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2025 NFL Draft Predictions: Multiple Texas Longhorns Atop Position Groups?

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2025 NFL Draft Predictions: Multiple Texas Longhorns Atop Position Groups?


Eleven Texas Longhorns heard their names called in the 2024 NFL Draft, a school record for the program in just the third season under the tenure of head coach Steve Sarkisian.

Three of those 11 picks, defensive tackle Byron Murphy, nose tackle T’Vondre Sweat, and runningback Jonathon Brooks, were the first of their respective positions to be taken, a testament to the development of all three and the work put in by former defensive line and current running back coaches Bo Davis and Tashard Choice.

Though the 2025 NFL Draft is over 300 days away, it’s never too early for fans, and experts, to speculate over how the draft can play out. With the talent returning to the 2024 Longhorns, how many players truly have a shot at being the first of their position off the board?

Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Jaydon Blue (23) celebrates with

Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Jaydon Blue (23) celebrates with / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

This first tier denotes players with a good chance of being the first in their position group drafted.

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Quarterback Quinn Ewers

The most notable name on this list, Ewers has very little competition in a much less loaded QB class compared to the year prior, where six quarterbacks were taken in the first 12 picks. There is no player of the caliber of USC’s Caleb Williams in this year’s class, with early projections putting Ewers in tiers alongside Georgia’s Carson Beck and Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders at the top.

Though Ewers has had an up-and-down career filled with injuries and errors with the deep ball, he is still second in odds to win the Heisman, only trailing Beck according to FanDuel Sportsbook. A Heisman trophy and a top-four finish for the Longhorns could help Ewers become the first gunslinger taken off the board.

Tackle Kelvin Banks

Tackle was another stacked position in this past year’s draft, and the talent is only getting better in college football. Banks’ pedigree is the highest of any Longhorn entering the draft, having started at left tackle since he stepped foot on campus as a freshman in 2022. Banks has competition with the likes of Will Campbell and Emory Jones of LSU, but with his athletic prowess and experience at the most important position on the line, it’s easy to see Banks becoming not only the first tackle off the board but a top-five pick in the draft.

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Nickle/Star Jahdae Barron

Barron made the surprise announcement when he returned for his fifth year in Austin this offseason, but the Longhorn faithful are more than happy to return their jack-of-all-trades defensive back. Barron plays the ‘Star’ role in the Pete Kwiatkowski defense, lining up in front of slot wide receivers and helping in the run game. Barron registered 11.5 tackles for loss just a year ago, and in a position not often pursued by NFL teams early in the draft, Barron could sneak his way to the top of the position group, just as Michigan’s Mike Sainristil did in 2024 after winning a national championship.

Kicker Bert Auburn

Auburn was quietly one of the best kickers in college football in 2023, scoring the second most points of any player in the nation, only behind Michigan running back Blake Corum, and nailing the most field goals on the year with 29. Though his accuracy has room for improvement, he could easily be among the top-tier of kickers in the nation yet again. With two years of elite kicking at the University of Texas, it’s likely an NFL team will take a chance on him in the later rounds of the 2025 draft.

Players in this tier likely won’t be at the top of their position, but a breakout year could boost their draft stock.

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Wide Receiver Isaiah Bond

The former Crimson Tide wideout was the top transfer receiver in the 2024 portal season, and Texas couldn’t have asked for a better replacement for Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell, both of whom were drafted in the first two rounds of the draft. This upcoming wide receiver class features many talented receivers, such as Bilitnekoff favorite Luther Burden III and Arizona star Tetairoa McMillan, so Bond would have to do a lot to become the first name called from the receiver position. Though unlikely, Bond and Ewers could end up being the top QB-WR duo in the nation and see a rise similar to Jayden Daniels and Malik Nabers of LSU last year, both of whom were drafted second in their position group.

