AUSTIN, Texas — The task of finding playing time for all the talented safeties on the Texas Longhorns roster is apparently getting more difficult for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, at least according to nickel backs Josh Thompson and BJ Foster.
That’s because Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair safety Chris Adimora has already been a revelation through preseason camp working behind Thompson and Foster.
“Chris Adimora actually had a couple of picks the other day,” Foster said last week.
Foster cited Adimora’s ball skills and ability to make plays after sitting in hole spots and reading the quarterbacks as his first impressions of the talented freshman. For Thompson, he was most impressed by how quickly Adimora adjusted to the program after arriving for the summer sessions.
Now Adimora will have a chance to play on special teams this season, according to head coach Tom Herman, though the staff hasn’t yet decided whether the players in that category will only play four games in order to redshirt.
And so while the depth in the secondary will almost certainly keep Adimora from contributing beyond special teams this season, his future looks bright after playing a key role in the 2019 recruiting class.
In a time of need, Orlando and the Horns turned to California to land an impact safety in the most recent cycle. Enter Adimora, a native of a Los Angeles-area planned community built after World War II.
After Texas missed on talented in-state products like eventual Texas A&M signees Brian Williams and Demani Richardson, Adimora emerged as a key target. He wasn’t rated as highly as Williams or Richardson, but he did earn an offer from Alabama in late April before pledging to Texas in July.
Adimora’s senior season reinforced the trust from the coaching staff — he averaged nearly 25 yards per catch, caught 10 touchdown passes, and had an 80-yard touchdown. On defense, his overall production decreased as he focused more intently on making plays for the Mayfair offense, but he still managed to record five interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
All told, Adimora had 12 total interceptions — four returned for touchdowns — and 321 interception return yards over his last two seasons in high school before finishing as a top-20 safety and top-200 product nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
A high school basketball standout as well, Adimora fits the definition of a pure gamer with ideal size at 6’1 and 185 pounds. When he steps onto a playing surface, he’s at his best.
As a result, evaluating him by his testing numbers is both relatively ineffective, but also suggestive of his potential athletic upside — Adimora ran a 4.71 40, posted a 4.30 shuttle, and added a 32-inch vertical leap at an event for The Opening. While those aren’t exactly impressive numbers, it’s worth considering where he’ll be after a year or two with strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight.
More importantly, Adimora’s senior film and early production for the Longhorns in practice hint at his true upside as a safety with high-level baseline attributes playing the football in the air and jumping routes with his eyes on the quarterback.
An embarrassment of riches, indeed.