Texas head coach Tom Herman celebrates after Tulsa missed another field goal during an NCAA college football game in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Football

Commitment 101: Texas adds potential at safety in four-star Tyler Owens

Posted September 24th, 2018

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Texas’ 2019 recruiting class grew to 17 members with the addition of three-star safety Tyler Owens. The Plano East product became the second safety in the class and the fourth member of the secondary, joining four-star safety Chris Adimora and cornerbacks Kenyatta Watson II and Marques Caldwell. Owens is the No. 52-rated safety in the class.

Plano East safety Tyler Owens is one of the top safety targets in the 2019 class for Texas. (Mike Roach/247Sports)

The 6-foot-2, 202-pound prospect held 15 total offers and flew under-the-radar until a strong performance at The Stars at Night Camp over the summer in Austin earned him an offer from the Texas staff. Owens was in attendance when Texas knocked off USC in front of a historic crowd and left knowing he was a future Longhorn.

Skill set: Owens is a long, fast safety with range. He also packs a punch in run support and as an enforcer in the secondary. It’s his pure athleticism combined with his frame that made the Texas defensive coaches intrigued after watching Owens at camp. He’s raw as a player, but possesses the right skill set to play in Texas’ defense if his talent is harnessed and allowed time to develop.

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He carries his 200-pound frame with ease and has the length to add even more muscle to his frame. Owens can play either deep safety positions, which is what assistant coach Craig Naivar craves in safety prospects. Owens is a sure tackler in space and a solid cover safety. He’ll only improve in space as he gains more experience and continues to work on his footwork and awareness.

Immediate impact: Owens, at least on paper, isn’t a player ready to contribute as a true freshman. He’s not as far along in his development as Caden Sterns or BJ Foster were as seniors. The good news for Texas is that players like Sterns and Foster mean Owens won’t need to arrive on campus ready to compete for starting snaps. Owens can be stashed away as he learns the finer details of the safety position behind future NFL talent.

Fitting into the program: Texas wants a bigger recruiting footprint in the DFW area and Owens is a nice piece in the 2019 class. He’s not a player who will headline the class or get many mentions as a potential early contributor, but his long-term ceiling is high because of his pure speed and size. It’s up to Naivar and the Texas coaches to develop him into an eventual starter in the Big 12. The easiest way for Owens to carve out an early role is to star on special teams.

Recruiting at the position: Texas wants at least one more member in the secondary before closing shop in the 2019 cycle. The Longhorns hold commitments from a pair of cornerbacks and safeties. The task is now to sign a nickel cornerback, which is a vital position in Texas’ preferred scheme.

The top target and most probable candidate to join the class is four-star Jalen Catalon of Mansfield Legacy. The two-sport star suffered a season-long injury in the first game of the season and can spend more time concentrating on recruiting, which could speed up his original plan of waiting until December to pick a school.

2019 Texas Longhorns recruiting class

PlayerPos. SchoolStarsCommitment date
Roschon Johnson QBPort Neches-Groves4July 21 (2017)
T'Vondre Sweat DEHuntsville3Feb. 28
Jordan Whittington WRCuero4March 10
De'Gabriel Floyd OLBWestlake Village (Calif.)4March 31
Kenyatta Watson IIDBGrayson (Ga.)4May 1
Brayden Liebrock TEChandler (Ariz.)3May 8
Tyler JohnsonOLConroe Oak Ridge5May 25
Jared WileyTETemple3May 26
Jake SmithWRNotre Dame Preparatory (Ariz.)4June 3
Peter MpagiDEGeorge Ranch3June 16
Chris AdimoraSMayfair (Calif.)4July 1
Marques CaldwellCBAlvin3July 7
Demariyon Houston WRMillwood (Okla.)4July 7
Marcus Tillman Jr.OLBJones (Fla.)3July 28
Javonne ShepherdOTNorth Forest4July 29
Derrian BrownRBBuford (Ga.)4Sept. 16
Tyler OwensSPlano East4Sept. 24
David GbendaILBKaty Cinco Ranch4Sept. 30

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