WHAT’S JONES STEPPING INTO?
Opportunity. And that’s even considering the fact that Texas returns both of its starting safeties from last season in Jason Hall and Dylan Haines. If Jones is as good as advertised, it’s not inconceivable to see him playing an important part of the defensive game plan early. Remember, Charlie Strong opted to start four true freshmen and a redshirt freshman in the 2015 season opener.
RECENT HISTORY: SAFETIES
Texas’ top safeties
The Longhorns’ top-performing safeties and freshmen safeties over the past three years:
2015: Dylan Haines, 47 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack, 5 INTs; freshman — DeShon Elliott, 13 tackles, 2 INTs, 3 passes defended
2014: Haines, 86 tackles, 4 INTs, 7 pass breakups; freshman — Jason Hall, 49 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 INTs, 10 pass breakups, 13 passes defended
2013: Adrian Phillips, 82 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 INTs; freshman — Adrian Colbert (redshirt), 6 tackles.
Freshmen on the field
The Longhorns played 16 freshmen in 2015, which led the nation. That included safeties P.J. Locke III and DeShon Elliott. And Locke started one game last season.
RECENT SIGNINGS: SAFETIES
The last 11 safeties Texas has signed. Five of the last eight, going back to 2013, have been 3-star prospects. Numbers in parenthesis reflect that player’s star rating from 247Sports’ composite ratings:
2016: Brandon Jones, Nacogdoches (4). Considered Texas’ top get of 2016. Should see the field early this fall.
2016: Chris Brown, Alief Elsik (3). Didn’t get a lot of recruiting hype, but Texas liked him. Can play corner or safety.
2015: DeShon Elliott, Rockwall-Heath (4). Got into half of UT’s games his first season, and his two picks tied for second-most on the team.
2015: P.J. Locke III, Beaumont Central (3). Played in all 12 games, started one, and finished his freshman season with 14 tackles, 1 TFL and a forced fumble.
2014: John Bonney, Houston Lamar (4). 29 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack last fall.
2014: Jason Hall, South Grand Prairie (3). Has settled into a starting spot. Started eight of the 12 games last fall, finished with 51 tackles, 2 INTs, four passes defended.
2013: Chevoski Collins, Livingston (3). Never saw the field as a Longhorn. Reshirted in 2013, then was kicked off the team by Charlie Strong as part of the Great Roster Purge of 2014.
2013: Erik Huhn, Cibolo Steele (3). Injury problems derailed his UT career. No longer on the roster.
2012: Adrian Colbert, Mineral Wells (4). Played in 38 career games, on track to graduate this May and will finish his career this fall as a Miami Hurricane.
2011: Sheroid Evans, Fort Bend Dulles (4). Missed the 2014 and 2015 seasons with injuries, but is expected back for 2016 as a sixth-year senior. Playing corner these days, not safety.
2011: Mykkele Thompson, San Antonio Stevens (4). Logged time as a corner and safety at Texas. Was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 draft by the Giants, then missed his rookie season after tearing his Achilles in New York’s preseason opener.
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