Vaccaro coming back for senior year

Cornerback Kenny Vaccaro tweeted and then publicly announced after Texas beat Cal in the Holiday Bowl that he will return for his senior season in 2012. He wants to win the Thorpe Award and lead his team to the national championship.

Kenny Vaccaro is staying for his senior season. He tweeted it after the game.

"@KennyVaccaro4: Glad I helped send the seniors off with a win. Taking the team to South Beach next year. I'll see y'all in the spring, baby."

Of course, the 2012 national championship game is at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

The junior cornerback, who had three tackles, two for loss and a sack against Cal, followed up his tweet by telling the media in the post-game press conference his plans in person.

"I'll be back next year," Vaccaro said. "I want to win the Thorpe, that's it. And I want to go to South Beach. That's where the Orange Bowl is."

After beating Cal 21-10 in Wednesday' Holiday Bowl, the Longhorns first post-season win in three years, the players, coaches and their families gathered near the Texas sideline at Qualcomm Stadium to accept the trophy. All the seniors – guys like Blake Gideon, Blaine Irby, Kheeston Randall, Keenan Robinson, Emmanuel Acho and Cody Johnson – got on stage to get their hands on the precious metal.

At first, Vaccaro jumped on stage with his older teammates because he didn't get the senior's first memo and was overheard saying, "Oh, I guess I'm not supposed to be up here," as he stepped off.

The news should make Texas fans breathe. It was a tough season for this young team, but the fact that the experienced Vaccaro will be in next year's senior class is important for the Longhorns as they'll still be a very youthful group in 2012. They'll need his leadership, skill and athletic sacking ability that has been broadcasted nationally in the last few hours as one of SportsCenter's Top 10 plays.

Now that he's officially coming back, Vaccaro was asked what getting win No. 8 this season meant to him:

"I think it's momentum for our team next year as far as me and Jaxon [Shipley], even younger guys being leaders," he said. "It's a stepping stone toward next year and that's all from guys making plays."

Texas will have a small senior class next year with two on defense in Vaccaro and Alex Okafor and two on offense in Marquise Goodwin and Luke Poehlmann.

Vaccaro's return is also beneficial to the young secondary. He'll be the sole senior of next year's defensive backs and can lead players like Carrington Byndom, Adrian Phillips and Quandre Diggs.

For more coverage, follow Laken Litman on Twitter!

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