his career with a 41-2 record.

Brewer (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) also set an Arizona big-school record with 100 career touchdown passes. In 686 career attempts, of which he completed 441 for 7,574 yards, he threw only 17 interceptions. That equates to one interception out of every 40 passes thrown.

Brewer said he’s thought about this decision for a while but really took it seriously over the last two weeks. It was tough telling the Texas coaching staff that he was leaving.

“I don’t know if they expected. I think they could see where I was coming from,” he said. “Obviously they didn’t want me to leave. They were disappointed that I was leaving. I was a quarterback they recruited and they don’t want to lose players that they recruit. It was tough for both of us, but we wished each other well.”

Longhorns head coach Mack Brown wished Brewer the best in a school released statement on Tuesday when it announced they’d granted him an unconditional release to transfer.

"We appreciate everything Connor has brought to our program," Brown said in the statement. "He is a tremendous young man and is a great teammate and student. We hate to see him leave, but at the same time we understand his reasons. We wish him the best of luck in the future."

Brewer is the second of his siblings to transfer from Texas. His sister, Ashley Brewer, left the Longhorns swim team in 2012 and now competes for USC.
AUSTIN, Texas -- It was just December when, in a San Antonio hotel ballroom, Texas co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite pivoted and positioned Jalen Overstreet across the carpet, running through the what-ifs and what-to-dos of what might be his first snap as the Texas quarterback.

Jalen Overstreet
Courtesy of Longhorn NetworkJalen Overstreet, thought by many to be fifth on the Texas depth chart at quarterback, is switching positions.
Overstreet was to be the emergency quarterback in the Alamo Bowl. Or, to put it more simply, Texas' only other quarterback available if starter David Ash were to get injured. So Applewhite had to force feed him the playbook. Now, just a few months and a full spring practice later, Applewhite has taken away that plate and placed another in front of Overstreet. Texas has decided the time has come from Overstreet to take a few steps to the left or right, out of the spotlight and into the role of, well, the coaches aren’t so sure just yet.

"We’re going to look at different ways to get him the ball offensively," Texas coach Mack Brown said on Monday.

Sure, one of those ways could still be from the center. But Texas already has a guy for that -- Ash. Actually make that three guys for that -- Ash, Tyrone Swoopes and Connor Brewer. Notice Case McCoy is missing from that group. That’s because he is gone this summer for a 10-week mission trip to Peru.

So Texas has gone from depth -- five quarterbacks taking snaps in the spring -- to a dearth -- three QBs this summer -- when it comes to the most visible position on the field. And the Longhorns did it without suffering through a highly-publicized quarterback transfer or a fracturing of the team. Things just worked out.

As for how they will work out when McCoy gets back, the party line, the one given by the guy at the head of the party, is that McCoy will be the backup.

"He’s got a place he can work out there and a ball he can throw," Brown said.

What Brown failed to mention was that ball was more than likely manufactured by Mitre and the wide receivers are much better with their feet than hands.

Still, given the opportunity to say who would be the backup if the season started today, Brown emphatically placed McCoy in that position. The position of the other two players, Swoopes and Brewer, is really what matters now for Texas.

With Overstreet falling into the nebulous position formerly occupied by D.J. Monroe -- "He can run the speed sweeps, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, he can run routes as a wide receiver but he still could play tailback and make some plays in the backfield as well," Brown said of Monroe last season -- and McCoy down with The Professor fashioning footballs out of coconut husks on Gilligan’s Island, the two young backups behind Ash have an opportunity to move up the depth chart.

"Obviously this will give those younger quarterbacks the chance to step up and play," Brown said. "It gives Connor and Tyrone a lot more throws than if Case were here and than if Jalen were still playing there every snap."

Swoopes had already moved into the No. 3 spot after a strong spring. There was some push that he could be the No. 2 quarterback by the fall. Brown, as he did Monday, dismissed that notion for now. Brown has been a proponent of redshirting freshmen quarterbacks. But, at the same time in the past few seasons, he has wrapped himself in the mantra that the best players will play no matter their age.

So the immediate future of Swoopes remains somewhat muddled and, quite frankly, befuddling to those inside and outside the program. It’s impossible to predict what the future will hold. After all, Texas is chasing the crystal without the benefit of being able to look into one.

What has become much more clear with Overstreet’s move and McCoy’s mission is that Texas now has three where it once had five. It has one starter, Ash, where it once had two -- or as recent as two seasons ago -- three. Now all that is left to figure out who might get the second spin around the ballroom floor and who will be left holding up the wall.

Question of the Week: Best backup QB 

May, 30, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Since all the intrigue -- finally -- was sucked out of the Texas starting quarterback debate way back before the spring even started, there has been little left to argue over.

Ah, but it is college football so there is always a secondary debate to be had. And in this case Texas’ planned use of the second-string quarterback has stepped up into the forefront. Texas has four options -- Jalen Overstreet, Connor Brewer, Case McCoy and Tyrone Swoopes. Now there could be some movement (Overstreet to wide receiver) or a transfer (Texas lost two in 2011). Or there could be a change in status -- McCoy is the backup now but will not be with team for the entire summer, bringing into question his role in the program.

