- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series will take a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.
No. 26 Adrian Colbert
Recruitment rewind: A true under-the-radar revelation out of Mineral Wells (Texas) High School, Colbert's recruitment didn't really begin until October of his senior season. That's when he gave Baylor a soft verbal commitment, and then TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M all quickly jumped in the mix. Two months later, the three-star recruit gave a firm commitment to the Longhorns. He scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and on kick and punt returns in his breakthrough high school senior season.
Career so far: Colbert redshirted in 2012 and played in all 13 games last season, recording six tackles on special teams. He was also credited with a 23-yard kick return on a reverse against Oklahoma. He was in the mix with the second-team safeties in this year's spring game and recorded four tackles.
Best-case scenario for 2014: What if the new coaching staff sees a guy they can mold into the likeness of Calvin Pryor? Not trying to attach unfair comparisons to such an unproven player, but Colbert and Pryor are similar in size and style, as both are listed at 6-foot-2 and around 205 pounds with an undying love for hard hits (Pryor actually came in at 5-foot-11 at the combine). That's not to say a starting spot is easily within Colbert's grasp this season, but if he can inspire the same excitement that Pryor did, he's going to have opportunities in the secondary.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: A special teams player whose undying love for hard hits is squandered by being relegated to a minor role. We don't yet know how good Colbert can be, but we do generally know what Texas has in veterans Mykkele Thompson and Josh Turner. If those two earn the trust of Vance Bedford and Chris Vaughn, Colbert is looking at a reserve role at best.
Future expectations: The good news for Colbert is that Thompson and Turner are both seniors, and it's hard to envision any of their backups having an early inside track to a starting job in 2015. But with two promising freshmen in John Bonney and Jason Hall now on campus and a few more young DBs entering Year 2, Colbert isn't going to be guaranteed a thing next season. He needs to make a statement this fall.
20hMax Olson and Matt Fortuna