FRISCO, Texas– Describing Breckyn Hager is an almost impossible task. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound defensive lineman is an athletic freak with a high-end motor, but who is also introspective and outspoken.
“His personality, his athleticism, his everything, he is a unique kid,” senior Andrew Beck said. “I live in the house with him. He is a good friend of mine. I love him to death. He is an exciting guy to be around. He really is a really good teammate.”
Hager enters the 2018 season watch list for the Bednarik Award after playing in 13 games last year. He racked up 23 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four sacks, four pass breakups, three QB hurries and a fumble recovery.
So, it was no surprise that when Hager arrived at Big 12 Media Days Tuesday, his podium was engulfed with reporters, cameras and media members from all over the conference. The crowd that surrounded him is normally reserved by high profile quarterbacks and coaches.
Hager didn’t disappoint. For more than an hour Tuesday, the Austin native entertained the media and his own teammates with stories about himself, his team and of course his hair that goes down past his shoulders.
Instead of me trying to describe Hager, it seems more fitting to let him do it through his own words. Here are just a few of the exchanges Hager put out into the world during his time at Big 12 Media Days.
On coach Tom Herman and new coaching staff having to figure him out last year:
“It was more more me than them. They had to instill culture. I am always going to be real. I was just straight up being real with them. I am highly critical of people in their profession. So, I would just be real blunt. I was just being a weirdo. I didn’t do anything real wrong was just kind of being weird. I went through a stage where I felt this is maybe not what’s up. And coach didn’t give up on me. I owe that man a lot. I love this staff. I’d tell you if I hated them. We didn’t butt heads. It was just me being legitimately in the wrong. Being stubborn, just being unnecessary.”
After being shown a photo of what he looked like as a freshman, Hager seemed stunned:
“Oh my gosh. I see a man who did not know the name Malcolm Roach. He changed my life. He is from the boot, he’s like that. He is on that tracy.”
The last time Hager cut his hair:
“I had to get it cut for this film. It was probably at TarryTown Barber. That was the last time. Right when I got here I made the promise and it just grew. And then once it got to the awkward phase, I was like oh my gosh, I need to cut it. But it was too late. I already made the promise. So, my entire career I have not even cut it or trimmed it or anything.
Hager said if Texas won the Big 12 title, he would get his haircut. Beck wanted him to explain who would cut it:
“First of all, Andrew and Sam are cutting it. Coach Herman. I am going to give some pieces of it out. But let’s not talk about the future. Let’s talk about Andrew who once shook my hand and made a promise to me that he would grow out his beard and hair and we’d do the same thing. The man broke his promise. It wasn’t even a week later. I said dude, did you just forget.”
Who would Hager pick to be on his Fortnite squad:
“Are we talking real life Fortnite? I’d say Sam. I am trying to think who else I play with. It’s a real addiction. I try to stay away from video games. Because to be the best, it requires hours. I don’t got a lot of hours.
On wearing UT legend Tommy Nobis’ No. 60 during the Texas Bowl:
“To have those special moments happen in your lifetime, the sense of euphoria that can only be compared to other events. It felt like committing here for the first time. It was big a full of positive energy. It was truly a blessing. I still can’t believe I wore No. 60 at the University of Texas. I keep reminding myself of that. That is just another thing that drives me to give everything I got to this University. If you are going to be given a lot, you have to give back. I really want to be at the stage where I can give back.”
On what Tom Herman and his staff are building at Texas:
“The graphics we’ve acquired and the ways to attract recruits is something that takes some very smart men as a collective to put together at such a great price. These guys are building an empire. A legitimate empire. I’m just trying my absolute hardest to be helpful in building the foundation. I know I am going to come back here, if we’re going to talk future, five years from now, and I’m going to be like ‘oh my gosh. Where was this when I was in college?’ When you walk around coach Herman and his staff, you know these guys are elite winners and they’re going to build and make their mark on this entire state. It’s going to be a lovely time for all of us who have been a part of some not so lovely times.”