Texas has developed a reputation for developing top-notch defensive backs. That reputation was only enhanced in a two-year stretch in 2005 and 2006 that saw Michael Huff and Aaron Ross win back-to-back Jim Thorpe Awards, and could see a revitalization in 2012 with a roster that includes three potential All-Americans in cornerbacks Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs and safety Kenny Vaccaro.
Of course, the key to having a defensive back group like that is to stockpile talent at the position, and more specifically, making good choices and evaluations in recruiting.
And that's why the 2013 recruiting cycle, and this weekend, is so interesting. Because Texas is so limited on scholarships, only one or two defensive backs will wind up in the class. And this weekend, the plot thickens as three top out-of-state defensive backs (along with top in-state corner Maurice Smith) will be making the trip into town for the 2012 Texas Spring Jamboree.
Joining Smith will be Cole Luke of Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton, the same school that produced Christian Westerman a few years back. Luke is the top cornerback on the Texas board, and the No. 9 cornerback in the country according to Scout.com.
But Luke isn't even the top out-of-state defensive back expected to trip in. That honor belongs to Georgia safety Vonn Bell, a five-star prospect and the No. 3 safety in the country. Bell has offers from a Who's Who in college football, and will be tough to lure from SEC territory, but getting a spring game visit has to be considered a nice coup.
Texas is also getting a visit from Stanvon Taylor of Tulsa's East Central High School, a four-star prospect and the No. 23 cornerback according to Scout.com. Taylor has offers from Arkansas and Tulsa, but should see recruiting attention ramp up through the spring.
Here's the rub: Texas has only extended offers to three defensive backs in this class, Marcell Harris of Florida, Su'a Cravens of California, and Bell. Harris isn't expected to make it in, and Cravens doesn't seem especially interested.
So that means that another offer could be coming this weekend, likely to a cornerback. Does it go to Luke, by all accounts the top corner on the Texas board? What about the fast-rising in-stater in Smith, who could also play safety? Or could Taylor seemingly come out of nowhere to snag it? The important thing is that Texas has options, and to be able to lure such talent, especially out-of-state talent, to the spring game speaks volumes to what the Texas staff is doing on the recruiting trail.