I may have seen another true freshman Quarterback as cool under pressure as Shane Buechele, but if I have, I really do not remember him.
I don’t recall seeing a Quarterback go to each individual Offensive teammate with a huge smile on his face and encouraging them that everything is going to be fine and to just do your job. Most young guys are afraid to do that with older teammates. But, in the case with the Texas Longhorns most of the guys are pretty young.
Besides starting a true freshman Quarterback in Buechele, they also had a true freshman at Center in Zach Shackleford. Left Tackle Connor Williams and Left Guard Patrick Vahe are sophomores. Deep threat John Burt is a sophomore. They are a young team overall, but Shane Buechele wasn’t going to come up with any excuses.
He was just going to lead his team into battle against 10th ranked Notre Dame.
I’ve already written one post about Shane Buechele on this site, but he was one of the more
impressive players over the weekend in front of a national television audience. Last season, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hosted the Texas Longhorns and it was not a beautiful sight to behold. The Fighting Irish were depleted by injury, but the remaining players spanked a young Texas team, 38-3.
Another year, and another talented recruiting class can make a lot of difference at times. This game was completely different and a nail biter.
The sports cliche the ‘it’ factor is way overused. But, there’s really not a better way to describe this young Quarterback. He has the same qualities that the all time greats possess. Even at his own school, there was a young Quarterback in 1998 that led the Longhorns to a 9-3 record in Mack Brown’s first season. The biggest star on that team was Ricky Williams who won the Heisman Trophy that season, but Williams put up similar numbers the previous season and the team finished 4-7. Mack Brown came along and Applewhite was 3rd team Quarterback before the top 2 guys were injured and Applewhite came from out of nowhere to lead the team to a Cotton Bowl berth and victory over Mississippi State. Applewhite had that same ‘it’ factor as a Quarterback and now at Houston he is proving to have the same abilities as an Offensive Coordinator. Major Applewhite will some day become a great head coach.
Shane Buechele has those same leadership abilities and like Applewhite you would never know it by looking at him. Buechele looks like a normal average college student, he could even pass for a frat boy.
Unlike most coaches in America right now, Charlie Strong of Texas is not really into early recruiting at all. He would rather wait until their senior season and evaluate them and try and offer the right guys. That’s not always the case and they will offer a sure thing type of guy early on. They saw
something in Shane Buechele and offered him early and he committed early.
Continuing a modern trend, Beuchele also enrolled early and he participated in Spring Drills. I wrote about the Spring Game a little bit here: Shane Buechele
Texas fans fell in love with Shane Buechele then, and they may love him more after he led the Texas Longhorns to an Overtime victory over the mighty Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Shane Buechele is not a big guy. Rosters have him listed at about 6-1, 190 and those numbers may even be a stretch. He has a good arm, but it’s not going to make anyone think of John Elway.
He has good running ability, but it’s not going to remind anyone of Cam Newton, or Vince Young. What he does have that will remind you of some of the all time greats is leadership abilities.
For a young man, a true freshman, to go around with a huge smile all over his face in the middle of a difficult game talking up and encouraging his teammates is just phenomenal. Even after he threw his very first college interception, Buechele did not lose faith in himself.
He is calm, cool and collected and he seems fearless.
In last year’s recruiting class, the Longhorns signed Malik Jefferson who was one of the top Linebackers in the nation and that made a huge impact. Jefferson started the moment he suited up for Texas and he was the team leader in tackles before being lost for the season due to an injury. Malik Jefferson is a natural born leader and people instantly flock to him. But, even he did not feel comfortable taking leadership of the defense as a true freshman. Malik Jefferson
Shane Buechele had no such problems coming in.
Buechele was raised around big time sports. His father, Steve, was a 3rd baseman for the Texas
Rangers baseball team for a while.
Steve Buechele attended Stanford and he was college roommates with future Denver Bronco legend John Elway. That’s also the reason that Shane Buechele is now wearing jersey number 7, to honor John Elway.
Besides being a great leader in the game against Notre Dame, Buechele also performed well on the field. He completed 16 out of 26 passes for 280 yards and 2 Touchdowns. He completed a 72 yard pass to John Burt for a Touchdown, but speedster Burt dropped another 75 yard pass that would have resulted in a sure thing Touchdown.
Buechele also ran for 33 yards and another Touchdown.
It will be hard for Buechele to top his very first game as a college player. Exciting 50-47 double overtime wins over Notre Dame the most storied program in college football history do not happen every day.
But, with Shane Buechele leading the Offense and Malik Jefferson leading the defense, the Longhorns certainly appear to be returning to their place as an upper echelon college football program.