The 2010 decade came on the heels of a wildly successful stretch from 2004-2009 that saw the Texas Longhorns win a national title, appear in another title game, and win three BSC bowl games.
Overall, it was a decade many fans would probably like to forget. Still, it had its share of impact players.
From 2010 through 2019, the Longhorns compiled a record of 71-57, had four losing seasons (including three straight), went 5-3 in bowl games, and saw three coaching changes.
Below are the top 10 most impactful players of the 2010s.
The Top 10 Criteria: Only seasons played and accomplishments made from 2010-2019 were considered. Stats, leadership, conference and national awards, and overall impact on the team were considered.
Honorable Mention: Justin Tucker, K/P (2008-2011)
Justin Tucker played just two seasons in the 2010s, but they were enough.
He went 40 for 48 in field goal attempts and nailed all 71 extra point attempts. That’s 191 points scored in the first two seasons of the decade.
Of course, he’s also responsible for the most famous kick of the decade—the walk-off 40-yard game-winner against the Little Aggies to end the rivalry the right way… or at least put it on a long hold.
OK, on to the top 10!
10. Malcom Brown, DT (2012-2014)Embed from Getty Images
The big man in the middle of the defense started just two seasons at Texas, but Malcom Brown attracted major national attention.
During his 2014 senior season, he totaled 70 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.
He was the 2014 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, a consensus All-American, and a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (nation’s top defensive player) and Outland Trophy (nation’s top interior lineman).
Brown is Texas’s the most recent NFL first-round pick.
9. Alex Okafor, DE (2009-2012)Embed from Getty Images
Alex Okafor played in the first three seasons of the decade totaling 150 tackles, 33 tackles for loss and 23 sacks during that time.
He may have been the biggest force at defensive end since Brian Orakpo. He was the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-Big 12 selection in 2011 and 2012.
He was a fourth-round draft pick in 2013 and now plays for the Kansas City Chiefs.
8. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE (2010-2013)Embed from Getty Images
The son of Dallas Cowboys great Jim Jeffcoat, Jackson came to Austin in 2010 with major expectations.
He made a quick impact as a sophomore with 17 tackles for less. Then, battled injuries as a junior.
He finished his senior season with 80 tackles and 13 sacks and earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors. He also won the Ted Hendricks award, which goes to the nation’s top defensive end.
Jeffcoat had a short stint in the NFL before joining the Canadian League where he won a Grey Cup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
7. Collin Johnson, WR (2016-2019)Embed from Getty Images
Even with Collin Johnson’s injuries throughout his career, he still ranks fifth all-time in program receiving yards with 2,624.
His most productive season was 2018 as a junior when he totaled 985 yards and seven touchdowns.
Johnson was a team captain as a senior in 2019.
6. Quandre Diggs, CB (2011-2014)Embed from Getty Images
Even at 5-10, Quandre Diggs was a force at defensive back for four seasons with 49 starts.
He totaled 220 tackles and 11 interceptions (tied for ninth all-time) during the first half of the decade.
Diggs just completed his fifth NFL season after being drafted in the sixth round in 2015.
5. Mike Davis, WR (2010-2013)Embed from Getty Images
Mike Davis was a huge recruit out of Skyline High School in Dallas. He was the team’s top receiver for three seasons.
His 2,753 receiving yards rank fourth all-time, and his 18 touchdowns rank fifth.
4. Jaxon Shipley, WR (2011-2014)Embed from Getty Images
Having the last name of Shipley carries a lot of weight.
Although Jaxon didn’t make as big of an impact as his older brother, he was a consistent target for four seasons.
He finished with 218 receptions—third all-time. His 2,510 yards rank seventh all-time.
Shipley edges out Davis for the fourth spot because of his impact as a punt returner, totaling 363 career return yards.
3. Malcolm Brown, RB (2011-2014)Embed from Getty Images
Many Texas fans label Malcolm Brown as a disappointment, but he didn’t have much help most of his career.
Still, Brown managed to rush for at least 700 yards three different seasons, and totaled more than 3,000 total yards and 27 touchdowns during his four years.
Brown is now a backup running back for the Los Angeles Rams despite not being drafted.
2. D’Onta Foreman, RB (2014-2016)Embed from Getty Images
Anytime a running back goes for 2,000 yards in a season, it’s a massive impact.
Foreman rushed for 672 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 7.1 yards per carry as a sophomore in 2015.
When he finally became the No. 1 back, he ripped off more than 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns. Even though 2016 was a losing season, Foreman joined Ricky Williams as the only two backs to top 2,000 yards in a season.
He was a 2016 Consensus All-American, First-Team All-Big 12 and the Doak Walker Award winner as the nation’s top running back.
1. Sam Ehlinger, QB (2017-2019)Embed from Getty Images
This should be no surprise. No one else even comes close to No. 1.
Sam Ehlinger is the Longhorns’ first legitimate answer at quarterback since Colt McCoy… 10 years ago.
After two years as the starter and significant time during his freshman season, his 8,870 passing yards and 68 touchdowns rank second all-time behind McCoy.
He’s also racked up more than 1,500 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns.
Ehlinger has led Texas to a Big 12 Championship appearance, a win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and a win over Utah in the Alamo Bowl.