Being named a team captain is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an athlete. So for it to happen for Texas transfer Shane Buechele after only being on campus a few months says a lot. With last year’s starter, Ben Hicks, transferring to Arkansas, the need for new leadership at quarterback became apparent and Buechele earning the title of captain shows that he answered that call.
Shane is not new to being a leader
Shane’s ascension to stardom started while he was at local Lamar High School in Arlington, TX. During his time as the Vikings quarterback, Buechele passed for 6,379 yards, rushed for 1,805 yards and accounted for 94 total touchdowns. But it wasn’t just on the field where he showed leadership qualities. The most significant decision a prep star can make is choosing which college to continue their athletic career. For Shane, that decision was complicated due to the rooting interests of his family. At the time of his commitment to the University of Texas, Shane had a brother and two sisters attending the University of Oklahoma. To choose the Longhorns despite the strong presence of Boomer Sooner within his own household showed Shane’s ability to make tough decisions and do what was best for him.
The infallible freshman
Despite the accolades and prep accomplishments, the expectation was that Buechele would sit his freshman year and get acclimated to being a college football player. But Shane had other ideas. Buechele not only stood out during fall practice, but he became the first true freshman since Bobby Layne to start at quarterback. The team’s 5-7 record may not have been impressive, but Buechele finished the 2016 season with 2,958 yards and 21 touchdowns — including a 280-yards and two touchdowns performance in the season-opening upset of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Bloody but unbowed
After a productive freshman season, the thought was that Texas had finally found its quarterback of the future, but unfortunately, Buechele’s inability to stay on the field hurt his Longhorns legacy. In 2017, Shane appeared in nine games but four of those games he did not finish and fans of the Longhorns began to question if he was ever going to be “the guy.” Bridled with a new outlook and determination, Shane looked to impress new head coach Tom Herman by regaining his starting job. However, injuries once again relegated him to the backup role, and because of the success of the team, he was never really allowed to win the job back. Despite not being able to secure the starting job, Buechele showed maturity by continuing to be a great teammate and supporter of his Longhorn teammates, including Sam Ehlinger.
A new opportunity
We know that Buechele has the pedigree and the skills, but what many were unsure of was how he would be received in his new locker room. Often times, when a player transfers from a more successful program, there could be an assumed sense of entitlement and arrogance that comes along with it. But not Shane. There is an understanding that nothing is a given (at the time of this article he had yet to be officially named the starting quarterback.) But the hard work he exhibited on the practice field, meeting room, and in building bonds with his new teammates was strong enough for the SMU players to name him one of four captains for the 2019 season.
Buechele could have finished his academic studies in Austin — he is obtaining a Masters in Business Administration — but he could not give up the game he loved so much. The hope is that the same fire that burns within him ignites the team to a successful 2019 season; them naming him captain shows that it could.