Texas has used more than one quarterback in each of the last two years due to ineffectiveness by the starter and injury. The backup could become critical. Ergo, so too is finding out who is best suited to fill that role.

That’s just what HornsNation will attempt to do with this week’s Question of the Week.


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During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 7 Connor Brewer
Freshman quarterback



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AUSTIN, Texas -- The benchmark for elite Texas recruiting classes is and might always be 2002.

The consensus No. 1 class in the nation featured a kid from Houston named Vincent Young plus 10 others who would go on to start in Texas’ 2006 Rose Bowl national title win over USC.

Since then, coach Mack Brown has signed five more classes that earned top-three rankings from ESPN. His 2014 class, currently the nation’s best and biggest, has a chance to join that impressive company.


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AUSTIN, Texas -- Maybe the score didn’t matter in the Orange-White scrimmage but don’t be fooled -- everybody was keeping score.

Play was critiqued. Judgments were made. Assumptions, both good and bad, were confirmed. And undoubtedly there were players who fell to both sides of the ledger: Some excelled and some didn’t. Hey, spring football is a wheat-from-the-chaff thing.


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AUSTIN, Texas -- Each week Sean Adams looks at a few topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Is Swoopes the future?

By reading between the lines about the repetitions in Saturday's Orange-White scrimmage, it appears that freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes will have a package to fit around his unique skill set and size this season. But could he already be Texas' No. 2 signal-caller?

[+] EnlargeTyrone Swoopes
AP Photo/Eric GayFreshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes had fans talking after his performance in Texas' spring game.
If starter David Ash were to go down and miss time in the first game of the season, it's likely that Case McCoy would take over the role. But even that would likely only be until Swoopes' schooling could be accelerated to get him ready to play.

Swoopes is the future. I am still in the small group of people who believes a redshirt would be best for him, but that might not be an option when the Texas coaches look forward to 2014. Swoopes has already passed Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet, and it appears McCoy is just exhausting his eligibility as a backup.

That leaves Swoopes as the primary backup in 2014 and as the man his junior year for the Longhorns, assuming he doesn't redshirt this season. If the spring of 2013 is any indication, the future will be sooner rather than later for Swoopes.

Second down: DE Okafor taking some hits ...

Texas went through pro day last week and defensive end Alex Okafor has taken some hits. His strength, speed, explosiveness and even tactical awareness have been questioned.

I just don’t buy that. He is a football player. I have never been in the camp that he is going to be great, but I am in the camp that he can have a lengthy career in the NFL.

All things considered, that would be a really good career. It must be pretty hard for an All-American to get his career torn apart for a couple of months. I honestly hope he is not paying attention to the media at this point.

Third down: On the move ...

I will be the first to say it did not do a whole lot for me to hear that Duke Thomas might play both ways, but after watching him the spring game, I’m a believer. He caught the ball in traffic, ran fairly good routes and looked to have pretty solid ball skills.


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Roundtable: Horns with most to gain, lose 

March, 1, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas – The brain trust that is the staff at HornsNation (please continue reading once your uproarious laughter has subsided) met at the local think tank and went over some of the big issues facing Texas this spring.

Here are the results:

Who has the most to gain this spring and who has the most to lose?


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Five Texas redshirt freshmen to watch 

February, 21, 2013
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No member of Texas’ 28-man recruiting class in 2012 expected anything less than early playing time when he joined the program, especially after the Longhorns had seemingly thrown every freshman they had on the field the previous season.

You already know plenty about Johnathan Gray, Malcom Brown, Daje Johnson and Texas' other high-impact freshmen. But what about the ones who sat out last season?

For 12 of those 28 signees, getting onto the field in year one just wasn’t in the cards. After spending the fall on the practice field, in the weight room and home in their dorms for road games, those dozen recruits are ready to start making a name for themselves.

It all starts with a breakthrough spring. Last year, tight end M.J. McFarland was really the only redshirt freshman who saw meaningful playing time for the Longhorns. What does 2013 have in store for this year’s crop of second-year freshmen?


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Position breakdown: Quarterback 

February, 11, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas might have changed quarterback coaches but don’t expect the Longhorns to be changing the quarterback any time soon.

David Ash, despite not yet being declared the No. 1 quarterback, will be the No. 1 quarterback this spring. Now all the aforementioned new quarterbacks coach Major Applewhite has to do is figure out who will fill the roles of two through five. At least there are some choices. This time last year, Texas had but two options.

[+] EnlargeAsh
Spruce Derden/US PresswireTexas quarterback David Ash enters 2013 as the starter but there is more competition than last spring.
That Ash showed significant improvement as a sophomore, or at least enough improvement for Texas to be able to hand him the offense, lends a modicum of stability to that position.

True, Texas will be shifting its offense away from what Ash has known the last two years. Applewhite is returning Texas to its winning roots and has opted to go with the spread.

