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Wednesday, March 6, 2013
DB report: A look at where Texas stands

By Max Olson

For months, you’ve been hearing about how the 2014 defensive backs class in Texas is flat-out loaded. It’s deep with top-end talent, both at cornerback and safety.

Texas has already offered scholarships to 10 defensive backs in 2014. None have become Longhorns, and three have already pledged elsewhere.

What are Texas' chances with the rest, and who’s out in front for them? Here’s a breakdown of where things stand entering March.

Tony Brown
ESPN Watch List cornerback Tony Brown is still planning to take his official visits before choosing a school.
CB Tony Brown

Beaumont (Texas) Ozen | 6-0, 179 | Offered: Aug. 2, 2012

Contenders: LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Alabama

All signs point to LSU being the favorite for Brown, but he’s still a long way away from reaching a decision and says he’s wide open. The top corner’s recruitment is taking a backseat to his track season right now, but expect him to take official visits this fall before making his commitment. He wants to be an early enrollee, so expect a decision by the end of December.

CB Nick Watkins

Dallas Bishop Dunne | 6-1, 180 | Offered: Aug. 2, 2012

Contenders: Texas, Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame

It’s hard to know how things are going to play out with Watkins. If he ends up staying in-state, Texas would appear to be the favorite right now. But Watkins wants to get on the road this summer and see Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama and perhaps others, and he could wait to use official visits for a few of those trips. The battle for Watkins could be a long one.

CB Darrion Johnson

Brenham (Texas) | 5-10, 180 | Offered: Feb. 13

Contenders: Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, TCU

Is Texas the favorite here? Johnson’s actions have certainly suggested that – he’s been to several games, tried to attend both juniors days and is a big fan of Duane Akina and Quandre Diggs. But he did visit A&M this weekend. Johnson wants to decide at an all-star game in January, though he could push that date up.

CB Jermaine Roberts

New Orleans St. Augustine | 5-10, 175 | Offered: Feb. 23

Contenders: Texas, Texas A&M, Alabama, Oklahoma State

Roberts loved his junior day visit to Texas so much that he and teammate Joseph Paul both said the Longhorns were their No. 1 school going forward. Since then, Roberts has picked up an offer from Alabama. He’ll make a decision this summer, and UT should be in the mix throughout.

CB Edward Paris

Arlington (Texas) Timberview | 6-1, 195 | Offered: Aug. 2, 2012

Committed: LSU

Paris always liked Texas a bit more than he let on, but he’s been an LSU lock for at least four months now. His decision to commit to the Tigers last week wasn’t any surprise, and he joined a 2014 class that also features Watch List corner Chris Hardeman (Houston/Alief Taylor). Paris’ future is likely at safety in college, though UT was recruiting him to possibly play corner.

S Jamal Adams

Lewisville (Texas) Hebron | 6-0, 195 | Offered: Aug. 2, 2012

Contenders: Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Ohio State, Alabama, Baylor

Adams took in spring practice during an unofficial visit on Saturday, and there’s no question he’s the No. 1 safety target on Texas’ board at this point. He’s good friends with several Longhorn commits, but everyone else wants him, too. Out-of-state powerhouses also have Adams’ attention and could receive visits.

S John Bonney

Houston Lamar | 6-0, 175 | Offered: Feb. 10

Contenders: Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, LSU

Bonney could’ve committed to Texas at its first junior day, but he has decided to hold off and would like to attend some spring practices at other schools before coming to a decision. The Longhorns are still No. 1 on his list and in good shape – Bonney might be the most likely safety commit of this group – but will have to wait a little longer.

S Edwin Freeman

Arlington (Texas) Bowie | 6-1, 200 | Offered: Aug. 2, 2012

Contenders: TCU, Texas A&M, Texas

John Bonney
Safety John Bonney says Texas is his favorite school.
Things have fizzled a bit between Freeman and Texas, and he has shifted his focus to TCU and Texas A&M. The Aggies have generally been considered the leader, but that should change with the Frogs’ hiring of Bowie coach Kenny Perry last week. It would be a big surprise if Freeman didn’t end up at one of those two schools.

S Dylan Sumner-Gardner

Mesquite (Texas) West Mesquite | 6-1, 190 | Offered: Feb. 23

Committed: Texas A&M

A&M had the lead for Sumner-Gardner ever since he decommitted from Clemson this spring, and he made it official with a commitment on Saturday. Sumner-Gardner attended Texas’ second junior day a week earlier and had legitimate interest, but the Aggies had West Mesquite teammate Kameron Miles and a lot to offer.

ATH Nick Harvey

Richmond (Texas) Travis | 5-11, 180 | Offered: Aug. 2, 2012

Committed: Texas A&M

The former Lancaster standout was a major pickup for the Aggies in November and is perhaps the best true two-way athlete in the state. He’s capable of playing a lot of roles in a secondary and is one of the real gems of A&M’s 10-man class. Now that he’s moved down into the Houston area, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which UT or anyone else flips him.