The Longhorns have told recruits throughout the process that they were only taking one linebacker in this class. And with Texas loading up on middle linebackers in the last two classes — Steve Edmond, Alex De La Torre, Dalton Santos — it made sense that Texas would tap an outside linebacker, particularly one adept on passing downs, over a traditional middle like a Brett Wade of Kennedale.
And for me, that meant one of Cypress Woods' Deoundrei Davis or Harker Heights' Naashon Hughes. Hughes, to me, could still be a take because of his tremendous frame, athleticism and versatility. But if you're looking for the top linebacker in the in-state class, right now, it's hard to look away from Davis. Especially when fingering one as the best fit for a Manny Diaz-type scheme.
On film, he's a heat-seeking missile that could remind Texas fans a bit of 2012 signee Peter Jinkens. Like Jinkens, Davis operates at a completely different speed than his competition. And also like Jinkens, Davis has a safety-like build that you could see filling out into that of more of a traditional middle linebacker. He's probably a little taller and longer than Jinkens, and therefore has more room for good weight, but he isn't quite as fast. Still, as a 4.6-flat guy, he's pretty athletic.
Davis jumps off the screen as he uses tremendous downhill speed and quickness and a willingness to hit anything that moves. And his athleticism should ensure that he's on the field for all three downs once he fills out, either as a devastating blitzer off the edge — as he can do now — or as the type of linebacker who can run well enough to leave in space on passing plays. Indeed, on his film, at times he lines up right over the slot, almost as an extra cornerback. But his best attribute is when he simply seeks and destroys, with his sideline-to-sideline range.
Texas already had two commitments on the defensive side of the ball with Jake Raulerson and A'Shawn Robinson, who players who run well for their size. With Texas only going after one linebacker in this class, it was important to get that one linebacker right. And in Davis, it certainly appears that the Longhorns did so.