Just hours after Texas Longhorns coach Tom Herman said he anticipated no more players to opt out for the final two games of the regular season, another of his starters declared he was leaving the team Monday. The school announced that junior defensive back Caden Sterns will forgo the remainder of the 2020 season to enter the NFL Draft.
One day earlier, left tackle Sam Cosmi opted out to prepare himself for the draft, and Herman said on the Monday morning Big 12 conference call that he wished Cosmi "nothing but the best." Herman went on to say that he didn't expect any similar announcements because "they would have happened already."
Yet later in the day, as the 17th-ranked Longhorns (5-3, 4-3 Big 12) prepare for Saturday's game at Kansas State, the school issued a statement from Sterns, a co-captain and three-year starter, which said in part, "it is time for me to follow my lifelong dream and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft."
In seven games this season, Sterns recorded 52 tackles, tied for second most on the team. In Saturday's last-minute loss to Iowa State, which effectively ended the Longhorns' Big 12 championship chances, Sterns led the team with 13 tackles.
Sterns made a splash as a highly touted freshman in 2018, being named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. For his career, he started 28 games and was credited with 173 tackles and five interceptions.
Yet unlike Cosmi, Sterns is not widely projected as a first-round choice.
"I'll always look back at my time in Austin as some of the best years of my life, especially with my teammates who have become my brothers," Sterns' statement said. "I want to thank Coach (Tom) Herman, Coach (Chris) Ash and all of my coaches for guiding me in taking my game to the next level and all they've done for me throughout my career at UT."
--Field Level Media