Demarco Cobbs — who shifted to linebacker — Adrian Phillips, Quandre Diggs, Mykkele Thompson and Duke Thomas were all better known for their abilities on the offensive side of the ball coming out of high school, and all have spent time in Akina's "DBU" group. The appeal of putting a star offensive player back on defense isn't exactly new: typically in high school, teams put their best athletes on offense to generate points. So by swapping them over, often there's an influx of speed, and maybe even more importantly for defensive backs, ball skills.
It's against this canvass that you have to look at Texas's most recent commitment, Livingston athlete Chevoski Collins. Collins is an interesting player in that he lacks ideal size for a safety, but as a high school quarterback, almost certainly has the ball skills. And his athleticism and fluidity are definitely plusses as well.
The easiest comparison to make for Collins is Adrian Phillips. Both project as good college receivers, but — assuming things don't change with Collins — started their college careers off on defense. Akina loves bigger, more physical corners, and Collins is a guy who can fill that role with some pop in his pads. At safety, where he's projected to start, he should be able to use his ball skills and ability to break on the ball to create some turnovers and become a tough guy to throw against when he's playing a centerfield role. And he could certainly slide into that hybrid nickel-back spot that Aaron Williams, Kenny Vaccaro and Phillips have played well over the last few years.
That skill set also complements that of prior Texas commitment Erik Huhn well. Huhn is more of a search-and-destroy force who should project to strong safety with his outstanding size (6-3 205) and underrated athleticism. While Huhn has outstanding instincts for the position, he doesn't offer as much versatility as Collins does, in terms of being a guy that Akina can plug in at any one of the defensive back spots.
The move could also speak to Texas's feelings about out-of-stater Marcell Harris, who already plays safety and has more natural ability than Collins. The two were really Texas's top remaining targets at the position, and despite Texas sitting in Harris's top two, the Florida Gators, with their outstanding start to the season, may have pulled ahead for his services.
Still, it's not like Collins is a consolation prize. In getting him, the Longhorns land yet another athletic and skilled offensive player who should project well to Akina's group of toys next season.