The more things change, the more they stay the same. It took several days before Inside Texas could catch up with Joseph at his home because he was, literally, running. And lifting. Joseph vigorously follows the conditioning plan that Texas coaches sent to each member of the recruiting class that the Horns inked in February. His classes end shortly after noon and Joseph trains "four or five times a week" until about 7:00 p.m. He typically takes Wednesdays off, but that's reserved for a weekly game of pick-up basketball.
The two-time all-state selection was one of the more highly touted members of Texas' Top Five recruiting class. Joseph understands that incoming DBs have a stronger shot at factoring into the rotation this season than some other positions. Head coach Mack Brown typically likes to redshirt his O-linemen. The four WRs that Brown signed (if you include WR/DB Kenneth Deon Beasley in the mix) are also likely to redshirt in 2006. Nagging injuries limited several Longhorn DBs (Erick Jackson, Tarell Brown, Michael Griffin) and Brown is eager to shore up the depth and solidify the rotation when his ninth August camp in Austin begins in little more than two months.
Joseph figures that coaches will at least give him a solid look.
"They told me that the DBs, more than likely, will have a chance to play," he said. "Once I get there, if I find I'm not ready physically, mentally, if I'm not getting the grasp of it, then I would redshirt. Coaches say that if you want to play, and you're able to play, then you're going to play. But if I'm not keeping up, I would rather redshirt than waste a year."
Joseph plans to arrive in Austin on May 30, take a couple of classes, and participate in voluntary summer workouts. For now, his self-paced regimen consists of a mixture of weight training and "lots of running." He has intently studied a training DVD from Longhorn coaches intended to teach a DB everything from hand-placement to pursuit angles. More often than not, his workout partner is former teammate WR Eric Reynolds, who accepted a football scholarship to UTEP. (And, yes, Joseph is very much aware that the Horns have added the Miners to their schedule in 2008-09.)
Joseph is also adjusting to the "weird" nutrition plan that Longhorn Strength and Condition Coach Jeff 'Mad Dog' Madden has prescribed for all true freshmen.
"I'm learning how to eat as an athlete," Joseph explained. "There's a lot of stuff on the nutrition plan that I didn't know about."
"Like, all these vegetables."
Joseph still stands at 6-2, 195 pounds, he reports, but that's prototypical of the taller DBs Brown has inked these past few seasons. Joseph's primary emphasis during the off-season has been to increase his upper-body strength. He has been clocked at 4.54.
"Mainly, I just want to get physically bigger and stronger," he said. "I know everybody in college is bigger, and I know they're already working harder than the work I've done on my own."
That would include his once-and-future teammate RB Jamaal Charles. The two have remained in periodic contact these past 12 months.
"He tells me to stay hungry," Joseph said. "He says to give it my best effort every day. He tells me to work hard because hard work brings nothing but success."
The dual-positioned Joseph was the first off the bench to replace Charles during his junior campaign, rushing for more than 800 yards as a primary backup. He also started the last five games of his senior season at RB while logging every start at FS. He recorded 213 tackles and three INTs during his final two seasons and earned First-Team Texas 5A All-State honors from the Associated Press during his senior year. Joseph had offers from the usual suspects, including UCLA, Texas A&M and LSU. But he was so intent on becoming a Longhorn that "I didn't even see those schools."
Animated and extroverted, it's no surprise that Joseph gravitates toward DB coach Duane Akina's intensity and energy.
"He's an in-your-face type," Joseph observes. "He can get the best out of you. I like a coach who lets you know where you stand on every play. I don't want to hear a coach say 'Good job' all the time. I want a coach who will also let me know my flaws. Coach Akina is the kind of coach where, on the field, you don't want to let him down."
The March issue of Inside Texas magazine profiled Joseph and Beasley, particularly the impact that Hurricane Rita had on their respective communities.
"It's been a slow recovery but everything is starting to feel like it's back to normal," he said. "Now, it doesn't look normal. There's still a lot of old buildings all torn up, There's a lot of construction going on and there a lot of roofs that still have tarps on them. There's still so many things that need to be done. We move at a slower pace in Port Arthur."
Everyone, it seems, except 'Scooter'.