If there were only one defensive tackle prospect the Texas Longhorns had to assure they landed this cycle, it was Houston Westfield’s Keondre Coburn. On National Signing Day, the Longhorns did exactly that when Coburn signed with Texas.
I’m so happy to finally be a longhorn baby this has been the hardest process ever but it’s over and my next journey is in Austin and with my boys in this Revolution Class AND I PROMISE WE WILL BEAT OU and the rest of them pic.twitter.com/5Il1vSAmpB— Keondre Coburn⁹⁹ (@KeondreCoburn99) February 7, 2018
On August 7, Texas took a significant step towards that goal, earning Coburn’s commitment over options such as Alabama, TCU, Texas A&M and Florida State, but his recruitment was far from over. After late pushes from Texas A&M and Miami, which included in-home visits from each program and Coburn officially visiting the Hurricanes on January 19, Texas won out.
Coburn’s recruitment wasn’t without suspense down to the wire, though.
On the final weekend before National Signing Day, Coburn was originally scheduled to officially visit Oregon, but the trip never came to fruition. There was also chatter that a trip to Texas A&M or TCU could be in the cards, but those visits didn’t place place either. In similar fashion, after bypassing on the opportunity to visit the Ducks, Aggies and Horned Frogs, Coburn also didn’t show for an unofficial visit to Texas over the weekend and removed his commitment to the ‘Horns from his Twitter bio, sparking some additional intrigue down the stretch.
When the smoke cleared and the dust settled, though, Coburn remained firm to his pledge to Texas, providing the Longhorns with a potential year-one impact contributor in the trenches.
A 6’1, 329-pound prospect, Coburn is nothing short of a brute force in the trenches. Explosive and physical at the point of attack, Coburn was able to simply bully his way to the ball more times than not at the high school level, but also displayed a solid ability to utilize his hands well to shed blocks. When you pair Coburn’s innate ability to physically overwhelm interior linemen with his surprising quickness for his size, you get an Under Armour All-American with a No. 123 national ranking.
247Sports detailed what makes Coburn such an elite talent:
“Coburn plays for a team that has been known to produce high level college players at defensive tackle and he is next in that string of recruits. He is powerful at the point of attack, plays with good pad level, and is explosive with his first step. He uses his hands well to handle offensive linemen and play off of blocks. He is a gap-plugger, but he is able to also get pressure and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He closes well and arrives at ball carriers with bad intentions.”
For a Longhorns defensive line in dire need of talented depth at the position, Coburn could prove to be one of Texas’ most important targets this cycle in short order with reigning Big 12 Defensive Linemen of the Year, Poona Ford, now off to the NFL.
Senior Chris Nelson is seemingly a lock to secure the starting role in the middle, but Coburn certainly boasts the physical ability to compete for reserve reps as a true freshman against talents such as Jamari Chrisholm, Gerald Wilbon and D’Andre Christmas, who combined for just 10 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 0.5 sacks in 2017.
Bearing in mind that depth, or the lack thereof, it’s quite possible, if not likely that Coburn becomes one of the Texas’ first 2018 signees to see the field next season.