Top 22 Countdown: No. 5

We continue our countdown of the top 22 most important players to Texas’ success in 2014.


Chip’s Pick

DB Quandre Diggs

Senior

5-10, 195

No pressure Quandre, but defensive coordinator Vance Bedford thinks Diggs - as the nickel cornerback for Texas this season - should lead the team in interceptions and be at or near the top of the team lead for tackles.

"If that happens, we'll be a pretty good defense," Bedford said.

Diggs did lead the team in INTs in 2011 and 2012. And he's ready to be the king of the pickoffs again in 2014. The coaches have a lot of faith in him.

Bedford said all of the defense needs to play with the swagger of Diggs. Charlie Strong selected Diggs to join Strong's daughter in dumping the ice bucket on his head as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Diggs, the younger brother of former Texas CB Quentin Jammer, has been a leader since he arrived on campus. Now comes the most important year of leadership in his UT career. The plan is to overwhelm offenses with pressure, so that Diggs will be in position for numerous interceptions.

As Bedford said, if that happens, Texas has a chance to be a pretty good defense.





William’s Pick

LB Jordan Hicks

Senior

6-1, 234

Texas linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary already calls Hicks the “voice of the defense.”

Not bad for someone who has missed 19 games over the last two seasons due to injury.

If he can stay healthy this season – and unfortunately for him it’s become a rather large ‘if’ – the Longhorns could have one of the top front sevens in all of college football.

Remember, Hicks only played in four games last season but still finished 12th on the team with 41 tackles. Add that to a group of LBs that returns Dalton Santos and Steve Edmond, the No. 4 and No. 5 leading tacklers from 2013 respectively, and couple them with UT’s defensive line and you’ve got the makings of something special.

Jean-Mary hasn’t seen anything to suggest that Hicks isn’t 100 percent at the moment. If he can stay on the field all season, his play-making ability and senior leadership will make this defense seem light years away from 2013.





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