It’s been over 10 years since Longhorn fans witnessed guys like Michael Huff, Michael Griffin, Aaron Ross, and Tarell Brown roaming the secondary together. Several talented defensive backs have come and gone through the program since that 2005 group, but they are still considered to be the golden standard of “DBU”.
It’s realistic to say that the University of Texas may never see another group as talented and well-rounded across the board as the group that help lead the Longhorns to a national championship.
I’ve covered recruiting for a few years now and followed it for much longer. Often when you start talking about dream scenarios or classes rarely does it ever pan out the way you think it will. There are just too many variables that come into play and for one reason or another recruits end up choosing to go elsewhere.
In 2015, Texas managed to ink four 4-star defensive backs in Holton Hill, Kris Boyd, DeShon Elliott, and Davante Davis, and they also flipped 3-star PJ Locke late. All things considered, Texas fans were thrilled with that haul at the time and had every reason to be. Coming off a subpar season and landing that kind of talent is an extremely tall task and Charlie Strong’s staff managed to do that and more that cycle.
In recruiting it is rare for the stars to align in the way that they have in regards to signing “dream teams”, but that’s right where we are with Texas’ secondary class for 2017.
Here’s how the secondary class breaks down as things sit today as we navigate through the first early signing period.
- BJ Foster (5-Star) – Foster has been highly ranked from the moment rankings were first published despite suffering a knee injury last year and strictly playing offense so far this year. Despite it being known for a while, landing him was a big get for Texas and it keeps the pipeline down in Angleton flowing. Kid could probably play offense in college if he really wanted to, but he will take his talent and athleticism to defensive side of the ball.
- Caden Sterns (4-Star) – This was the commitment that shocked just about everybody and kicked off the start of the secondary class for Texas. Sterns was firmly committed to Ed Orgeron and LSU and Texas convinced him to stay home and play up the road in Austin. Of the safeties committed, I think I am most excited about Sterns because of his versatility and his skill set that he brings to the table. Texas has told him he will start off at corner.
- DeMarvion Overshown (4-star) – Overshown is intriguing because depending on where his body goes he could spin down to linebacker. Overshown hits like a linebacker and runs like a safety. Texas got on him early and later on he received offers from practically every Power 5 school in the country.
- Anthony Cook (4-Star) – Cook ended up being the final piece of the puzzle in more than one way. He capped off what should go down as one of the most talented and star studded defensive back classes in recent memory or maybe ever and he completed the Lamar Trio for Herman and his staff. While this secondary class was already plenty good without the addition of Cook, adding was icing on the top of the cake and it was a big victory over schools like Ohio State (the heavy favorite for most of the cycle) and LSU (a school with an elite track record developing NFL defensive backs). This is a big head to head victory for Herman over Urban Meyer after Ohio State plucked several blue chips from Texas last cycle and also a victory over Ed Orgeron, who managed to wrestle K’Lavon Chaisson from Texas late last year.
- Jalen Green (4-Star) – You could make a pretty good case that Green is the top corner in the state and many probably wouldn’t try to sway you otherwise. Green put on a clinic on the camp and 7 on 7 circuits this summer which is included a stellar performance at The Opening where he earned post-camp accolades. Green was having a great senior year on both sides of the ball before recently suffering an injury that will sideline for a bit.
- D’Shawn Jamison (4-Star) – While I say Green may be the best corner in the state, Jamison pound for pound may be one of the best pure football players in the entire state. Despite his stature, he can cover, he will strike you, he gives you something in the return game, and he is capable of playing multiple spots in the secondary. If you are looking for an ideal fit at nickel, Jamison is your guy. The fact that he is the lowest rated of this DB group tells you how loaded the state was in the secondary this cycle.
Aside from a talent standpoint, it is apparent how well-rounded this group is. All of the bases are covered. Lirerally. There is The Technician (Cook), The Enforcer (Overshown), The Ball Hawk (Sterns), a guy who has the potential to take away half the field (Green), and there is versatility and athleticism (Foster & Jamison). Name a desirable trait or characteristic and you will more than likely find it in this group.
Texas assembling this absurd amount of talent in the secondary makes me think back to the 2014 recruiting cycle. The state was loaded with defensive backs which included guys like Tony Brown (Alabama), Jamal Adams (LSU), Arrion Springs (Oregon), Ed Paris (LSU), Nick Harvey (A&M), and Armani Watts (A&M). All of these guys were highly rated players both statewide and nationwide, but each of them ended up inking elsewhere. Adams in particular is one that still stings to this day because it was obvious that he was going to be a no brainer at the next level and he ended up being a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft. This was a rough cycle in more ways than one for Texas fans, all things considered.
Fast forward back to the future and we are looking at as loaded of a secondary class as we saw back in 2014, except this time the shoe is on the other foot. Texas is in a position to run the table on the elite players within the state’s borders. In a conference like the Big 12 where the ball is thrown around quite a bit, landing elite defensive backs is imperative and Tom Herman and his staff have gone out and accomplished that in their first full recruiting class.
The bar set by the Texas secondary in 2005 is high. It’s extremely high. We are talking multiple Thorpe Award winners, first round picks, All-Americans, and of course a national championship in the trophy case in Austin. Reaching those levels of production and living up to that billing won’t be easy, but if there was ever a group to give that secondary a run for its money it will be this one.
This defensive back class is as special as they come and they are in a position to put DBU back on the map in Austin once they arrive on campus.