It was a great sight on Sunday if you were a Texas fan, as top receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley, as well as preseason All-Big 12 cover corner Quandre Diggs all participated in the full-contact scrimmage. Davis, in particular, was a shining star in the scrimmage, while Diggs continued to add intrigue at the nickel back position.
Texas has experimented with a variety of defensive backs in a number of different spots, with Adrian Phillips playing nickel and safety and Carrington Byndom playing both cornerback and safety. Largely, that was the product of 1) the injuries at defensive back and the need to manufacture depth and 2) the strong springs and early falls of Duke Thomas and Sheroid Evans at cornerback allowing for some extra flexibility. But Diggs could prove to be the best nickel corner in the league, somebody with the cover skills to shadow the Big 12's deadly slot receivers, while also possessing the physicality to provide run support. That's a tough balance to find … indeed, last year's nickel back, Kenny Vaccaro, was a first-round NFL Draft selection largely because he was one of the rare players who could fill that defensive dual-threat role.
But not everybody was cleared to put in full-contact work. Sophomore receiver Marcus Johnson (knee), junior tight end Miles Onyegbule (leg), sophomore wide receiver Kendall Sanders (ankle) and sophomore safety Kevin Vaccaro (ankle) were held out of the scrimmage for precautionary reasons. All of the above players, with the possible exception of Johnson, are considered good-to-go for the season opener. And even Johnson's injury is considered minor enough that he might be back for the season's first game.
Slightly more serious is the hip injury that Josh Turner is coming back from. The junior safety has yet to put in full-contact work this fall and was considered behind Shipley and Diggs in their rehabilitation efforts. Still, there's some thought that he could be cleared as soon as next week.
On a longer term basis, the Longhorns are still without freshmen Deoundrei Davis and Erik Huhn, both of whom sustained ACL injuries their final years of high school, as well as senior linebacker Demarco Cobbs. None are expected to be ready for the opener, and it wouldn't be surprising if any, or all, of the three sat out this season. As with the two freshmen, Cobbs also has a redshirt season remaining, if it comes to that.