The Thanksgiving break has become costly for the Texas football team.
Not only did the Longhorns lose Friday to Iowa State and subsequently tumble out of the newest Associated Press top 25 poll, they also lost their best offensive lineman for good. The loss to the Cyclones was the final game in the college career of left tackle Samuel Cosmi, who declared Sunday that he is opting out of the rest of the season in order to focus on his preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft.
"It was an extremely difficult decision, but after talking with my family, I feel that it’s in my best interest to forgo the remainder of the season," Cosmi said Sunday in a statement released through the UT athletic department. "My goal is to prepare for the NFL Draft and work towards that dream of mine. I want to thank everyone at the University, especially Coach (Tom) Herman, (offensive line) Coach (Herb) Hand and (strength and conditioning) Coach (Yancy) McKnight, and all who have had a part in my journey. I wouldn’t be here and have had the success I’ve had if it weren’t for them.
Because of the NCAA's decision to offer an extra year of eligibility to athletes who play this year, the junior theoretically could have come back in 2022, as well. Honored with the Texas seniors before Saturday's game against Iowa State, Cosmi gives up his chance to play in the Longhorn' remaining games, Dec. 5 at Kansas State and Dec. 12 at Kansas.
Cosmi has been the biggest contributor to the Longhorns' efforts to keep quarterback Sam Ehlinger upright since he became a fixture in the Texas offensive line since the start of his redshirt freshman season in 2018. He has played in all 35 games since then, starting at one tackle spot or the other in 34. He received 2020 preseason All-America recognition from the Associated Press and the Walter Camp Football Foundation, and was named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is given annually by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) to the best college football interior lineman.
The unanimous Preseason All-Big 12 honoree led UT linemen this season in total first down/TD blocks, total knockdown blocks and total intimidation/domination blocks, and entering Saturday's game against Iowa State had allowed only one quarterback hit, one tackle for loss and one sack.
"I’m so incredibly grateful for the support of my teammates — I love them all and will be forever thankful for them," Cosmi said. "The bonds we’ve created go way beyond football and will last a lifetime. Most of all, I want to thank my family, who have been my biggest supporters. They’ve been my rock through it all. I’m so blessed to have them in my life.
"I am planning on finishing my degree this semester, as well as preparing for the draft, and I’ll be supporting the guys as they finish the season. Thank you to all of Longhorn Nation. I’m going to bleed Burnt Orange for the rest of my life! Hook 'em!”