Ash still appears the best option for that offense. He has always been a runner first, sturdy and fast with a solid eye for the hole. He throws better on the move because it does not afford him the opportunity to think. He was always at his most poisonous for the offense -- Oklahoma, Kansas And TCU -- when given time to debate the merits of the pass he was about to heave. With the spread there should be no double clutch. As for clutch, Ash already proved that in the fourth quarter against Oregon State.

So now that Ash is settled -- maybe -- it’s time to figure out who settles in where among the four remaining quarterbacks.

Case McCoy: The smart move would be to slide McCoy down the list. The senior does add some value in that he has been there and done that. But he lost credibility with his off-the-field antics in San Antonio, has not proved to have the consistent talent necessary to back up his consistent fire-and-brimstone locker room speeches and only has one year left.

Texas does have to win this year. And that means 10 or more games, not eight or nine. So McCoy could remain a viable option. The likely scenario is McCoy remaining as the No. 2 quarterback quite possibly in name only while Texas furiously works to get another option up to speed in the spread attack.

Jalen Overstreet: The freshman is the most intriguing prospect of the four quarterbacks behind Ash. He showed his selflessness when, after McCoy had been sent home from the Alamo Bowl, Overstreet stepped up and said he would burn his redshirt for that one game if the coaches and team needed him to do so. It didn’t come to that.

But the move bought him many allies in the quarterback battle and showed the coaches his dedication to team.

Overstreet has also put his arm on display. He has the quickest release and best arm of the quarterbacks who are holdovers from the 2012 roster. What he has lacked are the fundamentals to make him a consistent passer.

He worked throughout the fall to understand how to structure his feet and build a base from which to operate. Moving to the spread will allow Overstreet to showcase more of his natural talents. But he still has to have the proper fundamentals to make all the necessary throws. At this point of his career, if Overstreet were thrown into a game he might very well revert back to his old habits.


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Have a rough weekend? Chances are decent that Texas' was worse.

You saw the biggest news on the blog Friday night. The Longhorns released a statement that recently promoted co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite engaged in a one-time "inappropriate relationship" with a student while the team was on a trip to the 2009 Fiesta Bowl.

That news came in the wake of former track coach Bev Kearney's January resignation disclosing to the Austin American-Statesman that she had an intimate consensual relationship with a student. Kearney had been placed on administrative leave for several months prior to her resignation, and a potential lawsuit from Kearney reportedly led to the Longhorns dropping the news late Friday night before the Super Bowl.

The university regents met for two hours on Sunday via conference call and announced that they'll be reviewing all policies regarding inappropriate relationships between students and employees.

We'll see how serious the fallout from that news becomes, though it's highly unlikely Applewhite would face additional punishment. Regents did not hand down any more punishment for Applewhite. On Saturday morning, news broke that freshman quarterback Connor Brewer had been arrested on minor in possession of alcohol and public intoxication charges by the University of Texas police.

Coach Mack Brown released a statement saying he was "disappointed" and would hand down punishment later on.

"We've talked with his family and will continue to monitor the situation. Following the completion of the legal process, we will do what's best for the University, Connor and the team," Brown said in the statement.

Brewer redshirted in 2012 and didn't play a snap.

The final piece of Texas' nightmare weekend became official on Sunday, when one of the Longhorns' top commits, defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, told our HornsNation that he'd be reneging on his yearlong commitment. Reports swirled for weeks that Robinson was wavering, and other reports surfaced that Robinson would be signing with Alabama. He disputed those reports, though Alabama visited him on campus last week. Robinson, the nation's No. 105 overall prospect, was clear that Texas was out. The Fort Worth, Texas, native is the nation's No. 11 defensive tackle and checks in 6-foot-5 and 304 pounds.

That's quite the triple play of very bad news for the Longhorns, who haven't had much to celebrate since winning the 2009 Big 12 title and advancing to the national title game. Texas is coming off a dramatic Alamo Bowl win over Oregon State, but the news this weekend could have impact for years to come.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas backup quarterback Connor Brewer was arrested for minor in possession of alcohol and public intoxication by the University of Texas police department early Saturday morning.

Brewer was booked into the Travis County Central Booking facility at 2:49 a.m. Saturday, according to the inmate information provided by the Travis County Sheriff. No charges had been filed as Saturday.

"We're aware of Connor's situation and are disappointed anytime one of our players is accused of wrongdoing," Texas coach Mack Brown said in a statement. "We've talked with his family and will continue to monitor the situation. Following the completion of the legal process, we will do what's best for The University, Connor and the team. We've always prided ourselves in our program's family atmosphere, and this will be handled within our family."

Brewer, 19, is a redshirt freshman who has yet to play for Texas. The Scottsdale, Ariz., product is one of five quarterbacks vying for snaps in 2013. He was rated as the No. 7 quarterback in the Class of 2012 and was ranked No. 130 in the ESPN 150.

Brewer’s arrest came only hours after Texas revealed his position coach, Major Applewhite, had an affair with a student during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl activities.

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