I'm pretty sure those of you that have been following this series don't need the introduction anymore and realize that we have done this before. In fact, we've done it many years but have returned with it online to give a brief summation of where each player on the roster stands following spring football. Some of the walk-ons are out there and helping out with practice but will never really end up playing much, while some will develop into players.
In the meantime, what you really want to know is who will man the ship in the fall.
I think in the secondary there were as many positive answers and developments as there were anywhere on the team in the spring. An injury to cornerback Ashton Lampkin made it imperative that somebody stood up and showed they could fill in, and the answer came in a pair of developing players. Remember, Lampkin will be back for the season. There were also some good answers to the depth question at safety where losing Dylan Harding became a reality with about a week and a half to go in spring football. Harding has had an issue with stingers and there is concern with possible permanent injury, so he gave up football and will continue to help out the program off the field.
In the Big 12, secondary play is extremely important facing all of the spread and throwing attacks from Lubbock to Fort Worth to Ames and to Morgantown.
6 Ashton Lampkin, 6-0, 190, RS-Sr., Fort Worth (Dunbar), Texas
Lampkin is a leader in the secondary and was having a good spring when he suffered a foot injury that required surgery and kept him out the remainder of spring. You hate to see it, but it did allow a couple of players more reps and they seemed to succeed with it. Lampkin is fast and tough and needs to be back and stay healthy as he is the most experienced corner on the team.
7 Ramon Richards, 5-11, 185, Jr., San Antonio (Brackenridge), Texas
Richards came up with a new attitude of being the best he could be and really thinking he is one of the best corners in the country. Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer won't go that far but he admits that Richards had a very strong spring, took on a leadership role, was improved and played with a new confidence. Richards has size and is very smart. His teammates believe in him and I think he has a chance to be as good as there is in the Big 12. His spring was a strong statement.
2 Darius Curry, 6-1, 205, RS-Jr., Flowery Branch, Ga.
Curry has the best size at the position and he also made improvements and showed more confidence in covering receivers even in straight man. In he spring game he smothered Marcell Ateman on a fade route and looked as good as you can look doing it. He is better playing a boundary corner with less space for the receiver to take advantage of but I think you can trust him on the field side some. He is excellent in press man thanks to his size.
14 Bryce Balous, 5-11, 190, RS-Fr., McKinney (North), Texas
The Cowboys converted the K-State pledge and this spring made them glad they did. Balous is the fastest player on the team, and during spring started learning the corner position after converting from safety and began playing as fast as he is capable of. He is not the finished product but he has a chance to be really good with his speed and skills. The thing you liked seeing is he seemed to improve each practice and scrimmage.
8 Malik Kearse, 6-0, 160, Jr.-TR, Miami (Pace), Fla./Fort Scott C.C., Kan.
He needs the summer and the weight room to go with what he picked up in off season. He needs to put on muscle. He showed skills at corner in the spring, but there is more work to do. He is not ready yet, but should be in the fall.
18 Madre Harper, 6-1, 175, Fr., Arlington (Lamar), Texas
An early enrollee that got a lot of reps in the spring and looks like he will likely play some on special teams. It helped him being in the program early. He also needs more time in the weight room this summer adding muscle.
29 Bryce Brown, 5-9, 170, RS-Fr., Denton (Guyer), Texas
Here is a quality walk-on that likely could see some playing time and could help on special teams. A smart football player that has athletic ability and can help. He had a sack on a corner blitz in the spring game.
22 Clayton Johnson, 5-11, 170, RS-Fr., Flower Mound, Texas
Another quality walk-on that has the athletic skills to help.
13 Jordan Sterns, 6-0, 200, Sr., Cibolo (Steele), Texas
One of the top safeties in the Big 12 and really in the country. Sterns is a smart physical player who makes everybody in the secondary around him better. He is also an outstanding leader. He shows every day that he is the kind of player you crave to have on your squad. Phil Steele told me in a conversation that he is one of his favorite players in the Big 12. All you can really do is brag about him. He's not perfect but he's not far from it.
25 Derrick Moncrief, 6-2, 220, RS-Sr., Prattville, Ala./Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C./Auburn
Sat out last season after transferring from Auburn, where he played a lot. This spring he showed he is more than capable of helping out. He is a true SEC-type safety, but the defensive staff was happy to find that his cover skills were better than they thought for such a big safety. He should be a major assist in games like Texas, K-State, Baylor, and OU where stopping the run comes into added play. I saw all I needed on his speed when he ran down speedster Jalen McCleskey from behind in one practice.
31 Tre Flowers, 6-3, 198, RS-Jr., Converse (Judson), Texas
Flowers played well last season and kept his position in the spring although he dealt with some injuries that caused him to miss some of the practices. He is getting more physical and the coaches love his length and what it does in covering receivers. He's had lots of time to really learn more and become a stronger player between the ears.
5 Jerel Morrow, 5-10, 200, RS-Jr., Emporia, Kan.
Another safety with experience that the coaching staff felt made strides in the spring. He is so athletic and actually came back to safety from corner but is capable like cornerback Ramon Richards of playing several spots such as nickel back.
36 Za'Carrius Green, 5-11, 205, RS-Fr., Duncanville, Texas
Green showing what he is capable of doing in the spring helped ease the pain of losing Harding and may have caused the departure of Tre Roberts, who it appears is gone for good. He may have also allowed for the move of Kenneth Edison-McGruder to the star linebacker. Expect Green to be a back-up this fall and play a big role on special teams as he is physical and has a great attitude. He wants to make plays.
33 Matthew Newsome, 6-0, 195, RS-So., Sugar Land (Clements), Texas
A quality walk-on that could wind up playing on special teams.
27 Winston Westbrooks, 5-120, 180, RS-Fr., Houston (Lutheran South), Texas
A new walk-on that helped with practice depth and has a great attitude.