AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two of the biggest questions surrounding Bowl games concern players deciding to leave school early for the NFL and players skipping the game to prepare for the draft. Last year Texas was hit hard by both, playing against Missouri in the Texas Bowl without offensive lineman Connor Williams, linebacker Malik Jefferson and safety DeShon Elliot. While Williams and Jefferson were not 100 percent healthy, it’s become a trend for players to sit out the game to avoid injury.
It doesn’t appear Texas will be losing any players for the Sugar Bowl against Georgia. Junior receivers Lil’Jordan Humphrey (79 catches, 1109 yards and 9 TD’s) and Collin Johnson (65 catches, 945 yards, 7 TD’s) are planning to play and have not made their NFL decision.
“We’re still in the process of evaluating in terms of the next level,” Johnson said on Monday. “I’ve talked to my Dad (former Longhorn Johnnie Johnson) a little bit and the coaching staff but no decision has been made yet,. My main focus is on Georgia. Playing with my brother (RB Kirk Johnson who saw time on special teams this season), that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. We did it in high school, our goal was to do it in college. We got on the field at the same time against Baylor on a punt return but being on the field on offense at the same time would be something special, that would obviously go into it as well.”
Humphrey told reporters that he’s “50-50” on whether or not he’ll return for his senior season or leave for the NFL as he gathers more information about his draft status.
Senior defensive end Charles Omenihu (9.5 sacks) is the Big 12 defensive lineman of the year and could take the stand to avoid injury heading into the draft. Instead Omenihu is looking at the game as another opportunity to improve his draft stock.
“Me personally, guys shouldn’t skip Bowl games unless you know for sure you’re going to be in the first round, if you don’t then there’s no point because you’ll be looked down upon” Omenihu said. “It’s a good test for me as an individual and I want to finish what I started when I came back to school.”
Omenihu will get a big test from a Georgia team that ranks 12th in the nation in rushing offense at more than 251 yards per game.