Former Longhorn stars look to jumpstart teams

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As the Longhorns suited up on Saturday to face off against Kansas State in Austin, numerous former Texas players took the field in the NFL. Here’s how four former
Longhorns fared in week five.

D’Onta Foreman

Foreman forewent his final year of eligibility to enter the 2017 NFL Draft after leading the Longhorns in yards, carries and touchdowns in 2016. And in the draft, Foreman landed three hours southeast of Austin, ending up with the
Houston Texans.

So far in his rookie campaign, Foreman has mainly been used as a complimentary piece to starting running back Lamar Miller. In a limited sample size, Foreman has averaged roughly four yards a carry. He has shown flashes of the power and speed that helped him rush for over 2,000 yards in his final season as a Longhorn. And while he is not yet a featured part of the Texans’ offense, his performance suggests that he will be more involved in weeks to come.

Kenny Vaccaro

Vaccaro has fought his way out of the dog house and back onto the field after being benched by Saints’ head coach Sean Payton three weeks ago. The former All-Big 12 first-teamer has raised his level of play for the New Orleans Saints’ defense, which is ranked No. 16 against the pass this year. The Saints are up from their No. 32 pass defense a year ago.

So far this season, Vaccaro has 21 tackles and one interception. He will look to improve upon a solid first quarter of the season on Sunday against the Lions.

Adrian Phillips

Phillips has worked his way up from being undrafted in 2014 and was signed from the practice squad in October 2015 to the Los Angeles Chargers after an injury to starting safety Eric Weddle. The former Longhorn is looking to build on a 2016 campaign in which he had six starts.

The 25-year-old safety has become a viable option in the Chargers’ secondary. He is coming off of an eight-tackle performance against the Giants, which was also the team’s first win of the season.
His season thus far has included 13 tackles and one interception.

Earl Thomas

After suffering a broken leg last season, Thomas is back and playing at his usual All-Pro level. Thomas had a busy day on Sunday, tallying seven tackles, one interception and a forced fumble on the goal line. His performance warranted him the NFC defensive player of the week award. The former Texas standout has been a top contributor on an NFC West contender for eight years now and has helped lead one of the most elite pass defenses in the entire NFL.