Texas early enrollee Deoundrei Davis - Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)
Taking a big-picture view at the defensive players who signed with Texas on Wednesday.
The Texas Longhorns signed a relatively small class on National Signing Day after five prospects decommitted during the cycle, many of whom were not replaced.
However, Signing Day is supposed to be an optimistic day to look towards the future and move forward with the player who have signed. In that spirit, let's forge ahead with the defensive prospects who signed. The offensive breakdown is here.
*The rankings are from the 247Sports composite.
Position overview: The Longhorns secured a commitment from high-upside Lancaster weakside defensive end Daeshon Hall after the second Junior Day in late February, but he decommitted in June for Washington before deciding on Texas A&M on Signing Day.
Other than Hall, Texas targeted New Jersey defensive end Dajaun Drennon briefly and got LSU signee Frank Herron on campus last weekend. However, neither one ever seriously considered the Longhorns.
Head coach Mack Brown also revealed on Wednesday that Celina lineman Jake Raulerson will start out as an offensive lineman instead of at defensive end, as previously planned.
Position overview: If anything, Mack Brown and company missed even worse at defensive tackle than they did at defensive end. Prized five-star recruit A'Shawn Robinson signed with Alabama on Wednesday, even though he maintained that he was 100% committed to Texas while taking official visits to several other schools.
The 'Horns also finished third out of the three finalists for Waco's Andrew Billings, who would have provided a big, strong presence at nose tackle for Texas, which will now have to rely heavily on the depth on campus moving forward.
Deoundrei Davs, Cy Woods
6-1.5, 210 pounds | **** | 126th
Quick take: The versatile, hard-striking linebacker suffered a major setback last fall when he tore his ACL in October. Previously with a chance of contributing as a freshman because he enrolled early, it now looks less likely that the Houston-area product will see the field in a signifiant capacity next fall. However, Davis does fill the hybrid role that is becoming increasingly popular in the Big 12 and has the athleticism necessary to cover running backs, tight ends, and possibly even some slot receivers at times.
Naashon Hughes, Harker Heights
6-4, 210 pounds | *** | 360th
Quick take: The younger brother of offensive tackle Camrhon, a redshirt freshman at Texas, Hughes is the definition of raw. He played some safety as a junior before making the move to linebacker his senior season, where he will likely play in college. A high-upside prospect, Hughes is a bit like Davis in that he's fast, fluid, and agile enough to take his coverage drops or man up on interior receivers or tight ends and can also rush the quarterback from his outside linebacker position.
Position overview: Besides offensive line, the linebacker group may be the most successful position in terms of the Longhorns being able to land the players that they targeted -- Davis and Hughes were the only linebackers offered.
Davis is a really good player and Hughes has a ton of upside and opted to stay with the 'Horns throughout the cycle even though he didn't receive a full scholarship offer until late. He held offers from South Carolina and LSU, as well as interest from Oklahoma and Notre Dame.
Antwuan Davis, Bastrop
6-0, 180 pounds | **** | 135th
Quick take: One of the fastest players in the state, Davis nearly won the 100m 3A title last year competing against the son of a former Olympic sprinter. Playing well as a sophomore at Del Valle in Austin put Davis squarely on the radar, but a back injury derailed his junior season and probably delayed his Texas offer, as well as his ascent in the rankings. By the end of the process, however, the US Army All-American had regained his rightful spot as a near top-10 player in the state with his blend of physicality and recovery speed that could allow him to play safety if he isn't fluid enough for cornerback.
Chevoski Collins, Livingston
5-11, 185 pounds | *** | 392nd
Quick take: Like 2012 signee Kendall Sanders, Collins was a do-everything prospect for Livingston, spending a great deal of time at quarterback. Mack Brown said Wednesday that Collins will likely start at defensive back, but could end up on offense. Another player who emerged on the radar early, only to fade for a bit before making a recovery, Collins is a smooth athlete with good speed who probably projects best at safety.
Erik Huhn, Cibolo Steele
6-2, 205 | *** | 205th
Quick take: A surprise commitment after one of the Texas summer camps, Huhn had been on the fringes of the radar and was a player who really wanted to play football in Austin. In fact, Brown said Wednesday that Huhn basically recruited himself to Texas, convincing the coaches that he could play when he was successful on man coverage against some of the best receivers in camp. A hard hitter who is working to recover from an ACL injury that ended his season on the second play, Huhn should be ready to go when he enrolls this summer.
Position overview: This is a solid group with plenty of speed in Davis and Collins and a guy who could grow into a hybrid safety/linebacker in Huhn. If there's a complaint, it's that the three players aren't the sexiest prospects Texas targeted in the class -- those honors go to guys like Florida signee Marcell Harris, the big Florida safety who can really strike, and Ohio State signee Vonn Bell, the playmaking safety who can cover ground with the best of them.