The tears welled up in Erik Huhn's eyes Saturday evening, not just because Cibolo Steele’s perfect season was over, but because he just couldn’t do anything about it.
Ever since suffering a torn ACL in his season opener, the four-star safety has tried to find his niche and a way to help his team without playing.
He came up with a new way before Steele’s state semifinal game against Katy: He suited up in full uniform and ran onto the field with his teammates one last time.
“I knew I might never get to do it again, so I wanted to do it one last time and get everybody hyped,” Huhn said.
He didn’t don his helmet or sneak onto the field for a play, of course, but Huhn hoped the gesture would have some meaning to his teammates. It meant plenty to him.
He took off the uniform at halftime and watched as his Knights gave Katy one heck of a battle in a 45-33 loss. Watching his fellow seniors break down after the game was the hardest part.
“It sucked to lose,” he said. “All my friends were sad, and this was our senior year. That was not fun at all. ... I felt like I could’ve helped them if I’d played. I felt like I let them down.”
But Huhn is happy to report that at three months in, he’s halfway done with his rehab process. The physical therapy will continue, and Huhn won’t hit the field again until he’s fully cleared by doctors.
And though he couldn’t make it to Texas’ banquet weekend for his official visit -- Cibolo Steele had a playoff game that Saturday afternoon -- Huhn said he is “for sure, 100-percent solid” on his commitment to the Longhorns, and he has stayed in touch with secondary coach Duane Akina.
“He came by the school a few days ago, but I had physical therapy that day,” Huhn said. “We talked on the phone that night. He just wanted to see how I was doing and wish me good luck in our game.”
Huhn said college coaches have passed through Steele hoping to talk to Huhn over the past few months. Each time, he said, Steele coach Mike Jinks told them thanks but no thanks on his behalf. He’s not looking around and is confident about his future at Texas.
He hasn’t set a date for his official visit to Texas, but Huhn is hoping to drive up to Austin in mid-January to make up for his banquet weekend absence.