The entire interior offensive line

Next season’s interior offensive lineman class does not project to be a strong point in the draft, with PFF’s big board including just one guard and zero centers in their top 50 rankings. An argument can be made for any of Hayden Conner, DJ Campbell, or Jake Majors to be the first interior offensive lineman off the board. Conner and especially Majors bring major experience to the position, and DJ Campbell is an unbelievable athlete that teams could fall in love with at the combine.

These players are extremely unlikely to be the first player off the board at their position, but could still be fringe Day 1 or Day 2 picks.

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Defensive Tackle Alfred Collins

Collins has never truly played up to the five-star rating he earned in the 2020 recruiting class, registering just 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in four career seasons. In a wide-open defensive line room, Collins could break out, and with good athleticism and recruiting pedigree, he could shoot up draft boards. Unfortunately for Collins, Michigan’s Mason Graham, and Kentucky’s Deone Walker are already seen as top 10 players in the class, making it nearly impossible for Collins to become the number one option at the position

Edge Ethan Burke

Burke shares a similar fate to that of Collins, as Tennessee’s James Pearce is PFF’s No. 1 player in the 2025 class. Burke is in a crowded edge room that features five players who could be starters on the average Power 4 team, but Burke’s ability and athleticism are hard to miss. Burke notched nine TFLs as a true sophomore and stands at 6’6, 254 pounds. With prototypical NFL size for the position and a likely elite combine performance ahead of him, Burke could become a first-rounder, but probably not the No. 1 edge rusher taken.



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Money from outside House District 21, and Texas, dominates fundraising in Phelan-Covey race | Houston Public Media

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Money from outside House District 21, and Texas, dominates fundraising in Phelan-Covey race | Houston Public Media


Dade Phelan Facebook, Dave Covey Facebook

House Speaker Dade Phelan and candidate Dave Covey

Early voting in the May 28 Texas primary runoffs ends today. One of the highest-profile contests in the state is the Republican runoff in House District 21 between Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan and former Orange County GOP chairman David Covey. The race could prove the most expensive state legislative contest in Texas history.

Monday night, former Governor Rick Perry introduced Speaker Phelan to a capacity crowd at Courville’s, a Cajun restaurant and catering venue just off US-90 in Beaumont. One of the first things Phelan did as he took the stage was to apologize to his family.

“I apologize for your mailboxes,” Phelan said. “I apologize for what you’ve seen on TV. The lies, the lies, the lies are unimaginable. We’ve never seen anything like it in the history of Southeast Texas.”

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Dade Phelan

Andrew Schneider

House Speaker Dade Phelan speaks at a campaign event at Courville’s.

Phelan was referring to the political attack ads directed at him. He’s running for his sixth term in the Texas House and claimed the money spent on House District 21 is breaking state records. It’s certainly having an outsized impact in the district, a three-county region along the Louisiana border that’s also known as “the Golden Triangle.”

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“I’ll remind you, when you buy $100,000 in TV in Beaumont, it’s like buying $500,000 in Houston,” he said.

And the money is not just going into TV commercials. It’s paying for social media campaigns and mailers, including one with a doctored photo showing Phelan hugging the former U.S. Speaker of the House, and Democrat, Nancy Pelosi. Phelan said much of the money comes from a handful of very wealthy individuals supporting his opponent, David Covey, who has never run for state office before.

“Here we are in a runoff,” Phelan said, “because he has taken money from two West Texas billionaires, and now some guy from Pennsylvania, who I’ve never heard of until the last six weeks, who just came in and spent millions of dollars against me.”

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Covey’s Donors

Phelan didn’t name them, but he was talking specifically about two conservative oil executives from the Midland area, Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, along with Pennsylvania tech investor Jeff Yass. All three have been pouring millions of dollars into efforts to defeat politicians who have opposed school choice.

Yass is one of the largest contributors to the Club for Growth, a conservative 501 nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. The Club has spent nearly $1.8 million on advertising to defeat Phelan who’s been accused of blocking school vouchers. They also blame the House Speaker for giving away power to Democrats.

