Eagles displays potential in season opener

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Photo Credit: Eddie Gaspar

Brennan Eagles’ 2018 season didn’t exactly go down in the record books: one catch for 35 yards — in 11 games.

But, in the midst of Texas’ 45-14 win over Louisiana Tech, the Houston native introduced himself to the Longhorn faithful.

Eagles caught three passes for a team-high two touchdowns and 59 yards. His first score came on a simple post route, beating the corner inside for the 28-yard score. The second touchdown was slightly easier, finding himself streaking wide open down the sideline before Ehlinger connected with him 25 yards down the field in the back of the end zone.

Eagles’ season debut was an eye-opener to many, except for his teammates, who have seen his high level of preparation throughout the offseason. 

“I’m really happy for him because all summer he was asking for extra work,” junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger said. “(He would say), ‘Sam, let’s watch film on the weekends.’ … To see him finally get the chance to make some plays and go get the ball … it makes me really happy.”

Eagles is a quiet receiver, one that fits with the culture set forth by senior wide receiver Collin Johnson and the rest of the receiver room. 

While Herman and his teammates were all happy for him, nobody seemed prouder for Eagles’ career night than Johnson.

“That’s my dog Eagles, man,” Johnson said. “Dude’s a beast. He’s just a really good player and a really good person at the same time. This is a sneak peak of Brennan Eagles this season for the UT offense.”

While Eagles was electrifying, he understands that it takes more than himself to unlock his talents, and that’s what head coach Tom Herman seems to love the most. 

“(He’s) maybe about as selfless a player we have on this team,” Herman said. “After his first touchdown, he sprinted to go hug a big guy, and that was friggin’ awesome. He is about as bought in as you can be to the way we do things.”

“Of course,” Eagles said when asked if it was his first thought to run and find an offensive lineman after he scored. “If it wasn’t for them, that play wouldn’t have happened. Everybody has to contribute to one play.” 

This moment for Eagles is special, considering he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his elbow two weeks before the opener. 

“It’s just been mental,” Eagles said. “Especially for me, taking mental reps and being there mentally for my teammates. I’m not on the field with them all the time being a vocal person.”

Eagles was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. During his freshman year, he didn’t get the playing time he wanted or the opportunities needed to show what he could do on the field, so he stood on the sideline and studied the starters. 

“My freshman year, to be truthfully honest with you, it was frustrating times,” Eagles said. “But you have to understand the game and understand the process. It’s all just consuming all of the techniques and things from older guys (such as) Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey.”

According to Eagles, Saturday wasn’t a breakout night or a statement of any kind. It was just a game to step up and help his team win. 

“I don’t feel like I’ve done anything yet,” Eagles said. 

When asked what he would have to do to make him feel like he’d done something, Eagles gave an answer with much room for interpretation.

“(The) sky’s the limit,” Eagles said.