Texas Longhorns: Antwuan Davis

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. 25 Antwuan Davis
Redshirt freshman cornerback


Recruitment rewind: An ESPN 150 recruit who ranked No. 2 among in-state corner prospects out of Bastrop, Texas, Davis had to wait for his offer until April 2012 and committed a month later. He held offers from all the big in-state schools and was also an elite sprinter, earning silver in the 100-meter dash at the state track meet as a junior. Davis picked off three passes and averaged 10.5 yards per carry in his senior year.

Career so far: Mack Brown would've loved to get Davis on the field as a true freshman -- he said so repeatedly throughout the 2013 season -- and who knows how many times the staff might've come close to putting him on the field. But Davis redshirted last fall and bulked up 10 pounds. In his first taste of wearing burnt orange, Davis played corner with the No. 2 defense in the spring game and recorded three tackles.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Might a shot at the nickel spot make sense for the über-talented Davis? With Quandre Diggs presumably moving back to his standard corner spot, Texas is left with several intriguing options when it has to cover four-wide sets. A healthy Sheroid Evans and Bryson Echols will provide good competition at this spot, and the Longhorns do have DBs like Josh Turner that have experience in those situations. But don't be surprised if it's Davis who emerges and plays major minutes this fall.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: The aforementioned players are all more experienced than Davis, so that bears mentioning. And as we've acknowledged with several other DBs in this series, the X-factor will really be what Texas' new secondary coaches look for and what traits they value most in their players. Evans has been poised for a breakout for some time now. If he finally flips the switch, it would probably come at the detriment of Davis' playing time.

Future expectations: The expectation for Davis when he joined the program shouldn't be any different today: He can develop into an All-Big 12 caliber cornerback. Now that he's set to see the field, Davis needs to keep making progress and take advantage of whatever opportunity the new staff provides him, even if that means a stint on special teams to start off. He's going to be special someday, no doubt about that.

Spring primer: Texas Longhorns

March, 13, 2014
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Texas takes the field for its first spring practice next week, and it has plenty it needs to accomplish under new head coach Charlie Strong. Here are a few of the many, many items on the Longhorns’ to-do list for spring ball:

Offensive returner ready to take next step: Hate to state the obvious here, but David Ash needs to take one big step in the right direction this spring. After playing in only three games last season because of concussion issues, Ash will be cleared for full practice participation and wear a green no-contact jersey. His return to the weight room this winter was encouraging, but he has a brand-new offense to master and has a new quarterbacks coach for the third straight season. He needs to get comfortable and confident once again this spring.

[+] EnlargeMalcom Brown
John Albright/Icon SMIMalcom Brown is ready to become a star on Texas' defensive line.
Defensive returner ready to take the next step: Watch out for defensive tackle Malcom Brown, because the junior’s next step is to be an All-Big 12 and All-America-caliber player. He was clearly Texas’ most talented defensive tackle as a true sophomore and will be a focal point of the defensive line no matter if Texas is in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. New defensive line coach Chris Rumph is ready to maximize Brown's potential.

Redshirt freshman to watch: Plenty to choose from, but cornerback Antwuan Davis stands out. Former coach Mack Brown was very tempted to throw the freshman from Bastrop, Texas, on the field in 2013 but held off. Great measurables, track speed and a fiery competitiveness make Davis a second-year guy capable of fighting his way into a role in this secondary.

Most significant position battle: We outlined that in this post, but it’s worth repeating: kicker and punter. With consensus All-American and Lou Groza Award finalist Anthony Fera gone, Texas faces some big question marks at both spots. New special teams coach Chris Vaughn wants to see all his options in action and put each kicker and punter through pressure situations to see who comes out on top.

Key midterm enrollee: This is a shorter list than usual this year, as only three signees joined the program in January. But tight end Blake Whiteley will be the most interesting to watch. The Arizona Western Community College transfer has everything you’d want in the size department -- 6-foot-5, 245 pounds -- and was a 1,000-yard receiver during his high school days. Texas hasn't had a feared pass-catcher at that spot in a long time.

Question that could be answered: Which players can hang with the new brand of Texas football? That’s been the critical question throughout offseason workouts, and Strong and his staff will get much more definitive answers in the next month. Those who can keep up will stand out. Those who can’t might not be on the roster much longer. Expect some attrition after spring ball ends, as is often the case with new regimes.

