When the Texas Longhorns practice the Lightning package that features six defensive backs, senior walk-on defensive back Jarmarquis Durst is receiving repetitions with the second team at the boundary safety position.
“He’s earned that spot,” head coach Tom Herman said on Tuesday. “Jarmarquis played quite a bit for us on special teams last year. He’s an excellent walk on to have. It’s not that we’re waiting on anybody. He’s earned the right to be there.”
Earlier in the spring, senior PJ Locke III was playing boundary safety with the first team in the Lightning package, as sophomore cornerback Josh Thompson slid to the nickel. Herman anticipated using sophomore Chris Brown in the B-backer role in that grouping.
Now it sounds like Durst is in the mix at the boundary safety position behind Locke in that particular package.
Considering that Durst had a positive impact last spring and did make two appearances during the 2017 season, it’s not entirely surprising that he’s now pushing younger players on the second team.
Let’s break it down by numbers — if redshirt freshman safety Montrell Estell is still out, that means that Texas currently has 13 healthy scholarship defensive backs and six healthy safeties for a Lightning package two deep that requires six safeties.
Any rotation at all with the second team would then include Durst among those safeties.
The 6’1, 200-pounder has an interesting story. Originally recruited to Tarleton State as a wide receiver out of Conroe Oak Ridge, Durst played in nine games as a true freshman, catching two passes for 18 yards and a touchdown.
As a sophomore, he moved to safety and quickly made an impact, eventually emerging as a starter. In 10 games, he totaled 54 tackles and two tackles for loss, many of them coming later in the season. In an October game against Kingsville, for instance, he had 12 tackles, then recorded 18 tackles in a playoff game.
Presumably looking for a higher level of competition, Durst transferred to Texas in 2016 and redshirted before earning playing time under Herman and his staff last season.
Now he’s providing valuable depth in his final season on the 40 Acres as he attempts to once again see the field this fall.