The Houston Cougars are getting closer to opening up their first spring practices under first year head coach Major Applewhite. Along with the new face at the helm of the Cougars program, there are a number of new position coaches who will be evaluating what they have to work with in their positions groups.
During spring ball the newly assembled staff, some of which are holdovers from the previous regime, will get their first look at what the Cougars have returning as they build towards the start of the 2017 season.
As part of the Cougar Digest preview series leading into the start of the Cougars’ spring practices on Monday March 6, today we take a closer look at what the cougars will return at the cornerback position.
Secondary coach Clay Jennings begins his second stint on the Cougars staff and will have some important decisions at the cornerback position this spring.
The Cougars lose Howard Wilson to the NFL draft after the underclassman declared early. Unfortunately for the Cougars, Wilson was the most consistent player at the position last season. Fortunately for them though, there is a lot of young talent to work during the spring to see who will emerge heading into fall camp.
Redshirt sophomore Jeremy Winchester played the majority of snaps opposite Wilson in 2016 and returns the most experience at the position. They also have redshirt sophomore Joeal Williams who also saw the field often in 2016.
The rest of the crop of cornerbacks include three freshmen from last season who all at one point received praise for their progress early on. Patrick Rossette brings the best size of the group of young corners. At 6-foot-1, 195 he has plenty of size if the speed can remain through his development, he could be another cornerback for Cougar fans to watch continue the run of talent at the position making the jump to the NFL over the last five years.
A pair of Smiths, Ka’Darian Smith and Javian Smith, both showed flashes last fall in camp. Ka’Darian specifically was pushing some in camp to climb the depth chart before an injury delayed the start of his season.
Jennings will have his work cut out for him as he looks to replace experience and production on at least one side of the field as well as build some depth at the position. This will be one of the key positions in the spring we will focus on the see which players are beginning to emerge in the search for next year’s starters.