The top safety prospect in the state is now officially headed for the Forty Acres, as Kennedale product JD Coffey has signed his National Letter of Intent with the Texas Longhorns on Wednesday.
Just the latest in the lineage of highly-ranked safety prospects to sign with Texas in recent years, Coffey is regarded as the top safety in the Lone Star State and ranks No. 7 nationally at the position, per the 247Sports Composite. Unsurprisingly, Coffey had a substantial list of potential suitors, with Auburn, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, and Washington among his 32 offers.
In hopes of concluding the recruiting process prior to his senior season, Coffey took a few trips in March, touring Baylor and heading to the Northwest to visit Washington and Oregon, but Coffey’s recruitment was yet another recruitment that was largely without drama leading up to his June 15 pledge to the heavy favorite, Texas.
As far as what Texas is getting in Coffey, he has a habit of always being in the right place at the right time and in the game of football that is a good thing more times than none. Coffey possesses solid measurables at solid athleticism for the position, but what stands out to me most on tape is his ability to put himself in position to make plays, his ball skills and his physicality.
Time and time again Coffey shows the knack for victimizing opposing quarterbacks in the passing game by making plays on tips, overthrows, and underthrows. Coffey is consistently able to read the eyes of the quarterback, anticipate, and get himself into position to make plays on the football. More times than not, he’s then able to come away with it.
Coffey’s ball production over the past four seasons is outstanding with 19 interceptions and 25 pass breakups, and even at times when he’s in a trail position on receivers, he shows he has enough recovery speed to get back into the play. Coffey looks very comfortable patrolling the deep middle of the field as a ball hawk, but he also shows he can be an enforcer when coming downhill.
Coffey shows on tape that he is very physical as a tackler, as he often arrives to ball carriers with purpose and a bad attitude. Whether it’s against a receiver going over the middle or filling the alley on an outside run, Coffey consistently closes on his target in a hurry and more times than not, he stops them in their tracks or knocks them back off their feet.
All told, Coffey finished his tremendously productive high school career with 313 tackles and 28 tackles for loss.
On top of being a very a productive defender, Coffey also shows on tape that he could potentially add value on special teams, as he is utilized as a returner. While I have questions on whether Coffey’s athleticism would play up in that role at the collegiate level, it at least shows that he could be a viable option and that he could potentially be a threat. Coffey found the end zone several times as a returner and also pitched in on offense at times, which in my opinion shows me that he is a team player and is willing to shoulder a bigger load to help the team.
That said, it may be some time before Coffey sees the field in an impactful role.
Texas loses each of its 2020 starters at safety, Caden Sterns and Chris Brown, to the NFL Draft, but B.J. Foster is an early frontrunner to replace Brown entering his senior season, with Tyler Owens as his likely backup. Meanwhile, Montrell Estell will finally be in a position to push for a starting role as a senior, though he’ll be tasked with fending off Jerrin Thompson, a true freshman who flashed his ball-hawking ability during his lone start against Kansas State.
Regardless of where Coffey ultimately falls in the rotation, though, he’ll enjoy an early start on his development, as he’s among the Longhorns set to enroll early this cycle.