Texas Longhorns: Bryson Echols

During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 15 Bryson Echols
Freshman cornerback

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AUSTIN, Texas – Mack Brown isn’t quite sure what to do with Duke Thomas. Not just yet anyway.

"We will just have to look at it and probably play him both ways in the fall," the Texas coach said.

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AUSTIN, Texas – Quandre Diggs wants to quell all the rumors.

"I feel like we can put those rumors to rest about me playing safety this spring because that’s not what I’m doing," said the junior defensive back. "I’m playing nickel and corner. I don’t have a problem playing safety, but that is not where I’m needed right now."

[+] EnlargeQuandre Diggs
AP Photo/Rogelio V. SolisThe Longhorns experimented with playing Quandre Diggs at safety but he's sticking at cornerback.
There was a thought back in December that -- with Kenny Vaccaro leaving and the remaining safeties underperforming throughout 2012 -- Texas could move Diggs to safety. He even took some reps at that spot in bowl practice. Texas appeared to be deeper at corner and therefore could afford to make the move.

But there has been steady improvement, and as a direct result much more faith, in returning safeties Adrian Phillips, Mykkele Thompson and Josh Turner. Phillips is expected to be the leader of that group and the one certain starter. Many of his problems in 2012 were pinned on a shoulder injury that hampered his development.

"I have a lot of faith in those three guys in safety so we can put those rumors to rest," Diggs said.

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Duane Akina will spend most of the spring mix and matching.

Given time, the Texas secondary coach likes to take his time before typecasting a certain player in a certain role. Ideally, Akina prefers to have every defensive back ready and able to play every role.

That versatility can not only cover up some deficiencies but also make the back four a stronger and more cohesive unit because every player understands the role to the player next to him seeing as how he has spent at least some time in that role.

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Every Friday, HornsNation recruiting writers William Wilkerson and Max Olson answer a question about the Longhorns.

This week’s question: Which position is Texas’ biggest need for its 2014 class?

William Wilkerson: This comes down to a few positions for me.

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Every Friday, HornsNation recruiting writers William Wilkerson and Max Olson will answer a question about the Longhorns.

This week's question: Texas has seen Ricky Seals-Jones, Daeshon Hall, Kyle Hicks and now Durham Smythe decommit from the 2013 class. Who is the one recruit Texas can't afford to lose before signing day?

William Wilkerson: There are several choices here but I’m going with ESPN 150 DB Antwuan Davis because of Texas’ struggles recruiting the secondary in this class.

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Head coach Mack Brown and the rest of the Longhorns coaching staff will continue to evaluate their freshmen class as they try to determine which players to redshirt as the season wears on.

Texas has played 14 freshmen through three games.

“That will probably continue to occur until the seventh week of the season,” Brown said. “You won’t travel with all of them but you still look at them.”

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DeSoto coach Claude Mathis just told me ESPN 150 athlete Dontre Wilson doesn't have a top two and is still trying to narrow down his top 6 schools.

The schools he told me are Texas, Oregon, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.

Personally, I think Oregon and Texas are his favorites in that order. I know the distance is a concern to him in going to Oregon, but that could be something he chooses to accept if Texas doesn't dangle something more appealing than a "DJ Monroe" -type roll in front of his face. He is not happy about that.

Wilson will be competing in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays at the state track meet this weekend alongside Bryson Echols. Wilson is expected to announce his decision at DeSoto's spring game on May 25.

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Four-star cornerback Bryson Echols (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) has sent in his letter of intent to Texas.

Echols (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) is the No. 6 cornerback and the No. 79 player overall in the ESPNU 150. His high school teammate, offensive guard Curtis Riser, is also committed to the Longhorns.

[+] EnlargeBryson Echols
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comDeSoto's Bryson Echols could be the next in line in Texas' long defensive back tradition.
Echols, an Under Armour All-American, has been committed to Texas since Feb. 26, 2011. He chose the Longhorns over offers from Arizona, North Texas and Kansas.

He is one of three true defensive back commitments in this class along with Kevin Vaccaro (Brownwood, Texas/Brownwood) and safety Adrian Colbert (Mineral Wells, Texas/Mineral Wells). Athlete Orlando Thomas (Copperas Cove, Texas/Copperas Cove) will likely end up in the secondary as well.

Scouts take: “Echols is a fierce competitor between the white lines and plays the game bigger and faster than his measureables might indicate. Will need added bulk and strength to continue playing with his physical style and to press and reroute bigger college receivers. Size should come and Echols has some intangibles you simply cannot coach. We expect this guy to emerge as one of the upper-tier corners in this class.”

Importance to class: The Longhorns have long prided themselves on being “DBU,” and appear to be in pretty good hands to be able to continue that tradition with young cornerbacks Quandre Diggs, Adrian Phillips and Carrington Byndom. But you can never have too many solid corners in a pass happy league like the Big 12, and Echols is the top corner in Texas.

How soon can he make an impact? This will be an interesting one to watch because of the loss at safety of Blake Gideon and Christian Scott. Not saying that Echols will be a safety. That’s unlikely to happen. But someone needs to fill that hole and it could be Phillips, even out of nickel coverage packages. If that happens than Echols could be in line for playing time. If not, guys like Leroy Scott, Josh Turner and A.J. White could likely see the field before Echols as a cornerback.

Texas commits tumble in final rankings

January, 19, 2012
ESPNU 150ESPN.com Illustrationtbd by editorial

The final ESPNU 150 rankings are out, and Longhorns fans might not be happy with two big moves.

Quarterback commit Connor Brewer (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) was ranked No. 3 among passers and No. 34 overall in the previous rankings. He’s now ESPNU’s No. 7 quarterback and ranked 130th overall.

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ESPNU 150 Midlands breakdown 

October, 20, 2011
Lone Star State well-represented
Texas football followers believe their state has the best athletes. The latest ESPNU 150 helps to support that argument -- again.

Of the 150 players, 24 represent the Lone Star State (16 percent). Two of those -- defensive end Mario Edwards (Denton, Texas/Billy Ryan) and Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas) -- are ranked in the top five and are five-star players.

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Texas' Strong Discusses Aggressive Offense, Defense
Longhorn Network analyst and Texas alum Ricky Williams sits down with Texas head coach Charlie Strong, who was hired to replace Mack Brown this off-season.Tags: Charlie Strong, Ricky Williams, Texas Longhorns, Longhorn Network