I didn't think about it being an acorn lodged in the bark, but the sprout looks like all the other ones which are dormant on the same area of the tree. I think the ice storm we're supposed to have tonight might convince this twig to go night-night for a few months.
Got two BIG Red Oak trees in the front yard. Last year, didn't have many acorns.
This year, we were knee deep in them.
Probably took twenty plastic yard bags of acorns off the yard and still have a solid layer for the squirrels.
In MN, Red Oak trees grow straight and tall, also they have a different bark than that curved TX tree you have in your photo, I have never seen a MN Red Oak that didn't have a straight trunk ...and they have one unusual characteristic, they drop their leaves in mid winter, whereas all other oak trees in MN drop there leaves in Sept or Oct. The Red Oak leaves turn brown in Sept/Oct, but the brown leaves cling to the tree until January.
I'm wondering if MN Red Oak are different that what you have in TX? https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/trees_shrubs/deciduous/northernredoak.html
I happen to know more than the "usual" amount of info about MN Red Oak trees, because my best friend's farm is loaded with them. I've cut/split countless cords of firewood from them. They grow much faster than other varieties of Oak.
You've described my Red Oaks exactly. Tall and straight and didn't drop all their leaves until a big storm came through last week. Still have a few leaves hanging on. My understanding is wildlife likes the White acorn dropped buy live oaks and Burr Oaks better ban the reddish acorn dropped by Red Oaks.
These are southern red oak, or Spanish oaks. They do grow straight where there is soil, but there is almost no soil here, only rough limestone rock formations and caliche layers. The rocky terrain, together with sapling damage from animals and weather, makes them crow crooked and deformed. The leaves which turned bright red in November are brown and a few still hang on the trees, but the green has been gone since October, a normal thing for here. This tree has some long-dead, brown leaves on it still, but just this one random green sprig poking out is weird, never seen anything like it before.