On Sunday, the Texas Longhorns added a second California product to the 2019 recruiting class and a second out-of-state defensive back when Lakewood (Cali.) Mayfair safety Chris Adimora committed to head coach Tom Herman and his staff.
The addition was significant, as Adimora is the first safety to pledge to the Horns this cycle. After landing a historic group of defensive backs in the 2018 class, Texas has struggled to recruit in the state of Texas at safety — the top three targets all committed to other schools. With Brian Williams and Demani Richardson seemingly locked in with their respective pledges to Texas A&M and Jamal Morris headed to Oklahoma, the Horns needed some more out-of-state success.
Just as cornerbacks coach Jason Washington managed to land Kenyatta Watson II despite national interest and no particular tie to Texas, safeties coach Craig Naivar won over Adimora in a similar recruitment.
So while there are still question marks about certain members of Herman’s staff in terms of recruiting acumen, Washington and Naivar have both been fantastic so far, even when with adversity in the 2019 class.
Adimora’s addition also allows the staff to continue focusing on landing other priority targets like Lewis Cine, Jalen Catalon, and Marques Caldwell. Landing two of those three recruits is a distinct possibility and would likely finalize the defensive back class.
On the field, Adimora’s stock took off following his junior season, as he earned offers from programs like Alabama, Michigan, and Oregon after recording seven interceptions and also serving as a playmaking force on offense.
As an athlete, the hope is that he can grow some in the Texas strength and conditioning program because his verified testing numbers aren’t spectacular — a 4.71 40-yard dash, 4.3 shuttle, and a 32-inch vertical leap. Of course, those numbers are still solid and, more importantly, Adimora produced on offense as a junior with impressive top-end speed and short-area quickness on his junior film.
Like DeShon Elliott last season, Adimora always seemed to be in the right place as a junior in securing his seven interceptions. During his senior season, the question is whether he can continue to produce game-changing interceptions. No matter what happens, Adimora has already proven his acumen in reading the eyes of the quarterback and getting where he needs to be to suggest a significant football IQ.
With a hard-hitting tackling style, Adimora has the mentality and the physicality to come up in run support in or even play in the box, as he’s already close to 200 pounds and will likely to play at 205-210 pounds in college without losing his speed. At 6’1, he has an ideal frame for the position that helps make up for a lack of elite testing results. The easy comparison here is to Elliott, but Adimora is big enough and physical enough that he could fill the Lightning package role that Jason Hall held late last year as an eraser near the line of scrimmage.
On offense, Adimora showed off the explosiveness that wasn’t elite in testing situations — it sounds like a cliche, but the guess here is that the Texas coaches see Adimora as a prospect who plays faster than he tests. He’s a unique combination of smooth and tough in the open field that makes him difficult to tackle and capable of taking short passes or handoffs for long touchdowns.
Evaluators are high on Adimora, too, from high-level schools like Alabama to the services. In fact, 247Sports ranks Adimora as the No. 10 safety nationally.
Considering the recruiting challenges, landing an out-of-state prospect ranked that highly with a baseline expectation of providing depth behind the 2018 class is quite a coup for Naivar and Herman.