“Basically, we don’t feel you can call yourself a conservative if you oppose school freedom,” said David McIntosh, the president of the Club for Growth and a former Indiana congressman. “I think it’s an important symbolic victory if Mr. Covey wins, and the reason would be, it basically sends a signal to other Republicans: You don’t want to try to get power in this fashion.”

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This fashion, meaning by giving some House committee chairs to Democrats. It’s a traditional power-sharing arrangement in the Texas Legislature that’s fallen sharply out of favor with conservative Republicans. Many blame the process for preventing the passage of school choice, among other priorities.

According to campaign finance reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission, since July of last year, oil executive Tim Dunn has donated just over $8.6 million to a pair of political action committees, Defend Texas Liberty and Texans United for a Conservative Majority, either directly or through an entity known as Hexagon Partners. Oil executive Farris Wilks donated about $2.8 million over the same period.

Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks provided virtually all the donations to Defend Texas Liberty and Texans United for a Conservative Majority over the current cycle. Those two PACs in turn donated $800,000 to David Covey’s campaign. Covey received another $700,000 directly in donations from a third Texas billionaire, insurance broker Alex Fairly of Amarillo. Neither Dunn, Wilks, nor Fairly responded to requests for interviews. For context, Covey’s campaign has raised just over $2.5 million since July of last year, and more than three out of every five dollars came from three men.

“Texas has no campaign finance limits whatsoever,” said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas. “So, if you’re a billionaire, and you want to throw millions of dollars into the political system to change who’s in office, you can do that.”

Gutierrez, who studies campaign finance, is convinced that the Phelan-Covey race could easily be the most expensive race for a State House district in Texas history, though he said no one will know for certain until the Texas Ethics Commission publishes the final campaign finance reports of the cycle in July.

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Asked about the potential influence of these three men, David Covey told Houston Public Media, “Dade Phelan has raised more money from out-of-state donors than the total amount of money I have raised. The amount of money Phelan received from outside of the district is greater than 5 times the amount of money I raised.”

Phelan’s Contributors

Covey’s claim isn’t without merit, and it speaks to an important point about the influence of money in a region like the Golden Triangle.

“Generally, money is probably the most important factor in any political campaign,” said political consultant Bill Miller, whose firm, Austin-based HillCo Partners, has donated to Phelan’s campaign. “I think there’s so much money that’s been raised, and is being raised, that money is irrelevant. And there’s very few races where you can say that. But this race — because it’s a small area, and there’s so much money — I don’t think that either side will want for money to do whatever it is that they believe will help them win the race.”

Campaign finance records show Phelan has raised more than $9.4 million this cycle. The largest individual donor to Phelan by far is Miriam Adelson, widow of Sheldon Adelson and owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Adelson’s company is one of the main forces pushing to legalize casino gambling in Texas.

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Adelson donated more than $13 million to a pair of political action committees, Texas Defense and Texas Sands. Those two PACS in turn donated more than $800,000 to Phelan. Adelson also donated another $100,000 to Phelan’s campaign directly. Altogether, she’s supplied 1 dollar out of every 10 Phelan has collected. More than half of that money came in the critical two months following Phelan’s second-place finish in the first round of primary voting.

Phelan’s next biggest contributor is the Associated Republicans of Texas Campaign Fund. The fund’s parent body, the Associated Republicans of Texas, bills itself as a non-profit dedicated to maintaining a Republican majority in the Texas Legislature. The group has raised $7.5 million since last July. One of its biggest benefactors is Houston-based John L. Nau III, the chairman and CEO of Silver Eagle Beverages, one of the nation’s largest Anheuser-Busch distributors. Nau, who co-chairs the Associated Republicans’ board of directors, gave the organization $2.1 million over the past ten months.

Phelan has received just over $238,000 from the Associated Republicans of Texas Campaign Fund. That’s only 3% of the group’s total fundraising over the current cycle, but virtually all of it followed Phelan’s second-place finish to Covey in the first round of primary voting in March, making it a crucial lifeline.

