The list of Longhorn Legends reads longer than a Lord of the Rings novel, but who is the ultimate Texas Longhorns ambassador? That's what Horns Illustrated aims to determine in our Longhorn Legends Face-off and the answer lies in your hands.
And there were four. Two weeks of voting from you has led to the virtual Mt. Rushmore of Texas athletics and a set of battles that would turn any fan burnt orange with envy. Vince Young puts his national championship reputation on line against the sharp-shooting Kevin Durant, and softball sensation Cat Osterman squares off against Darrell Royal. Who wins and makes it to the LLF Championship Match? It's time for you to decide.
Vince Young vs. Kevin Durant
It is impossible to name a single Texas football player who was as electric as Vince Young. VY could kill you with his effortless deep passes and was impossible to stop as a scrambling quarterback. With Young under center, the Longhorns were never truly out of a game, no matter what the deficit was. After beating Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl, Young guaranteed to a return to Pasadena and he more than delivered on the promise. In 2005, Young was honored with the Manning, Maxwell, and Davey O'Brien awards. He was also named as the AT&amp;T/ABC Sports National Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. But his greatest effort, and the moment that will forever define his legacy as a Longhorn Legend, came in his come-from-behind national championship win over the insanely hyped USC Trojans. In the 41-38 victory, Vince Young accounted for 467 yards of total offense (200 rushing, 267 passing) and three rushing touchdowns (including a 9-yard TD scramble on 4th down with 19 seconds left). There are Texas quarterbacks who will hold records over Young, but he is without a doubt the player you would want as your quarterback with the game on the line. There is and will only ever be one player like Vince Young at the University of Texas.
KD cut the nets with his silky smooth jumper from the moment he stepped into the Frank Erwin Center. The forward only stayed with Texas for a season, but that's all it took for him to make his case as the greatest individual scorer in school history. Durant became the first ever freshman in the 2006-2007 season to be named Naismith College Player of the Year. He droppped 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game and won pretty much every award you could dream of, including the John R. Wooden Award. Durant's single season at Texas was so impressive that the university retired his number a week after he was drafted in the NBA by the Seattle Supersonics.
Darrell Royal vs. Cat Osterman
Coach Darrell K. Royal left such an unrivaled impression on the city of Austin, the word legend almost seems unworthy of him. Royal embodied the best of Austin, loving both college football and the live music scene. During the week, you were as likely to see him brag about handing the mic to friend Willie Nelson as he was of seeing quarterback James Street hand off the ball during one of Royal's three national championship seasons. The superlatives never end when discussing Darrell Royal. An innovator, he installed UT's famous wishbone offense. He never coached a losing season in his twenty years at UT, finishing with a 167-47-5 overall record that included 11 SWC titles.The man crafted words with the best of them, belting out "Royalisms" like, ""God gives talent, size, speed. But a guy can control how hard he tries." But most importantly, he was a truly remarkable person who never let his larger than life presence prevent him from touching everyone around him.
Osterman, a four-time All-American and two-time Olympian, belongs in the discussion of greatest softball pitchers ever. How impressive was Osterman on the mound? She's the only softball player to win National Player of the Year honors three times and became the first softball player to appear on a Sports Illustrated cover in 2002. You want more records? Cat owns plenty of them. She holds career records at UT in victories (136), ERA (0.51), shutouts (85), and no-hitters (20). The southpaw pitcher also stands as the only player in NCAA history to lead the nation in ERA three times still hold the NCAA all-time lead for strikeouts per 7-innings (14.34).