- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
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Editor's note: This week we'll take a brief look at Texas A&M players who surprised us with their performances during spring practice, which wrapped up for the Aggies earlier this month.
Safety has been a position where depth has been fleeting for Texas A&M.
The Aggies had their fair share of struggles there in 2013, both in performance and depth. Coach Kevin Sumlin acknowledged during spring football that the Aggies have to get better, and one name that hasn't been prominent in recent seasons began to emerge this spring as a potential contributor this fall: Devonta Burns.
The junior didn't play his first two seasons on campus, redshirting in 2011 and not seeing the field in 2012, but last season he began to find a role as a contributor on special teams and appeared in eight games.
But this spring, Burns emerged as an option in the secondary, both at safety and as a nickel cornerback.
"Devonta Burns has continued to come on and is trying to earn his way on the field, whether it's safety or nickel ... because he's making plays," Sumlin said in the final week of spring football.
The Aggies return three safeties that started last season (Clay Honeycutt, Howard Matthews and Floyd Raven) but entered the spring with little depth beyond those three, especially after they dismissed Kameron Miles, who redshirted last fall but could have been a potential contributor this fall. Burns' emergence, not just at safety but as a versatile secondary option, should be helpful.
Senior cornerback Deshazor Everett, who Sumlin said will remain at corner this season rather than shifting back and forth, noticed Burns' progress at both safety and nickel throughout the spring.
"He's done a pretty good job with that," Everett said. "He's understanding both positions. ... That's going to be a big help to us and give us more depth."
4dSam Khan and Greg Ostendorf