June 1, 2009
Most of Texas’ remaining 12 incoming freshmen arrived on campus for check-in on Sunday morning.
As the luggage carts rolled in and the dorm room keys were distributed, the atmosphere was one of building into the next chapter of the lives of the young players.
“It’s fairly surreal,” said Beau Graham, father of TE Trey Graham. “I think you look back and you realize how fast things have gone, it just seems like yesterday he was starting out playing junior high football and now all of a sudden, he’s off on his own.”
The Grahams came from Waco where Trey attended Midway High School, and although the trip was a little bit shorter for QB Garrett Gilbert and his family of Lake Travis High School in Austin, the moment was just as meaningful.
“Since his junior year when he committed, it’s been building up to this,” Gilbert’s father, Gale, said. “We’re emotional as parents, but we’re also very, very excited. I feel very comfortable that he’s here. Coach Brown and the staff and coach Davis have made this feel so much like an extended family. Nothing has changed since day one when we met coach Brown up to this reception today. I have all the faith and confidence in the world in the great job they do.”
The 12 newcomers will join the eight fellow members of their 2009 signing class who enrolled in January and begin their first summer workouts as Longhorns, as well as the first steps of their college academic careers.
“Me coming here will force me to learn from new situations,” head coach Mack Brown texted from his trip to visit troops in the Middle East. “The same is true with our incoming freshman class. Most of our 12 new freshmen showed up at school yesterday to start a new and exciting part of their lives. There is some anxiety for our family for me to be over here, very much like the families that dropped their sons off in Austin yesterday. Sally greeted them in place of me yesterday, so please keep them in your prayers as well.”
Annie Whaley, mother of RB Chris Whaley from Madisonville High School, was grateful to be able to help her son check in at Texas after not being able to make the trip with her first son, Alonzo, who is a linebacker at Nebraska.
“It means a lot that he’s coming to UT,” Annie Whaley said. “It’s a blessing that he has a scholarship here. Of course, everyone is so nice and they treat him as their own. The family atmosphere played a lot into his decision. He’s been a big Texas fan since he’s started playing football, but they welcomed him with open arms. I think that’s meant a lot.”
Beau Graham also praised the family atmosphere and was confident entrusting his son to the Texas coaches and staff.
“No question about it,” Beau Graham said. “I told my wife when we went back to get all of his stuff that it’s really great all the coaches are here. I think it would have been difficult if he had come in and it would have just been, ‘Here’s your key, go to your room,’ but every coach was there smiling, shaking hands and hugging mom. I think that’s helped a lot too.
“I think it’s a really exciting time for him. As a parent, it’s a little bit frightening, but you hope you’ve prepared your child well enough to be successful as they start out on this road.”