Even with a sizable hole in the lineup created by Jordan Spieth’s departure, Texas coach John Fields will resist the urge to insert prized recruit Beau Hossler into the starting five for the defending NCAA champions.
“Human nature dictates that anyone would want to do that,” Fields told GTC on Tuesday, “but we have the luxury of being patient at the moment. It just makes sense to stick with the plan.”
Hossler, 17, who briefly held the lead at last year’s U.S. Open, graduated early from high school and enrolled at Texas this month.
The original plan was for Hossler to get acclimated to college life – he has already begun taking classes – and start his first year of eligibility in the fall. But when Spieth announced in December that he was turning pro, Fields was faced with a decision: stick with the plan or let the country’s top junior compete for the No. 2-ranked Longhorns.
Said Fields, “Beau came here early with the idea not to compete but to get his feet on the ground, have a successful semester academically, and to play four quality years at Texas. That hasn’t changed.”
When asked the chances of Hossler playing for Texas this spring, Fields replied, “None, at this moment. At this point, I really just don’t see that. That would not come from me. We like who we are, and we’re ready to get after it.”
Now, the Longhorns will rely heavily on freshman Brandon Stone – ranked third in the country after the fall season – and upperclassmen Cody Gribble, Julio Vegas (brother of Jhonattan) and Toni Hakula, all of whom played on last year’s NCAA-winning team.
Texas’ spring slate begins next Wednesday with the Amer Ari Invitational in Hawaii, against a stacked field that includes heavyweights USC, UCLA and Washington, among others.
“Nobody thinks we can do it now,” Fields said. “But it doesn’t matter what people think. It’s nice to have a little bit of a challenge now.”