Post-Spring Outlook: Cornerbacks

There's always a challenge when trying to write about the Texas cornerbacks. It's not in the starting lineup, but in trying to project the people after that, in that defensive backs coach Duane Akina shuffles players between cornerback and safety so often.

But the top three players at the position appear to be set after the spring. The cornerback duo of Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs returns after a season that saw Byndom emerge as arguably the top cover cornerback in the Big 12, while Diggs was a Freshman All-American in his first season.

And as is typically the case for injuries in the spring, they are both a blessing and a curse. In this case, Diggs suffering an injury that won't affect him heading into 2012 gave Texas a chance to work with another cornerback alongside Byndom, effectively finding out the team's No. 3 guy. And in the spring game, the second starter was sophomore Josh Turner, the top player in the state of Oklahoma when he came out, and an athletic cover guy.

Turner's cover skills weren't ever in question, though the Longhorn coaches tested him almost daily by giving him repetitions opposite top Longhorn receiver Mike Davis. And while Davis won the majority of those matchups, it certainly improved Turner's skill set. Then, when Akina moved Turner to safety, Turner showed an unforeseen toughness, showing both range and hitting ability. That all-around display likely led to Turner grabbing that top spot, and now the Longhorns know what he's somebody who can be deployed at multiple positions.

In the spring, the No. 4 cornerback was early enrollee Orlando Thomas, who had cat-quick feet and ball skills befitting a former offensive player. As sharp as he looked, and as much as it helped to have A.J. White and Eryon Barnett leave the team, Thomas may have to fight to hold onto that spot. The Longhorns gave sophomore Sheroid Evans some looks at the position, and though Evans didn't get a full spring because of injuries and track, his mix of size and elite speed are certainly intriguing. And Bryson Echols, one of the top cover corners in the Class of 2012 arrives this summer, as does physical dynamo Kevin Vaccaro.

And so the Longhorn cornerback group just keeps chugging along. As per usual, the group has proven operators (Byndom, Diggs), a rising second-tier (Turner, Thomas), and intriguing options after that (Evans, Echols). After the spring, it seems that DBU is still alive and well.

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