Question that won’t be answered until fall: The quarterback job. It’s possible USC transfer Max Wittek does not reach a final decision on his destination until April or May, and freshman Jerrod Heard arrives not long after that. Both will make a run at the job (if Wittek chooses UT), and we won’t know where things stand with Ash’s long-term health until he starts taking hits again. He won’t see any in spring ball, that’s for sure. Texas coaches are excited about having Ash for two more seasons, but they’ll also put a high value on competition.

Big 12 pre-spring breakdown: DBs

February, 26, 2014
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As we await the start of spring ball, we’re examining and ranking the positional situations of every team in the Big 12, continuing Wednesday with defensive backs. Some of these outlooks will look different after the spring. But here’s how we see the defensive back groups going into the spring:

1. TCU: TCU has been tenacious defending the pass since joining the league, and even without potential first-round pick Jason Verrett, that shouldn’t change in 2014. Sam Carter was the only non-senior to earn first-team or second-team All-Big 12 honors in the secondary last season, and Chris Hackett was one of the best underclassman defensive backs in the league last year. Derrick Kindred is primed to step into TCU’s third safety spot after playing a key role in the rotation. The Horned Frogs also add the nation’s No. 3 juco safety in Kenny Iloka. Throw in senior Geoff Hooker, and the Horned Frogs have an impressive five-man rotation at safety. At corner, Kevin White was honorable mention All-Big 12 last year, and will take over for Verrett as the primary corner. The Horned Frogs have several options at the other corner, including incoming three-star recruit Nick Foster.

2. Texas: After playing the nickel role last year, Quandre Diggs will settle back at cornerback in place of Carrington Byndom. Opposite Diggs will be the ultra-athletic Duke Thomas, who was so good in spring ball last year, he forced the coaches to move Diggs to nickelback. Together, Diggs and Thomas could give the Longhorns the best cornerback tandem in the league. Antwuan Davis, who redshirted in his first year, was an ESPN 300 signee and figures to play a big role somewhere in the secondary. Josh Turner (37 appearances) and Mykkele Thompson (12 starts in 2013) each bring a lot of experience at safety.

3. Oklahoma: Oklahoma graduates the heart and soul of the secondary in cornerback Aaron Colvin, who gutted his way through an array of injuries last year. But if the Sooners can find an adequate replacement for him, the Big 12’s best pass defense statistically in 2013 should be stout again. Julian Wilson (nickelback), Zack Sanchez (cornerback) and Quentin Hayes (strong safety) all return as starters, though Hayes could be pushed by Ahmad Thomas and incoming freshman Steven Parker for time. Hatari Byrd, an ESPN 300 signee last year, should step into the vacant spot at free safety. Cortez Johnson will try to fend off Stanvon Taylor, who played as a true freshman, for Colvin’s spot in the only real uncertain area of this secondary.

4. Kansas State: The Wildcats will miss All-Big 12 performer Ty Zimmerman, but his cohort, Dante Barnett, was one of the best young safeties in the league last year. Barnett was third on the team with 75 tackles and first with four interceptions. Randall Evans also returns after leading the team in pass breakups and gives the Wildcats a versatile defensive back. As usual, Bill Snyder will also be looking for some juco impact. He should get it in Danzel McDaniel, who was the No. 4 juco CB recruit in the country. Cornerback Jesse Mack also could prove to be a key juco signee. If both players pan out, this could become one of the better defensive backfields in the league.

5. West Virginia: The bad news is the Mountaineers had the Big 12’s worst pass defense last year. The good news is they bring back three starters. Karl Joseph has started the last two seasons at free safety, though he could slide to the strong side with Darwin Cook gone. Joseph has All-Big 12 potential, and he needs to elevate his game for the West Virginia defense to take another step forward. Veteran K.J. Dillon could be the front-runner for the job alongside Joseph, though Jeremy Tyler and Jarrod Harper will also be in the mix. West Virginia also brings back both starting cornerbacks in senior Ishmael Banks and Daryl Worley, who started as a freshman. The Mountaineers also signed Keishawn Richardson, the No. 8 juco CB, and Jaylon Myers, the No. 9 juco safety, for depth. Cornerback Dravon Henry, an ESPN 300 signee who had offers from Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State, could play immediately if one of West Virginia’s veterans struggle.

6. Kansas: The Jayhawks return all five starters from their secondary, including last year’s Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year, strong safety Isaiah Johnson. Returning cornerbacks Dexter McDonald and JaCorey Shepherd, a converted wide receiver, were both honorable mention All-Big 12 selections and give the Jayhawks one of the better corner duos in the league. Free safety Cassius Sendish started every game and had 12 tackles in Kansas’ only Big 12 victory in 2013, over West Virginia. Nickelback Courtney Arnick started in six games as a redshirt freshman. If this group collectively improves, Kansas could field a solid defense in 2014.

7. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys lose All-Big 12 cornerback Justin Gilbert, who might be selected high in the first round of the NFL draft after a stellar combine performance. The Cowboys welcome back one of the best young corners in the league in Kevin Peterson, who was terrific as a sophomore in coverage opposite Gilbert. Ashton Lampkin has experience, and he will likely fill the other corner spot unless someone else emerges. Lyndell Johnson, who made a transition from linebacker to safety last season, will take over full time at strong safety. The Cowboys will need someone else to emerge at the other safety in place of departed veteran starter Daytawion Lowe. Deric Robertson, Tre Flowers, Jordan Sterns, Taylor Lewis and Darius Curry, all from the 2013 recruiting class, are possibilities.

8. Texas Tech: How the Red Raiders retool here will be on one of the bigger spring storylines in Lubbock. Keenon Ward and Justis Nelson were thrown in the fire as freshmen last year, and they will be counted on to fill bigger roles. The gem of the incoming recruiting class, four-star cornerback Nigel Bethel II, could be asked – and has the capability – to play right away. The Red Raiders have to replace both starting safeties, including freshman Tanner Jacobson, who is going on a Mormon mission. To compensate, Tech signed six safeties, including Josh Keys, the No. 5 juco safety in the country, who had offers from Auburn, Georgia and Oklahoma State. Getting strong safety J.J. Gaines back from a season-ending injury will be a boost, too.

9. Baylor: The Bears are one of several teams in the league that were decimated in the secondary by graduation. Baylor loses four of its five starters, including All-American safety Ahmad Dixon. Safety Terrell Burt is the only returning starter, leaving the other four spots up for grabs. The Bears signed juco corners Tion Wright and Chris Sanders to help fill the void. Both are already on campus and will be battling Xavien Howard, Ryan Reid and Tyler Stephenson for a starting job. Orion Stewart, who backed up Dixon as a redshirt freshman, will likely step in his role, and fellow sophomore Kiante’ Griffin will be the favorite to take over at the nickel.

10. Iowa State: Cornerback Nigel Tribune was the only true freshman to play for the Cyclones last year, and he received votes as Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. Tribune, however, is the only returning starter. Veteran safety mainstays Jacques Washington and Deon Broomfield are gone. In response, the Cyclones will look for Devron Moore and Qujuan Floyd, the Nos. 6 and 7 juco safety recruits, respectively, to step in immediately.
Each week, Sean Adams opens up the mailbag to answer all your questions about the Texas Longhorns. Send your questions to him @thatsean on Twitter.

Michael H. Pelech @michaelpelech10 on Twitter: Can you name one of the true freshmen that nobody is talking about that will be a star before he leaves the 40 acres?

Sean Adams: Antwuan Davis, the freshman from Bastrop, Texas, looks the part right now. He has the speed and athleticism to go with it. He just has to put it all together. While experience and reps will keep him from making a huge impact this fall, he will be a star down the road for the Longhorns.
Mack Brown isn’t afraid to play freshmen. This much we know.

The Longhorns have trotted out 34 true freshmen over the past two seasons, which is the most in FBS.

As those players mature, slots for incoming freshmen to play have dwindled. But if there is a short list of those wet behind the ears with a chance to contribute, Antwuan Davis' name will be on it.

Antwuan Davis
Max Olson/ESPN.comCan Texas signee Antwuan Davis contribute on defense for the Longhorns in 2013?
Davis, an ESPN 300 cornerback from Bastrop, Texas, has the physical makeup (6-foot, 180 pounds) and speed (4.3 speed) to factor into the defensive back rotation.

His ready-to-play skills are what made him the No. 148 player overall and the No. 15 cornerback in the country in 2013. He was highly sought after, with offers from Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas A&M. But there was really never a doubt that Texas was where he’d end up.

Now he’s on campus, enrolled in summer school, and ready to test the waters of fall camp. We caught up with Bastrop head coach Gerald Perry to get his insight on what to expect from Davis this season.

HornsNation: What are you most excited about seeing from Davis as a Longhorn?

