Houston Lamar High School has become a Division I factory over the years. One doesn't even need to look further than the Texas Longhorns current and upcoming roster for proof — junior defensive backs Holton Hill and John Bonney currently don the burnt orange, while four-star wide receiver Al’vonte Woodard and and now four-star cornerback D’Shawn Jamison will do the same next season.
Jamison, who became the Longhorns latest pledge on Saturday evening, has spent the majority of his high school career under the tutelage of Lamar defensive backs coach Theadis Reagins, who’s helped send seemingly countless talents to the Power 5 ranks over the years.
Jamison was far from the first, and he won’t even be the last this month — five-star Lamar cornerback Anthony Cook is set to choose between Texas, Ohio State and LSU on Oct. 30 — but for now, he’s the latest to continue the Lamar-to-the-Longhorns pipeline.
Burnt Orange Nation recently caught up with Coach Reagins, who raved about what Tom Herman and the ‘Horns are getting in their latest pledge.
"The thought of just having another DB from Lamar High School get the opportunity to play at a program like the University of Texas is an honor for D'Shawn Jamison and his family," Reagins said.
An Under Armour All-American and Nike The Opening Finalist, Jamison spent the previous year and a half prior to his senior season blossoming into one of the nation’s most coveted defensive back prospects.
Beginning with UTSA in April of 2016, Jamison went on to add upwards of 30 offers throughout his junior season and final offseason among the high school ranks. By the time his final offer from Auburn rolled in on May 25, the likes of Michigan, Oregon, Notre Dame, USC, Oklahoma State, Penn State, TCU, Texas A&M, and of course, Texas were among those vying for his signature.
Jamison was an elite prospect then, and he’s only taken more steps in the right direction as a senior, with plenty of development still to come.
"The growth he's shown this year speaks to his commitment during the offseason to be a better leader on and off the field,” Reagins said. “He's grown in areas such as film study, technique in playing the cornerback position, and he's gotten stronger in the weight room. The scary part is he has grown so much from his time as a freshman and yet his upside is endless."
Endless upside considered, there’s almost always an adjustment curve as recruits transition from college prospects to college players. The same will likely be the case for Jamison, as he’ll leave a locker room where he’s currently considered a leader and join one with former elite recruits that have now spent multiple years in a college strength and conditioning program.
When that time comes, Reagins noted relying a bit less on sheer athletic ability as an area Jamison can improve upon — that’s often more than enough at the high school level, but Power 5 football is simply a different beast.
"Coaching Jamison, I see a kid who is very competitive, athletically gifted, and hard working,” Reagins said. “If I could identify area of improvement, it would be to rely less on athletic ability and more on technique."
That said, Jamison isn’t ranked as the nation’s No. 135 player for no reason — he’s a difference maker and can do so from all over the field. From nickel to corner to safety and even some occasional linebacker, as well as a return specialist, Jamison has put plenty on film throughout his high school career.
He’s especially dynamic in the latter area, and with that kind of unique versatility, finding the field as a true freshman shouldn’t prove difficult, as Reagins noted.
"With his ability to play multiple positions in the secondary, and the value he brings to the return game/special teams, he has the talents to contribute right away."
Two to three years from now, though, special teams coordinators likely won’t be the only ones losing sleep in hopes of keeping Jamison from taking returns to the house, as he’s done so often for Lamar courtesy of a verified 4.48 40-yard dash. A ballhawk in the secondary who’s willing an able to become the aggressor in blitzes and against the ground game, Jamison joins a deep and talented defensive back haul in Austin that will be filling the shoes of Hill, DeShon Elliott and P.J. Locke in the coming years.
More specifically, Jamison’s aforementioned versatility could afford him playing time as a game changer at each position in the secondary.
"Once Jamison gets on campus and learns the defensive system, opposing offenses will most definitely have to game plan for him, because he has the ability to disrupt offenses from numerous positions (corner, nickel, safety)," Reagins said.
A Houston Lamar product being game-planned around a few years into his tenure at Texas — sound familiar?
We have not mentioned Texas CB Holton Hill much lately. Why? Teams have been throwing away from him. He's having strong season so far. pic.twitter.com/sweQz3uZQH— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) October 8, 2017
The impressive measurables, the undeniable instincts, the apparent athleticism, the quality coaching and the work ethic to tie it all together — on the field, Jamison looks the part of a total package coming to Texas.
For as tantalizing of a talent as Jamison is, it’s his support system and the values instilled in him that has the coach that’s experienced his development from a part-time contributor as a sophomore to signing with the second-winningest program in college football history as a senior confident that Jamison will be special in Austin.
"Off the field he's a very respectful young man... very grounded, Reagins said. “Credit his mom and dad, who are very supportive parents and who have obviously instilled great values within him. He will be a kid that the fans will be just as pleased with off the field as they would be seeing him on the field."
By December, Jamison’s time as a Lamar Texan will be done. He’ll exchange red and blue for burnt orange and white next summer and take the coaching he’s added from Reagins over the years into a secondary room led by Jason Washington.
Just as he has with so many prospects before, including Hill and Bonney at Texas, Reagins is eager to watch Jamison as he makes the jump to the next level.
"I think it's a great opportunity for him, Reagins said. “I'm excited to see his development at the next level. Obviously, Coach Herman and Coach Washington did a great job of recruiting him, so my respect goes out to them. More than anything, his parents seems to be happy about the commitment to UT."