The act of remembrance can be a difficult task.
In this specific context, the difficulties are associated with the need to recall the existence of redshirting players in the midst of evaluating the on-field performances of those who actually received heavy snaps during the football season and projecting the incoming signing class.
In this specific context, we’re talking about Texas Longhorns redshirt freshman nose tackle Keondre Coburn. We’re here to say that he still exists. And that nothing has changed regarding his positive projection at this time last season.
So let’s flash back a year.
Following the first-ever early signing period, one of the primary concerns for the burnt orange faithful was whether the talented Houston Westfield product would stick with his commitment to the Longhorns.
Coburn took an official visit to Miami and hosted Texas A&M coaches for an in-home visit in January, but ended up staying true to his longtime commitment despite never making it to campus for a planned visit just before National Signing Day.
The presence of former Westfield head coach Corby Meekins on the Forty Acres certainly helped ensure that Coburn signed with the Longhorns even after all the drama down the stretch.
Most importantly, Coburn’s decision was one of the biggest coups in the 2018 recruiting class, as the Under Armour All-American was the top-ranked defensive tackle in the state and one of the best nose tackle prospects to emerge from Texas in recent years.
As a senior, Coburn had an excellent season, recording 56 tackles, including 20 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, four pressures, and two passes batted down.
Listed at 6’1 and 330 pounds out of high school, Coburn was considered a special prospect due to his combination of quickness off the ball and ability to hold the point of attack. Basically, Coburn has the perfect skill set to play nose tackle for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando — a low center of gravity, strong base to anchor agains the run, and enough athleticism to still make plays in the backfield against the run and pass.
At the high school level, when he fired out of his stance with low pad level and his hands shooting up under the pads of opposing offensive linemen, he was almost impossible to stop. When his motor was running hot, he ran down plays outside the pocket, even ranging to the sidelines at times.
Coburn showed up in Austin over the summer a little heavier than desirable, but appeared to reproportion his body as the season went along. With plenty of time to spend in the weight room while redshirting, Coburn was able to gain strength and decrease his body fat to maintain the quickness that makes him so special.
Under the new redshirt rules, Coburn was also able to see some action late in the season, appearing against West Virginia and Kansas, recording a tackle against the Mountaineers.
So Coburn will still have four seasons of eligibility remaining this spring as he begins his quest to replace Chris Nelson as the starting Texas nose tackle. He’ll have to compete against Gerald Wilbon and D’Andre Christmas, both of whom will be seniors, but don’t be surprised if Coburn ends up winning the job.
He’s just that talented.
If it all comes together for Coburn and he fulfills his significant potential, he could grow into one of the nation’s best nose tackles over the coming years.
Not bad for a guy who has been only slightly more visible than Sasquatch this season, but take this as confirmation that Coburn is real and still on the Forty Acres.