The Texas Longhorns, winners of six straight and coming off a tough, 47-40, road win over West Virginia, received some bad news on Monday. Two starters, defensive tackle Chris Whaley and running back Johnathan Gray, have been lost for the season due to injuries.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Whaley suffered an undisclosed knee injury, while Gray went down with a non-contact Achilles injury. Unfortunately for Whaley, the 6-foot-3, 295-pounder is a senior, meaning his career as a Longhorn is likely over.
With five tackles for a loss and 21 tackles total, Whaley served as a dynamic run-stuffer for a defense that has improved since Greg Robinson took over as coordinator. Whaley could also succeed out in space, as he had both a fumble and an interception return for a touchdown on the season.
Losing Johnathan Gray may be an even bigger blow. The sophomore leads the team with 780 rushing yards in 159 attempts. As a freshman in 2012, Gray also led the team in rushing, with 701 rushing yards on the season.
Coach Mack Brown will look to junior Malcolm Brown to take on the lion’s share of the workload out of the backfield. Brown has appeared in every game this year, compiling a team-high eight rushing touchdowns, along with 442 yards and a 3.98 average.
The injuries come on the heels of the Longhorns reentry to the top 25, and in anticipation of their Week 12 showdown against Oklahoma State.