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Texas S Tyler Owens teases apparent move to LB

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The Longhorns need depth at linebacker and the former track star has been a spin-down candidate since he arrived in Austin nearly two years ago.

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With senior linebacker Juwan Mitchell in the NCAA transfer portal, it appears the Texas Longhorns are addressing the need at linebacker with a position change, spinning junior safety Tyler Owens down towards the line of scrimmage.

As Owens alludes to in his tweet, senior DeMarvion Overshown made a similar move last season that paid off for the Arp product with a productive season, including 60 tackles, eight tackles for loss, a sack, four quarterback hurries, and two interceptions. But with Overshown out for the spring due to shoulder surgery, there’s an opportunity for someone like Owens to emerge.

A high school track standout who ran a 10.3 100m at Plano East, Owens was a fast-rising product late in the 2019 recruiting class, eventually finishing the cycle as a Longhorns signee and a top-10 safety ranked just outside the top-100 nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

During the 2019 season, Owens appeared in 13 games, starting against TCU due to injuries, finishing the year with eight total tackles. After the defensive coordinator change, however, Owens fell back in the rotation, in part thanks to better health, and mainly contributed on special teams under Chris Ash. The biggest play of the season from Owens — and of his career — came against Texas Tech when he blocked a punt returned for a touchdown by cornerback Jahdae Barron.

Playing time looked like it was going to be hard to come by for Owens again in 2021 during a critical season for the 6’2, 204-pounder — sophomore Jerrin Thompson continues to look like a starter next to senior BJ Foster at safety and early enrollee JD Coffey is already drawing buzz about his ability.

So moving to linebacker, as Overshown did last season, represents the best path to playing time for Owens, whose speed would give him even better sideline-to-sideline range than his fellow former safety. Learning the position, especially playing through traffic, will almost certainly take Owens some time, but there are plenty of repetitions available this spring.

And like Overshown, this could be the chance that Owens needs to translate his potential into production for the Longhorns.