We’re breaking down who we think will be Texas’ starting lineup, a combined effort from Mike Craven, Brian Davis and Danny Davis. We’re doing two a day, one offensive and one defensive player.
Junior safety, 6-2/210
High school: Rockwall-Heath
Signing class: 2015
Career games: 19
Career starts: 1
Career numbers: 43 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 5 pass breakups, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
1. The Hit heard ’round Royal-Memorial Stadium — on Notre Dame receiver Torri Hunter Jr., separating receiver from football in the end zone in the second half of last year’s season-opening win.
2. A week after that touchdown-saving hit, Elliott came up big again in a win over UTEP when he sacked Miners quarterback Kavika Johnson for a 17-yard loss; UTEP eventually had to punt and Texas scored a touchdown for a 20-7 lead just before halftime.
3. He’s got three career interceptions, but two of them came on the same day — at Kansas in 2015.
WHO HE WAS — BEFORE TEXAS
Elliott, who was a four-star safety out of Rockwall-Heath, was one of Charlie Strong’s top defensive signees from the 2015 class, Strong’s first start-to-finish class at Texas. He was the third-rated UT defensive signee that year behind linebackers Malik Jefferson and Anthony Wheeler. Elliott held 13 offers and chose the Longhorns over Texas A&M and TCU.
He emerged as a full-time starter in high school his junior year. He finished that 2013 season with 70 tackles, three interceptions and four sacks. As a senior he had 86 tackles, three interceptions and broke up five passes. He returned one of those picks for a touchdown and was a two-time all-district selection.
Elliott ranked No. 18 on our 2015 Fabulous 55 and was the No. 10-ranked safety in the class and the No. 182-ranked overall prospect in the nation per 247Sports’ composite ratings. Known as a hard-hitting enforcer, he was chosen to participate in the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game.
WHO ELLIOTT HAS BEEN HERE — SO FAR
Elliott made his UT debut against Oklahoma as a freshman in 2015. He ended up playing in seven games that year after missing the first part of the season with an injury. Despite that lack of consistent playing time, he showed his knack for big plays with two interceptions. He finished the year with 13 tackles.
Elliott earned one start in 2016. He stayed healthy and played in all 12 games but inconsistency meant he spent as much time on the bench as on the field. He ended the year with 30 tackles and a sack.
WHO TEXAS NEEDS HIM TO BE THIS SEASON
Texas’ safety spot has gotten a makeover — Dylan Haines and his 33 career starts is no longer here and the Longhorns look ready to bring Jason Hall, a senior with 28 starts, off the bench. That means Elliott will need to play more like a veteran and less like a player with a single start on his résumé. Right now that doesn’t seem to be a problem; Elliott was the defensive MVP in UT’s first scrimmage and made a goal-line stop to win last weekend’s second scrimmage. Earlier this month Tom Herman lauded Elliott’s leadership: “Right now he’s walking the walk in terms of work ethic, (a) very articulate and vocal guy and has a knack for saying the right thing at the right time.”
The Texas 22 — so far:
Offense: TE Andrew Beck
Defense: CB Kris Boyd, S DeShon Elliott
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