Jan. 25, 2012
Liz Mannis, Texas Media Relations
Last week the T-Association hosted the letterman’s jacket ceremony for fall student-athletes in the recently renovated T-Room. The T-Association, which strives to create, maintain and enhance an atmosphere and structure whereby each University of Texas student-athlete becomes a lifetime member of the UT Athletics Department family, recognized 28 student-athletes from the football team.
“Every sport is a little bit different in how they letter. For us, they become an official member of the T-Association by lettering. So it’s a pretty special day for us. They probably don’t get the full impact of it, and they won’t, until down the line when they figure out what the T-Association is and what we try to do for them in the future,” said T-Association Coordinator Jill Sterkel.
The ceremony began with words of reflection and congratulations from T-Association Executive Director David McWilliams and Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds about what it means to letter at the University of Texas. Then Director of High School Relations and Player Development Ken Rucker presented each of the football players with their burnt-orange and white jackets.
“It’s special, just to put that on, to feel the weight of the jacket, to see the T there and just be so proud to have it. To be one of the few, the proud, that have lettered here,“ said Sterkel.
For freshman CB Quandre Diggs, freshman WR Jaxon Shipley, and sophomore QB Case McCoy, receiving a letterman’s jacket became a goal after watching their older brothers letter at Texas.
“Once I found out that my brother [former WR Jordan Shipley] was coming to Texas, then he graduated and got his T-ring, that was something. One of my dreams was to get that T-ring and to get this letterman’s jacket,” said Shipley. “Earning this jacket is just a big deal to us.”
“It means a lot because I still have the one that my brother [former CB Quentin Jammer] gave me when he was here. So to have my own, it’s truly a blessing,” said Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year Diggs. “I’m very blessed just to have the opportunity to come here.”
In a season that saw an unprecedented number of true freshman take the field for Texas, the contributions of the young athletes did not go unnoticed. Seventeen true freshmen from the team were awarded letterman jackets for their significant impact on the 2011 football season.
“We have a lot of leadership in this freshman class,” said Shipley. “I feel like our class is a close-knit group. We’re going to be leaders throughout our career, as a class. It’s a very strong class.”
While many of the players said they would be passing their jackets along to their parents or family members to wear for now, these jackets will one day serve as a constant reminder of their time as student-athletes at Texas.
“I’m happy they get to have them. It’s a legacy. You have some guys, the older alumni, that still have their jackets, and just to see the look on their face when they talk about [their time at Texas] is pretty neat,” said Sterkel. “I think the older you get, the more you appreciate it.”
The football team has already shifted their focus to the 2012 football season, but the athletes took a moment at the ceremony to soak up the honor of receiving a letterman’s jacket for this past season’s accomplishments.
“It’s always been my dream – to get a letterman’s jacket, to get a T-ring. To do great things at the University of Texas,” said Diggs. “So it’s just such a blessing to be here. It’s a very great day for me. I’m very proud of this.”