AUSTIN (KXAN) – The current landscape of college sports – particularly football – is very different from just five years ago. For better or worse, players have much more freedom to transfer from one program to another.

There is no better example in college football than Colorado, who welcomed more than 50 transfers with new head coach Deion Sanders this past off-season. Programs like Texas have seen players leave for other schools as well.

The Longhorns do have players who have stuck with the development process to great success. A prime example is fifth-year senior linebacker David Gbenda.

“In this day and age of college football, I think we’re diminishing and losing the value of perseverance,” said Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian. “[Gbenda] is a prime example of perseverance.”

Having started just twice in his first four years, Gbenda has broken out in a big way in 2023. The commitment to Texas never wavered, even during the moments of struggle.

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“It’s just the type of person I am,” said Gbenda about why he didn’t transfer. “When I committed to this university, I was committed to the education, the resources they provide…and overall the city of Austin.”

Gbenda is second on the Longhorns in tackles this season and has started every game. He knows his game now is far from what it was as an underclassman.

“Seeing my friends leave, it was the better option for them,” Gbenda said. “But I understood there were faults in my game here and there. I felt like the coaches aren’t just selling me short. They’re actually wanting me to develop and become better.”

“The stick-to-itiveness, the work ethic, the commitment to the program,” Sarkisian said about Gbenda. “He had his best off-season this off-season. Best spring, best summer.”

Sarkisian added the importance of developing players and that he thinks Texas had the best development staff in the country.

Gbenda even transitioned to running back for part of the 2019 season as a freshman because of injuries piling up. The veteran linebacker and the Longhorns are set to host No. 24 Kansas on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Austin.