Moving Forward: CBs

With a new coaching staff headed to Austin, LonghornDigest.com looks at the position-by-position talent on campus. Now, for the cornerbacks.

All through Duane Akina's time at Texas, the Longhorns have seemingly been swimming in talented cornerbacks. But heading into 2014, with the loss of top cover guy Carrington Byndom, the 'Horns will be counting on development, a position switch or two and the hope that a No. 1 cornerback will emerge.

Quandre Diggs has been there, done that. He did a great job at times as a nickel corner, and could stand to inherit Byndom's role for Diggs's final season. And Duke Thomas proved this year that he could lock down that No. 2 spot, playing very well in his first season in the rotation. But what after that? Who handles the nickel spot, if not Diggs? And does Texas have a No. 1 corner among its younger players, waiting to step up?

One possibility the current staff kicked around might have some merit — moving safety Mykkele Thompson to corner. Thompson is a tall, speedy athlete who hasn't really added the weight to become a natural safety in run support. And if Sheroid Evans comes back well from a torn ACL, or Antwuan Davis emerges after his redshirt season, Texas will have another taller, athletic cornerback to add to the mix. It could also be time for Bryson Echols, considered the state's top corner as a senior in high school, to step up and take over at least a nickel role.

The point is that the Longhorns do have some options, even if there aren't as many, as proven, or as dynamic, as Texas would like. And it really hurts that in such a talent-laden in-state class in 2014, Texas (so far) has failed to grab an in-state cornerback. Tony Brown still has yet to make his decision, but he's planning to make his pledge before the Longhorns land a coach. Arrion Springs is destined for Oregon. Nick Harvey is still a Texas A&M commitment. And the Longhorns never really pursued Nick Watkins (Notre Dame) nor Marcus Green (Oklahoma), while Darrion Johnson dropped off the map because of academic concerns.

Even the one cornerback that the Longhorns did land — Louisiana product Jermaine Roberts — is planning to visit Ohio State at the end of the month.

It would help immensely if the new Texas coach were able to swing a corner or two in the 2014 class. If not, players like Kendall Sheffield and Kris Boyd in the 2015 crop become necessities. Jalen Campbell, the Longhorn cornerback commitment in that class, has great instincts, but is coming off an injury.

Don't be surprised either if one or two members of a pretty strong wide receiving corps, potentially Jacorey Warrick or Roderick Bernard, also find their way to the defensive side of the ball.

Either way, Texas faces some challenges in loading up this group for the future.


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