Practice One: Defensive Report

Which defensive players stood out at Monday's practice? LonghornDigest.com has you covered.

Defensive Ends

Jackson Jeffcoat went through every part of practice and looked like you'd expect him to look. But the guy who really impressed me as practice wore on was Cedric Reed. I know that Jeffcoat gets the press clippings, and rightfully so. But if offensive lines try to double team him, look for Reed to have a big year, and potentially an All-Big 12 type of year. Of course, the big question on everyone's mind, especially in the tempo-and-pass-happy Big 12 is how the depth is coming around. Shiro Davis flashed big-time at times. And Reggie Wilson had some outstanding wow moments, particularly in one-on-ones, when he displayed a ton of raw strength. At one point, Kennedy Estelle got a bit too high, and Wilson just lifted him up off his feet and dropped him on his back. We've been waiting for the light to come on for Wilson for awhile. Could it come now, in his senior season? Caleb Bluiett had his moments — especially in some great battles with Kent Perkins — as did Bryce Cottrell.


Defensive Tackles

Chris Whaley is an interesting specimen in that he really runs well and can give offensive linemen fits in space. Malcom Brown also really flashed his potential. He has the ability to be so quick off the ball, and his power at the point of attack is a nice complement to Whaley. But the best part about this group is the depth of talent. You could flop those two players with the two players currently working behind them — Ashton Dorsey and Desmond Jackson — and you wouldn't lose anything. Hassan Ridgeway has the size and ability level to be in that group as well, though he still needs to put things together. And Alex Norman can impress with his quickness. Could one of he and Paul Boyette show enough to break into the rotation? It will be tough with all the talent in front of them.


Linebackers

Perhaps no group showed as much improvement from last year to this year as the linebacker position. At middle linebacker, both Steve Edmond and Dalton Santos were visibly lighter, and more explosive, than they were a year ago. Edmond mostly worked with the ones, with Santos working with the second unit at middle linebacker. I was really impressed by the way both guys filled their gaps, though it should be noted, again, that they weren't in pads. Edmond was flanked by a bulked-up Peter Jinkens and a great-as-usual Jordan Hicks. Kendall Thompson made a couple plays in pass coverage, including an interception off Case McCoy, and Tevin Jackson continued his upward swing. Timothy Cole is significantly bulked up over last year. Deoundrei Davis didn't work out with injuries, and Demarco Cobbs was with the "walking wounded," the players who were working out, but not participating in drills. Overall, this is a group that is so much deeper than a year ago, and deeper with quality experience.


Cornerbacks

Depth, depth, depth. Carrington Byndom appears, once again, to be poised for a big season. And it was positive to see Quandre Diggs going through drills, even if he wasn't going full speed in team periods. Diggs is coming off a hip injury, and he was both running and working on his backpedal, two great signs. In his absence, Sheroid Evans jumped up with the first team and he certainly looks the part. Evans could do more than give the Longhorns depth this season … he could provide a reassurance that even after Byndom (and maybe Diggs) leaves this season, Texas will be all right at corner. I was impressed, as usual, with Duke Thomas as well. With those four, Texas has a legitimate two-deep of cornerbacks that I think are Big 12 starting caliber right now. Bryson Echols and Kevin Vaccaro are a step behind that, though Vaccaro had some nice moments in coverage. He's interesting to watch because he plays like a player a lot bigger, and tougher, than his listed size. Keep an eye on Antwuan Davis here, as he could make a move over fall camp.


Safeties

Mykkele Thompson looks like a completely different guy than a year ago. If you would have given him a different name and different number, I literally could have assumed that the Longhorns landed some random JUCO transfer. He's listed at 186, but that has been his listed weight the last couple of years. I'd be surprised if he wasn't 200-plus. He really looks good, rangy and more physical. Adrian Phillips looks ready to be the safety that most of us thought he was going to be a year ago. He and Thompson make a really nice duo. Josh Turner didn't really work out in team periods but was running. He looks significantly thicker. Adrian Colbert is listed at 6-2 205 but still has the lithe physique of wide receiver, and the speed of one. Erik Huhn worked out in the injured area, but he's a big-framed dude. I'd be surprised if he wasn't headed for linebacker at some point fairly soon.


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