Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks will not return to the field this season, the result of a hip injury. The junior was the Longhorns' most experienced linebacker entering the season but has not played since suffering the injury on Sept. 15 at Mississippi.
"He has just not gotten better and [the medical staff] told us yesterday that he is out for the year," UT coach Mack Brown said on Monday.
Hicks played in only three games this year and had 23 total tackles and three tackles for loss. He will apply for a medical redshirt at the end of the season and could earn an extra year of eligibility if the NCAA approves the request.
"It's a big loss. He's our defensive leader," sophomore cornerback Quandre Diggs said. "He's been that guy just to get us going all the time. He goes out and he makes plays. He makes everyone feel a lot more comfortable."
Senior safety Kenny Vaccaro said he told Hicks that his decision not to return would be good for him in the long run.
"He might have been able to come back for the bowl game, but Jordan has a great future," Vaccaro said. "He really wanted to play. It hurts us because he's a great leader and a great player. But we've got guys stepping up."
Sophomore Kendall Thompson has gotten the bulk of the playing time at weakside linebacker with Hicks out and has started six games. Freshmen Peter Jinkens and Dalton Santos each have made one start as well.
Texas struggled defensively in the four games following Hicks' injury, in part because of inexperience at the linebacker position, and went 2-2. But the Longhorns (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) have not allowed more than 22 points in any of their last three contests and have won four straight.
"Jordan was their quarterback and he was their guy and he was their leader. I think that's when we got off track," Brown said of his young linebackers. "They're playing much better. We're back to being two-deep and they're all playing with more confidence."
In other injury news, Coach Brown said junior defensive tackle Ashton Dorsey is expected to play on Thursday against Texas Christian after missing the past two games with a calf injury. Sophomore defensive back Sheroid Evans is also expected to play after missing the past four games with a lower leg injury. Freshman offensive lineman Kennedy Estelle will miss his fourth straight game with a shoulder issue.
By Austin Laymance/Special to the Star-Telegram