Gerald Perry: Knowing him for the last couple of years, he is such a great teammate. It’s always exciting to see how kids fit in with other teammates and find that niche. Antwuan has so much talent, so much raw talent that he hasn’t realized, he’s going to get on the field soon. We played a lot of man coverage so he’s done a lot of the things that they are going to do at Texas. He’s a great kid to be around. He’s a hard, hard worker, and is very, very comfortable. I think he’ll play soon.

HN: He’s so quick but he’s also so physical. What is his greatest asset on the field?

Perry: It’s hard to find a kid that’s got so much speed and strength together. I’ve been doing this for 20 years now and I’ve had some great kids. But for the corner position, for him to be that strong and for him to have the world-class speed that he’s got, it’s incredible to have that total package. That’s why he was in such high demand. You have to be physical in the Big 12, and he’s got that. He also has the speed to play those great receivers.

HN: Recruiting can often get to a kid’s head. Did you see Antwuan change at any point or did he stay the same?

Perry: He’s a very humble young man with a great family. I’m heavily involved in the recruiting of our kids and we talk to them about how to act and how to deal with Facebook. He’s very humble. He was very good with the process and took his time. I think he knew he wanted to go to Texas from the beginning.

HN: You mentioned playing so much man coverage. How much do you think that will help him get to the field sooner rather than later?

Perry: I think it will help. When he moved in he was playing a lot of cover three. We played so much bump-and-run, man coverage when he was with us. It’s going to help him. We faced some great talent. He’s seen some good talent and gone to some big-time camps and gotten better and better. I talked to him the other day and they were doing 7-on-7. I am excited for his opportunities.

HN: Does he get the sense that he is going to play early?

Perry: We’ve talked. He just wants to contribute. Very few kids want to come in and redshirt. Some kids need to. They need that extra year to get stronger. He’s already got that strength. It just depends on what they have at Texas. He is a kid that can play special teams as well. I think he will be used, especially when you go to nickel packages.

HN: Do you think that cornerback is it for him or do you think he could move to safety at some point?

Perry: I think he’ll stay at corner. He’s got the strength to play the slot. But I think he is a natural corner. He’s got good, decent height. I’ve seen little corners without the strength. This guy has so much upper body strength that I think he’s going to be a big asset for them at corner.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Time and again over the past two years, Texas coach Mack Brown has been true to his word: The best players, no matter the age or experience level, will play.

That has led to 34 true freshmen -- the most in FBS -- hitting the field in the past two seasons. Texas’ hand was forced in some respects. It had to bridge a talent gap created by recruiting misses, particularly those in the 2009 class. Now, the result is that the gap has been somewhat plugged. Or, at the very least, there is a prevailing thought that field is full -- 19 starters return -- leaving little room for any of the true freshmen in the 2013 class to make a significant impact.


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Tales From The Road: Texas 

May, 15, 2013
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Every Wednesday, HornsNation will take a look at Texas' week in recruiting in Tales From The Road.

This week’s targets: The Longhorns had the luxury of having several prospects come to them over the weekend due to the UIL State Track and Field Meet in Austin. Some of the unofficial visitors included Baylor commitment Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau), Alabama commitment Deionte Thompson (Orange, Texas/West Orange Stark), K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant), Jay Bradford (Splendora, Texas/Splendora), Ishmael Zamora (Alief, Texas/Elsik), Koda Martin (Manvel, Texas/Manvel), Elton Dyer (Houston/South Houston), Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Roosevelt), Blake Blackmar (Houston/Clear Lake) and Kevin Shorter (Newton, Texas/Newton).

Area of interest: The Longhorns are using Stacy Searels’ connections as the Georgia Bulldogs' former offensive line coach to make some headway in the Peach State. In 2014 alone, Texas has offered Georgian’s Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, GA./Norcross), Andrew Williams (McDonough, GA/Eagles Landing Christian Academy) Elisha Shaw (Tucker, GA/Tucker), Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, GA/Liberty County) Orlando Brown Jr. (Duluth, GA/Peachtree Ridge), Nick Chubb (Cedartown, GA/Cedartown), Adam Choice (Thomasville, GA/Thomas County Central High) and Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, GA/Sandy Creek).

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Texas lost five previously committed players in its 2013 recruiting class, something that never used to be a problem for the Longhorns. But they'll finish with the Big 12's top class in 2013, featuring eight ESPN 300 signees.

Each of the following players have officially sent in their letters of intent, and here's who's heading to the 40 Acres.
It's a really small class for Texas with just 15 signees after signing 28 players a year ago and 22 and 25 the previous two seasons. But the Longhorns are sitting at No. 14 in our ESPN class rankings, down a spot from where they began the day.