What comes next?

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It’s far from normal to see so many millions of dollars in campaign donations flowing through this district. The last time Phelan fought a competitive race was his first legislative contest back in 2014. In that cycle, he raised just 2% of what he raised for this primary. So, I asked Phelan whether it’s time for tougher state campaign finance rules.

“It’s less of a finance issue than some of the campaign graphics and some of the images and some of the voiceovers that are obviously not realistic,” Phelan said. “They’re not accurate. And they’re obviously deep fakes. And AI, as it gets more and more refined, is very problematic in campaigns. We saw it in my campaign. We’re seeing it in other campaigns across the state of Texas. It’s a misdemeanor right now, and I don’t think that’s strong enough at all.”

Whether any such legislation comes to pass hangs on the outcome of this race: if Phelan loses, campaign finance limits will fall on whoever succeeds him as Speaker of the House.

Regarding the broader question of campaign finance regulation, Phelan is more philosophical, as someone who’s in the lead when it comes to fundraising can afford to be.

“It’s a First Amendment right to spend your money,” he said. “I get it. And I don’t know how the state of Texas will address that and still be under the constitutional standards that we expect from free speech.”

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See memorials in Uvalde and across Texas that honor victims of Robb Elementary shooting

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See memorials in Uvalde and across Texas that honor victims of Robb Elementary shooting



Groups in Uvalde and throughout Texas have created memorials to honor victims who died in the Robb Elementary School shooting on May 24, 2022.

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Friday marks two years since the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen students and two teachers were murdered in what the U.S. Justice Department described as top-to-bottom “cascading failures” by law enforcement that combined to make the shooting one of the worst in history. 

As the families involved and the community reflect, people find ways to grieve. Many choose to use art.

Over the past two years, groups in Uvalde and throughout Texas have created memorials to honor those victims.

21 Uvalde murals of Robb Elementary victims

Abel Ortiz Acosta, a resident and educator in Uvalde, collaborated with Monica Maldonado, the founder of the Austin-based nonprofit MAS Cultura, to organize a three-month project incorporating storytelling into artwork. Together, they created 21 murals for the Healing Uvalde project, each commemorating a victim of the Robb Elementary shooting by telling their story.

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“We know that art heals,” Maldonado told the Austin American-Statesman, part of the USA TODAY Network. “We wanted to use that to help this community heal but also show solidarity and be in unity with Uvalde. There is no doubt in my mind that this is part of their healing journey, and for many families we hope this lets them know that their kids and teachers matter and they won’t be forgotten.”

(Click menu icon at top left of map to see full list of murals)

Crosses memorialize victims of Uvalde school shooting

Shortly after the May 2022 shooting, makeshift memorials were placed at Uvalde’s town square and Robb Elementary School.

At the school are 22 crosses for each of the victims and Joe Garcia, the husband of slain teacher Irma Garcia, who died of a heart attack shortly after the shooting.

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Crosses with messages, photos, flowers and other keepsakes still sit around the fountain at the town square.

Uvalde Love Project creates hand-crafted mosaic mural

The Uvalde Love Project was founded by Austin art therapist Wanda Montemayor, fellow Austin art therapists and teachers from Uvalde. The project was designed to bring the healing community closer together after the tragedy, in what Montemayor and her team hoped would aid in the grieving process. Thousands of volunteers contributed handmade tiles to the project.

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“That personal connection and that feeling of safety is where the healing begins, and it’s the collectiveness,” Montemayor told the American-Statesman. “It’s not that ‘I’m alone in these feelings.’ It’s like ‘I’m with you and you and you, and we’re on the same feeling together’… not being alone in your head with these feelings.” 

21 benches made for victims of Robb Elementary School shooting

Georgia native Sean Peacock went through his own personal tragedies and found a way to grieve his loss after losing his sister. To honor the children who were killed in Uvalde, Peacock carved butterfly-shaped benches for the families of the victims, each featuring a child’s image.

