Whenever a team loses a player who isn't a starter, you look at the impact in two categories. The first is depth. And the second is the scholarship numbers. And it's in the latter category that Paden Kelley electing not to play football could affect the Longhorns going forward.
Texas was already under for the 2012 season, so Kelley's absence doesn't have any effect on those numbers. But where his numbers will have an effect is on the 2013 season. Texas was already over the scholarship limit for 2013 (of course, with plenty of time to whittle those numbers down), with the Longhorns likely to take another five or six players in the class.
In that respect, Kelley at least gets them back to even, for now, with Naashon Hughes not counted against the scholarship numbers as a grayshirt. So, if nothing else happened, and Texas didn't sign any more players, the Longhorns would be at 85 scholarships for the 2013 season. Of course, neither of those situations are going to stand pat. We know that Texas will land more players for the 2013 class, and can therefore also deduce that more attrition will be coming to clear the way.
What this could also do, in a more immediate aspect, is clear the way for Texas to pursue another offensive lineman in the 2013 class. I've mentioned it before, but the 2014 offensive line situation isn't exactly appealing, with the Longhorns only having 12 offensive linemen slated for that season, and that includes listing Jake Raulerson on that side of the ball.
So bringing in another high quality lineman, if the Longhorns could find him, could ease some of the burden to go out and land a huge 2014 offensive line class. If Texas wants to be around 18 players on that side of the ball (that's where they're at for the 2013 season), it would have to land six more players in the next two recruiting classes (again, that's on top of the players already committed). That's a lot of pressure.
But Texas could relieve some of that by taking another lineman in this year's class, and could even do more by moving somebody like Paul Boyette (or A'Shawn Robinson) over to the offensive side of the ball. If Texas could get two extra linemen like that — one in the 2013 class and one position switch — the Longhorns would only be on the hook for four offensive linemen in the 2014 class, a group that's shaping up to be a normal-sized class.