To Shirt or Not to Shirt? (Defense)

Manny Diaz. Bo Davis. Duane Akina. Oscar Giles. These are the winners from the 2012 Longhorns defensive recruiting haul. A nearly perfect class should stock the coaches' cupboard for years to come with play-makers and draft picks. Let's take a look at who the early contributors might be for next season.


DT Malcolm Brown - Like Jonathan Gray on offense, Brown is the can't miss defensive talent in this class. He may or may not end up starting next year, but he most assuredly will see the field and make his presence felt. Pairing Brown,

Tank Jackson, Ashton Dorsey, or Chris Whaley, next to run-stuffing wide body Brandon Moore gives the Longhorns multiple looks to confuse opposing offensive coordinators. The question here is not whether Brown will make it to the next level, but how long will he stay in school?

DT Brandon Moore - The other JUCO take instantly eases the loss of mainstay Kheeston Randall. He won't provide much QB pressure, but the Horns don't need that from the big man. Diaz's boys were mighty against the run in 2011, and that should only improve in 2012 with the addition of Moore, who is already on campus and will be in spring drills.

LB Dalton Santos - Steve Edmond will assume MLB responsibilities now that Keenan Robinson has moved on. He will bring a ferocious penchant for stuffing running backs to the position, and the good news is Santos is cut from the same cloth. He should immediately make the two-deep and see the field extensively. Vol Nation will miss him dearly.

OLB/DE Torshiro Davis - Some predicted he will redshirt after his surprise NSD switch from LSU, but Texas needs depth at defensive end and could be greatly blessed by this Sergio Kindle-type at rush 'backer. He will provide instant QB pressure, which will only make the Alex Okafor/Jackson Jeffcoat tandem that much more lethal due to single blocking assignments.

DB Bryson Echols - Texas is deep at defensive back, but Echols displays the ball skills, swivel hips, and success against high-level competition to be ready to contribute in the fall. With the starters set with Kenny Vaccaro, Quandre Diggs, Adrian Phillips, and Carrington Byndom, Echols could join Mykkele Thompson, AJ White, Leroy Scott, Josh Turner, and Sheroid Evans in the race for second-string.

Again, a plethora of talent will be red-shirted, especially along the defensive line. Diaz and the rest of the coaches should be thrilled for years to come with this year's influx of talent. Kudos to Mack and the Boys for another fantastic class. Now let the games begin.

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