According to 41NBC/WMGT, Peacock took a U-Haul to Texas to hand deliver the benches to families.

A memorial built for Uvalde more than 200 miles away

In Riviera, Texas, Lupe Aguilar — a pastor of Community Baptist Church — built a wall dedicated to the victims of Uvalde. Aguilar has no formal connection to Uvalde. 

“It can happen in any community,” Aguilar told KENS 5. “In my mind, in my heart, I had a feeling something needed to be done. Something needed to be built for the children, in memory of the children in Uvalde and their parents.”

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Contributing: Hannah Ortega



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Rough start leads to UC Bearcats baseball elimination in Big 12 tournament by Texas Tech

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Rough start leads to UC Bearcats baseball elimination in Big 12 tournament by Texas Tech


Faced with another elimination game in the Big 12 tournament at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas the Cincinnati Bearcats picked the wrong night to have a rough start.

Strapped for pitching, the Bearcats had to start Michael Conte for the first time all season. Conte had primarily been a reliever, but playing on consecutive days in the Big 12 can take its toll.

In the first two innings, Texas Tech touched up Conte for eight runs on six hits and that was enough as the Red Raiders sent the Bearcats home 10-5.

“I thought Mike threw the ball pretty well, a couple soft-contact base hits, then it snowballed a little bit,” UC head coach Jordan Bischel said. “True to our guys, we didn’t implode, we didn’t melt down.”

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Role players brought to press conference

An emotional Bischel brought reserves Cole Harting, Sean Springer and Kameron Guidry to the interview room with him. None of them played in the game.

“We had a lot more players that could help this team than I had spots in the lineup,” Bischel said. “We have three guys here that have done tremendous things for this program and didn’t get a chance to show it this year. These guys are special human beings. If anyone has the question, how did we do what we did this year? It doesn’t happen without these guys showing up with an incredible attitude and enthusiasm.”

Bischel then turned to the players and told them they didn’t know what they meant to him.

“It might not have been what we were used to or we wanted, but being part of a team like this was special,” Guidry said. “It was something we never got a taste of and never really imagined.”

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Red Raiders strike early and often

Gage Harrelson and Damian Bravo led off the game with singles, then a Kevin Bazzell ground-rule double plated the game’s first run before Conte had recorded an out. Texas Tech would never trail.

They had five runs in the first and three more in the third giving starter Ryan Free a comfortable lead for the evening. Free would go 6 2/3 innings allowing four hits and three runs for the victory as the No. 10 seed Red Raiders took down the No. 5 seed Bearcats.

Bearcat bullpen strong in loss

After Conte, Joey Hurth, Chase Horst, Drew Erdmann and game one starter Nathan Taylor held Texas Tech to just two hits and two runs over the final 7 1/3 innings. But, UC had just five hits on the night which is not conducive to winning tournament baseball games.

Along came Jones

Catcher Alec Jones went out with a bang for UC, walloping two home runs and collecting three of UC’s five hits. He drove in four of the five runs. Lauden Brooks and Luke Sefcik were the only other Bearcats to collect a hit.

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What now?

UC baseball’s RPI was 55 prior to the start of the game according to DI Baseball. That figure will likely change with the loss and affect their NCAA chances.

The 32 wins by the Bearcats is the most since their 31-win 2019 season when they advanced to the NCAA tournament with the automatic berth from the American Athletic Conference.

“It was the best year I ever had,” Sean Springer said. “Having fun with my guys every day.”

Both Baseball America and DI Baseball had UC among the “first four out” of the NCAA tournament before Thursday night’s affair in Arlington. Official bids are awarded on Memorial Day, May 27.

“This was a statement year and put Cincinnati on the map a little bit,” Harting said. “It was a group of guys I didn’t think would ever bond and we did. We found a way to do it and found a way to win games.”

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