WHAT’S WILBON STEPPING INTO?
It’s a good year to be a freshman defensive tackle, even if Texas did sign five of them — defensive coordinator Vance Bedford has already said that if you’re a 300-pound defensive lineman, you should expect to see the field this fall. Wilbon (6-2/327), Euless Trinity’s Chris Daniels (6-4/328) and Houston Westside’s Jordan Elliott (6-3/322) all fall under that umbrella. Hassan Ridgeway and Desmond Jackson have moved on, which leaves Poona Ford as Texas’ best option. But the Horns like to rotate their DTs, which means they need depth. Enter Wilbon and the other freshmen.
RECENT HISTORY: DEFENSIVE TACKLES
Texas’ top DTs
The Longhorns’ top-performing defensive tackles and freshmen DTs over the past three years:
2015: Poona Ford, 39 tackles, 6 TFL, 2.5 sacks; freshman — None
2014: Malcom Brown, 72 tackles, 15 TFL, 6.5 sacks; freshman — Poona Ford, 9 tackles, 1 TFL
2013: Malcom Brown, 68 tackles, 12 TFL, 2 sacks; freshman — Paul Boyette, 2 tackles, 1 TFL
Freshmen on the field
The Longhorns played 16 freshmen in 2015, which led the nation. None of those were defensive tackles, however — the only tackle Texas signed in 2015 never actually made it onto campus (hello, Du’Vonta Lampkin).
RECENT SIGNINGS: DEFENSIVE TACKLES
The last 12 defensive tackles Texas has signed. The Longhorns didn’t sign any in 2013, and essentially none in 2015. Numbers in parenthesis reflect that player’s star rating from 247Sports’ composite ratings:
2016: Jordan Elliott, Houston Westside (4). The former Michigan, er, Houston, er, Baylor commitment was considered the fourth-highest rated recruit signed by UT this year.
2016: Chris Daniels, Euless Trinity (4). A strong senior season made Texas pursue the Oklahoma commitment hard. He committed on signing day.
2016: D’Andre Christmas-Giles, New Orleans St. Augustine (4). Committed the night before signing day. Has a chance to play as a freshman.
2016: Gerald Wilbon, Destrehan, La. (3). A run-stuffer who could see the field as a freshman; Texas struggled against the run in 2015.
2016: Marcell Southall, Duncanville (3). He’s the smallest DT of the four signed by Texas (6-2, 287). Chose Texas over Oklahoma and Miami.
2015: Du’Vonta Lampkin, Houston Cypress Falls (3). Never got here. Next time you see him, he’ll be in an Oklahoma Sooners uniform.
2014: Poona Ford, Hilton Head (S.C.) Island (4). Followed Charlie Strong from Louisville, where he was previously committed. Played nine games as a freshman and started five as a sophomore, finishing fifth on the team in tackles along with 2.5 sacks.
2014: Chris Nelson, Lakeland (Fla.) Victory Christian (3). Redshirted his first year. Played in eight games last fall, with seven tackles and one sack.
2012: Malcom Brown, Brenham (5). The gold standard among recent Texas DTs. After a solid career at UT, he was a late first-round draft pick of the New England Patriots in 2015.
2012: Paul Boyette, Humble (4). Hasn’t broken out as a Longhorn, but has played in 30 games over the past three years, including six starts in 2015. Had three sacks and a fumble recovery last fall.
2012: Alex Norman, Dallas Bishop Dunne (4). The third commitment of the 2012 class, Norman has had minimal impact at Texas — eight career games played.
2012: Brandon Moore, East Mississippi C.C. (3). Had a very brief stint as a Longhorn — 18 tackles, 8 TFL, 2 sacks, 6 hurries — but was carted out of the Cotton Bowl in the 2012 Texas-OU game and then entered the 2013 NFL Draft. Didn’t get drafted, and never stuck with an NFL team.
For our full profile on Gerald Wilbon as part of our Longhorns Class of 2016 series, click here.
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