"Obviously, I wouldn't have chosen to come back if I didn't think we could do extraordinary things next season," said Kyle Russell in an official release from Texas. "With the talent we have returning and the recruits that are coming in, we will just need to put in a lot of hard work to make 2008 a special season."
Russell shattered the Texas single-season homerun record with 28 bombs in 2007. Russell hit .336 with 68 runs scored, 11 doubles, five triples, 10 stolen bases and 71 RBI to go along with leading the nation in homers, earning him All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year honors.
Catcher Preston Clark will also be returning for his junior season. The two-year starter and first-team All-Big 12 selection hit .286 with 17 doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 45 RBI last season.
Clark said in a release:
"I'm excited to be coming back to play another year...I'm happy I'll be apart of it and hopefully we can carry things further than we did last year and get the Longhorns back to Omaha."
Texas recruits RHP Brandon Workman (3rd round Philadelphia Phillies), LHP/OF Brandon Belt (11th round Atlanta Braves), OF Runey Davis (11th round Pittsburgh Pirates), OF Kevin Keyes (26th round Texas Rangers), RHP/IF Garrett Clyde (43rd round Chicago Cubs) and C Cameron Rupp (43rd round Pittsburgh Pirates) did not sign with the Major League clubs that drafted them and will play for head coach Augie Garrido and the Texas Longhorns in 2008.
Adrian Alaniz, James Russell and Bradley Suttle were the three Longhorns who were eligible to return to Texas but instead signed with MLB teams. Alaniz was drafted by the Washington Nationals, Russell by the Chicago Cubs and Suttle by the New York Yankees.
The Longhorns finished the 2007 season with a 46-17 record (21-6 Big 12) and won the Big 12 regular season title. However, Texas was bounced from its own regional for the second year in a row and this coming season, with the help of Kyle Russell and Preston Clark, will work to make it back to Omaha.