For years, Texas Longhorns have been waiting to consistently see this version of safety DeShon Elliott.
To be sure, the junior flashes some potential at times during his first two seasons on the Forty Acres. As a freshman against Kansas, Elliott became only the second freshman to record two interceptions in a game for the Longhorns. He also forced a fumble that season against Oklahoma, but was limited by an injury that kept him out of fall camp and the start of the season.
As a sophomore, Elliott remained a back up other than a start against Kansas, posting an interception, two recovered fumbles, and four pass breakups. The iconic moment came in the season opener on a big hit against Notre Dame wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. in the end zone.
Now a full-time starter, Elliott is beginning to emerge as the playmaking force that earned him the nickname “The Kraken” in high school, as well as All-American honors as as a participant in the Under Armour game.
Through four games, the 6’2, 210-pounder has four interceptions, with two in each of the last two contests, which ties him for first nationally with Kent State’s Demetrius Monday. Elliott, however, has done much more with those interceptions, accumulating 70 more return yards and taking back one of his picks against USC for six.
The junior also has 18 tackles total, with two for loss, one sack, and three passes broken up. One of those was in the end zone against Iowa State, temporarily keeping a touchdown off the board with one of his signature big hits.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing that Elliott has done is continuously put himself in the right position to make plays — he’s somehow stolen the soul of Dylan Haines, and that seems fine, because Haines never seemed interested in doing any good with it anyway.
Just as importantly, Elliott has also reduced the coverage busts and issues that plagued him in the first two games and has become a more effective blitzer than he was against Maryland in the opener.
“Just like myself, he took a lot of heat in Maryland,” said defensive coordinator Todd Orlando last week. “He didn't play well. He didn't play well at all. He came back and he was really dialed in.”
Since then, that hasn’t changed, and it means that Elliott is emerging as one of the team’s best defenders and a player now on the radar of NFL scouts.
The Kraken is officially unleashed.