Four-star safety JD Coffey became Texas’ second commitment from the 2021 class to begin his senior season when he and his Kennedale High School teammates hosted Sunnyvale on Friday for their season opener. Coffey recorded 12 tackles and an interception in the 28-27 victory.
“We didn’t know when we’d get to start the season, or if we’d even get to start the season, so it was great to be back out there with my teammates playing a real game,” Coffey said after the win. “This offseason was crazy for everyone. I focused on what I could control so that I’d be ready when we were given the green light.”
Coffey, who picked Texas on June 15, is the fourth highest-rated Longhorns pledge. He’s the No. 32-ranked player on the Fabulous 55. He was a priority target for the previous defensive staff at Texas, and he emerged as the top safety target for new defensive coordinator Chris Ash.
For Coffey, Texas was home.
🐐 x🐐 (@ishCo2021 )
— JD Coffey III (@JD_Coffey1) June 15, 2020
“I always felt comfortable at Texas when I’d visit. I love the coaching staff,” he said. “I love the city of Austin. It’s a great place to live, and the university will set me up for life even if football doesn’t work out. I’m excited to get started.”
Coffey listed his ball skills, tackling and football IQ as his main strengths. He wants to keep improving his straight-line speed. His head coach sees his star as the prototypical free safety.
“He’s a middle-of-the-field guy,” Kennedale coach Richard Barrett said. “He can organize a defense from the back end because he’s such a student of the game. He legitimately loves football. He’s got great instincts and can play center field and read the quarterback’s eyes.”
Coffey emerged on the varsity scene as a freshman when he recorded 88 tackles and six interceptions, earning Associated Press all-state honors at the Class 4A level. He was a first-team all-district performer as a sophomore and the District 6-4A Division I MVP as a junior. He has intercepted 14 passes and has 198 tackles in his first three years.
“His athleticism and ball skills as a freshman was noticeable. He had such a nose for the football for a young guy,” Barrett said. “We knew he’d be special. He’s a great student and a leader, and he’s so cerebral in his approach. Combine all of that with his passion for the game and it is easy to see why he is so special.”
That level-headedness helped Coffey during the recruiting process.
“JD was great as a recruit,” Barrett said. “He could’ve gotten big-headed or arrogant, but he never did. He’s the opposite of that. He’s a team guy. He kept everything in perspective.”
Coffey and three-star running back Jonathon Brooks are the only two UT pledges that have started their season. Class 6A and 5A schools begin their season in two weeks. Texas’ 2021 class consists of 17 members and ranks 15th in the nation and second in the Big 12, trailing Oklahoma.
This offseason wasn’t only defined by the pandemic. The continued social protest efforts by Texas players, and the sentiments echoed by head coach Tom Herman, impressed Coffey. He said he thinks the messages of equality preached by Herman and his team will only help the Longhorns connect to recruits.
“Having a head coach talk about these issues and relate to his players speaks volumes. I know it was important to my mother, and one of the reasons she’s so happy I chose Texas,” Coffey said. “We’re not just football players. We’re humans. We’re someone’s son. We deserve equality like anyone else. I’m so happy that my future head coach cares about us beyond the football field.”