Mid-Spring Look: Cornerbacks

Can Texas overcome a lack of experience at a key position? Read more below.

The Candidates: Carrington Byndom, sophomore; Adrian Phillips, sophomore; A.J. White, sophomore; Bryant Jackson, redshirt freshman; Quandre Diggs, freshman.

Returning Starters: None

What It Looks Like: This is the most inexperienced group on the team. Byndom and Phillips saw some time last season, mostly at nickel back, though both largely sat behind Aaron Williams, Curtis Brown and Chykie Brown. With the lack of experience, Phillips and Jackson were moved to cornerback from safety, though Jackson could still move back. Phillips is a natural hawk with outstanding ball skills, befitting a player who was a game-breaking wide receiver in high school. Byndom is a long and smooth athlete, but a bit of a gambler at times. White made the two-deep early on last year, though he mostly played special teams. And Diggs is a natural at nickel back. Though he's only in the 5-9 to 5-10 range, he's thickly built and a physical player and great hitter. Because he enrolled early, he'll have a chance to play over the rest of his freshman class — Sheroid Evans, Leroy Scott and Josh Turner — when they arrive in the fall. Sophomore Eryon Barnett was on the two-deep at times last year, but won't figure in after a season-ending injury.

Ideal Situation: Phillips and Byndom develop into the top cornerback tandem. Phillips is a play-maker, somebody who can play any spot in the secondary. Byndom has fantastic potential on the other side. Both looked very good in limited time a year ago. Diggs makes a solid No. 3 because of his tackling skills and versatility. White's development would allow Texas to move Jackson back to safety, where his athleticism would be a plus. That would also allow Texas to redshirt a player like Turner, who has potential as a cover corner, but who needs to develop his body. Evans has elite speed and will immediately be among the team's fastest players, but he's a potential star at safety as well. Like Diggs, Scott could use polish as a cover man, but is a wonderful hitter and tackler.

What We Would Like To See: The youngest cornerbacks develop quickly. As good as Phillips looks at cornerback — he's arguably Texas's top corner — he could form a devastating safety duo next season with Kenny Vaccaro, giving the Longhorns an astounding blend of athleticism and ball skills. But for Phillips to get a chance to move, Byndom would have to turn into a No. 1 cornerback, which is possible. Then somebody, be it Diggs, Scott or Turner, will have to show enough potential that the coaching staff could see them as the No. 2 corner a year from now.

What Will Probably Happen: Phillips will perform well in his duties and find a home at cornerback, with Byndom looking solid at the other spot. Nickel back could be filled by some combination of Demarco Cobbs (should the Longhorns go big), Kenny Vaccaro (a bit smaller) and Diggs (smallest). That's not a bad combination, though it will certainly be an inexperienced one.

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