When the 2008 Texas Longhorn football season kicks off this fall, two of the starters in the defensive secondary are likely to be “Prime Time” and “E.T.”
That’s the nicknames their Longhorn teammates put on Kenneth (Deon Prime Time) Beasley and Earl (E.T.) Thomas during Spring Football that concluded last month on the Austin campus with the annual Orange-White game.
The North team defeated the South team 14-10 to the delight of the approximately 43,000 fans who were on hand to cheer the Longhorns at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
“I thought today was great,” beamed Head Coach Mack Brown. “The crowd was fantastic, the players were very competitive, very tough and very quick. Everybody got to play and we had a lot of fun. This was an end to a great spring and it was maybe our best spring game since we’ve been here.”
The University of Texas website said the defense had a very successful day holding the offense to just 99 passing yards and 318 total yards. Junior linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy and red shirt freshman safety Earl Thomas led the defense with six tackles each.
Thomas is expected to start at one of the two safety positions this fall while Beasley will be one of the mainstays at the cornerback position. In addition, Deon will be running back punts for the Longhorns this season.
Beasley has played in 20 career games for the Longhorns his first two seasons, including all 13 in 2007 and started in two games. He has posted 44 tackles, broke up 10 passes and collected three interceptions. He was named one of UT’s Lowe’s Most Improved Defensive Players.
Although the 5-10 Beasley began the 2007 season at 170 pounds, he has since gotten his weight up to 185 this spring. When asked how he added the extra weight, Deon replied in a telephone conversation Sunday night, “I’ve been doing a lot lifting weights because I wanted to be stronger and I’ve concentrated on eating healthy foods.”
Deon’s studies have kept him close to the Austin campus during his sophomore year, but he said that college life is much easier to adapt to than during his freshman year. He plans to remain in Austin and attend summer classes this year.
Beasley is enrolled in the college of education and enjoys shopping, working out and cooking. His cousin Marcus Scott played at Oklahoma (1999) and his uncle Anthony Thomas played linebacker at Stephen F. Austin (1997-99).
Thomas adjusted quickly to college life and impressed both his coaches and teammates as a red shirt last fall. This was quite apparent during the spring game when he led the team in tackles and handled the safety position like he’s been playing it all his life.
“Earl works so hard learning the safety positions,” Deon commented about his teammate. “It will be just like old times at West Orange-Stark being in the same defensive backfield with E.T.”
The solid 5-10, 190 pound Earl’s versatility extends past the football field too. He also is enrolled in the college of education and was a member of the honor roll.
Back in Orange Earl is an active member of his church in which his grandfather, Earl Thomas, is the pastor. He plays the piano in church and played tenor saxophone in the band when he was younger. His uncle, Anthony Thomas was a linebacker at Stephen F. Austin (1997-99).
So when you watch the Texas play football this fall either in person or on television, look for No. 7 Deon Beasley and No. 12 Earl Thomas making big plays in the Longhorns’ defensive secondary.
KWICKIES…Former Little Cypress-Mauriceville mound ace Clayton Ehlert started Sunday for No. 6 Texas A&M against No.4 Missouri and limited the visiting Tigers to one run and three hits in six innings, striking out five but was not involved in the decision. The Aggies won 3-2 on a walk-off home run in the 10th inning.
Congrats to the West Orange-Stark Lady Mustangs for winning their first softball playoff series in school history last week by sweeping two games over Shepherd in the best-of-three series. The Lady ‘Stangs have a major hurdle facing them this week as they tangle with 2006 Class 3A state champion West Columbia in the Region III area round. Details were unavailable at this writing.
The LCM boys baseball team will swing into playoff action as the District 22-4A’s third-seeded team against Huffman while the Bridge City Cardinals enjoyed a first-round bye and didn’t know who their opponent was in the area round of the Class 3A regionals.
Southeast Texas area athletes drafted last weekend into the NFL include Port Arthur’s running back Jamaal Charles of the Texas Longhorns who was the No. 3 pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, McNeese State defensive end Bryan Smith from Newton who was the No. 3 selection by the Philadelphia Eagles and Texas A&M defensive tackle Red Bryant from Jasper, who was the Seattle Seahawks’ No. 4 pick.
Former LC-M Lady Bear softball pitcher Cody Trahan was credited with all three mound victories as LSU swept the weekend series from Arkansas . The hard-throwing sophomore started two of the games and came on in relief in the other contest.
Area sportsmen were saddened by the death of conservationist Sue Bailey of Bridge City last weekend. She ran Bailey’s Fish Camp for more than 50 years, telling fishermen what was biting on what and where on Lake Sabine. Sue also was a lifetime member of the Audubon Society.
The Houston Astros’s bats were sizzling last week during their six-game winning streak before cooling off dramatically in St. Louis last weekend. The ‘Stroes swept San Diego and Cincinnati and took the first game against the Cards with a dramatic ninth-inning comeback to reach the .500 plateau, but then dropped games Saturday and Sunday. They moved on to Arizona for three games that began Monday before returning to Minute Maid Park after an off-day Thursday to host the Milwaukee Brewers for a weekend series starting Friday.
The West Orange-Stark relay team of James Haynes, Trey Franks, Seth Thomas and Josh Gloston is headed for the Class 3A state track meet in Austin May 9-10 after winning the 800-meter relay and finishing second in the 400-meter relay last weekend at the Region III Track & Field Championships at Humble High school . Bridge City ’s Corey Smith also qualified for the state meet by finishing second in the 880 meter run.
The Lamar Cardinal baseball team took two-of-three from Texas State last weekend, missing a sweep by losing 8-1 Sunday. LCM’s Matt Gore hurled three innings of relief, giving up one run and four hits. Ryne Nelson (2-1), who pitched to only two batters, absorbed the loss. The Cards (14-7) are one-half game behind first-place Northwestern State in the Southland Conference’s East Division and stand at 26-17 overall. The Redbirds will entertain Houston (26-17) in a non-conference game Tuesday and return to the SLC to play Southeastern Louisiana in a weekend series all at Vincent-Beck Stadium in Beaumont .
JUST BETWEEN US…After watching playing partner Craig Couvillion make three eagles this month, yours truly got an eagle of our own Friday at Sunset Grove Country Club, driving the Par 4, 254-yard No. 17 green and then sinking a 12-foot putt. Playing with us was Bob Hood, Pat Monogue and J. R. Powell.