Departures another blow for 2009 UT class

The departures of Thomas Ashcraft, Kyle Kriegel and Trey Graham from the Texas program is more tough news for a 2009 recruiting class that was already much-maligned.

That No. 3-ranked class included 20 promising future Longhorns. Transfers and departures left Texas with only two senior leaders from that group this season: Kenny Vaccaro and Alex Okafor.

In fact, Ashcraft, Kriegel and Graham giving up their final season means that only six signees from 2009 -- Okafor, Vaccaro, Barrett Matthews, Chris Whaley, Mason Walters and Garrett Porter -- will play out their full eligibility as Longhorns.

Ashcraft was among Texas’ most highly touted members of that class. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive lineman was an Under Armour All-American, a member of the ESPN 150 and ranked No. 5 among guard prospects.

The Cedar Hill (Texas) grad played in 35 games but never broke into the starting lineup. Most of his snaps came on special teams or in reserve roles. He was Mason Walters’ top backup at right guard in 2012.

For Kriegel, playing time was just as elusive. Opportunity finally did present itself in 2012 when he played in five games, but had he come back he would’ve faced plenty of competition for limited snaps in his final season.

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Kriegel was ranked No. 45 among defensive end prospects out of Elysian Fields (Texas) High and finished with one tackle in seven career games.

Unfortunately, Graham never got that opportunity. After the No. 8-ranked tight end recruit redshirted as a freshman, right knee injuries cost him two full seasons. He returned to the practice field this fall but did not appear in a game in his career.

Now they’ll prepare for a life after football. All three will be University of Texas graduates by the end of the spring. Their scholarships were by no means wasted.

By giving up their senior seasons, they open up spots in the 85-man roster for members of another promising Texas recruiting class, one that will need plenty of its signees to pan out if the Longhorns hopes to compete for national titles again.