Antwuan Davis TweetChat 

February, 5, 2013
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Good luck finding a more talkative member of Texas’ 2013 recruiting class than Antwuan Davis.

The ESPN 150 cornerback from Bastrop (Texas) committed to the Longhorns in May and has already vowed he’ll be one of the leaders of his class. Ever since he found out he couldn’t enroll early, Davis has been itching to get on campus as soon as possible and make a name for himself.

Here’s what Davis had to say about his freshman season at Texas, which Longhorn greats he compares to, and why there’s no way he’s overrated.


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Horns Snapshot: CB Antwuan Davis 

February, 2, 2013
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To gear up for 2013 national signing day, HornsNation’s William Wilkerson is breaking down every commitment in the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: Cornerback Antwuan Davis, Bastrop, Texas/Bastrop | 6-foot, 180 pounds

Committed: May 4, 2012

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Welcome to The Heard, HornsNation’s weekly in-depth look inside the never-ending world of Longhorns recruiting with news, notes and interesting tidbits on the latest happenings around the program. We’ll release this every Thursday.

Talk about it in our forum and, if there’s a recruit out there you’d like to hear more from, let us know.

  • Texas' most elusive commit talks about his recent visits
  • Two sports an option for a Horns commit?
  • More on new juco WR target
  • Running back search continues
  • Longhorns in contention for Las Vegas RB
  • Huhn ready to be a Horn
  • Dallas safety to attend UT junior day
  • 2014 OL coming to 1st junior day
  • Houston WR not interested in Texas

Read The Heard after the jump.


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Signing day primer: Texas

January, 23, 2013
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Team needs: Texas hit the recruiting trail this year seeking improved depth on the offensive line and at linebacker. Its line got almost no production from backups in 2012, and an inexperienced linebacker group started six players last season and endured struggles throughout. With only nine seniors in 2012, the Longhorns don’t have many other holes that need to be filled by this class of recruits. The most irreplaceable cogs are safety Kenny Vaccaro and defensive end Alex Okafor. Both are potential first-round NFL draft picks whose production will be tough to match.

Help is on the way: The offensive line questions have been answered. Texas is set to sign one of the nation’s best classes up front with five commits, including No. 1 center Darius James (Killeen, Texas/Harker Heights) and No. 4 tackle Kent Perkins (Dallas/Lake Highlands). Contra Costa (Calif.) College tackle Desmond Harrison joined the class this week. Texas also landed ESPN 300 outside linebacker Deoundrei Davis (Cypress, Texas/Cypress Woods), who enrolled early and should contribute as a freshman.

Other key commits: Two more early enrollees, ESPN 150 lineman Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina) and Butte (Calif.) College tight end Geoff Swaim, should play right away. Texas also has pledges from ESPN 150 defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights), receiver Jacorey Warrick (Houston/Cypress Falls) and cornerback Antwuan Davis (Bastrop, Texas/Bastrop). The Longhorns will pair Warrick with Jake Oliver (Dallas/Jesuit), who broke the Texas state record for career receptions.

Other key targets: Holding on to Robinson is crucial. He has taken official visits to USC and Alabama and could make a late-second flip on signing day. With a pledge from Harrison, the biggest remaining priorities are finding another running back and wide receiver. ESPN 150 receiver Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) and Ole Miss running back commit Peyton Barber (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) could visit in January.
Welcome to The Heard, HornsNation’s weekly in-depth look inside the never-ending world of Longhorns recruiting with news, notes and interesting tidbits on the latest happenings around the program. We’ll release this every Thursday.

Talk about it in our forum and, if there’s a recruit out there you’d like to hear more from, let us know.

A few of the notes in today's The Heard:

  • Robinson ready to end process
  • In-home visit key for Harrison
  • Oliver values time at Army Bowl
  • The latest on Campbell
  • Would Hammad commit?
  • Perkins focused on one sport
  • 2014 DB gets junior day invite
  • Davis wouldn’t mind moving around
  • TCU commit will visit Texas
  • 2014 DB unsure of UT


Read The Heard after the jump.


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SAN ANTONIO - - Longhorns offensive tackle commitment Kent Perkins (Lake Highlands, Texas/Lake Highlands) is usually the big man on campus, figuratively and literally.


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SAN ANTONIO -- Longhorns cornerback commitment Antwuan Davis (Bastrop, Texas/Bastrop) could have pouted. The ESPN 150 cornerback could have sulked and tucked his head when he wasn’t named a starter in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday.


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