Listen to Austin 360 Radio

The Dotted Line: Improving at cornerback holds key for Texas defense

Texas returns its starting cornerbacks from 2020, but the rest of the position group lacks real experience at the college level. For the Longhorns to return as DBU, the cornerback position must improve in the Steve Sarkisian era. One of Texas’ five commitments in the 2022 cycle is a cornerback.

On campus

D'Shawn Jamison, junior

FYI: Four-stars, from Houston Lamar; ranked 115th nationally, No. 15-ranked cornerback in 2018

Jamison arrived as an overlooked defensive back in a 2018 class that was headlined by five-star safeties B.J. Foster and Caden Sterns. Jamison wasn’t even the highest-rated cornerback from Houston Lamar to sign with Texas in the 2018 cycle. That distinction belonged to Anthony Cook. But Jamison has outperformed every other defensive back Texas signed from that class.

He began his career as a wide receiver and returner, starting one games in 2018. Jamison transitioned back to defense as a sophomore, starting nine games and recording 35 tackles, three pass breakups and three interceptions. He raised his profile as a returner in 2020, earning honorable mention all-conference honors as a junior. He started nine games at cornerback as well. 

Josh Thompson, junior

FYI: Four-stars, from Nacogdoches; ranked 302nd nationally, No. 35 cornerback in 2017

The 2017 class was written off thanks to ranking 25th in the nation in the same offseason that Texas replaced Charlie Strong with Tom Herman. Thompson was expected to lose any hope at a starting spot when the Longhorns signed Jamison, Cook and Jalen Green in 2019. Thompson never waivered, eventually earning a starting spot over Cook and Green. He started in each of Texas’ 10 games in 2020, registering 28 tackles and an interception. 

Anthony Cook, junior

FYI: Four-stars, from Houston Lamar; ranked 64th nationally, No. 10 cornerback in 2018

Cook was a recruiting win for Herman over Ohio State, but the Houston Lamar standout hasn’t carved a real role after three seasons. He managed one start as a freshman and six his sophomore year. He spent his junior season as a backup at the Spur spot to Chris Adimora, contributing mostly on special team, tallying 18 tackles. 

Other cornerbacks expected on campus in 2021: Kitan Crawford, Jahdae Barron, Marques Caldwell, Ishmael Ibraheem (2021), Jamier Johnson (2021)

2022 targets

Denver Harris, Galena Park North Shore

FYI: 6-1, 180; five stars; No. 3-ranked cornerback 

Offers: 39

Harris is the state's best overall prospect not named Quinn Ewers. The five-star cornerback has proven himself at North Shore, a program familiar with producing high-level talent. He was a first-team all-district selection as a junior for a team that won the Class 6A Division I state championship for the second consecutive year. As a junior, Harris was a first-team MaxPreps junior All-American. He’s a big, physical corner with the speed to stay with elite wide receivers. Players with his potential are rare and he’s the top 2022 priority for Texas' defensive staff. 

Jaylon Guilbeau, Port Arthur Memorial

FYI: 5-11, 175; four stars; No. 14-ranked cornerback

Offers: Committed to Texas

Guilbeau committed in 2020, making him the longest standing pledge in Texas’ 2022 class. He’s remained solidly committed despite a coaching change. He's a two-time first-team all-district selection and a track star specializing in the 400 meters. His teammate, defensive end Jordon Thomas, signed with Texas in 2021. The duo helped Port Arthur Memorial claim a district championship in 2020. 

Austin Jordan, Denton Ryan

FYI: 5-11, 185; four stars; No. 19-ranked cornerback

Offers: 19

Texas dipped into Denton Ryan in 2021 to sign five-star athlete Ja’Tavion Sanders. The new staff hopes to return to the fertile program in 2022 for Jordan, an elite cornerback prospect with the requisite skills to become an all-conference performer at the next level. He started on a defense that led Ryan to a Class 5A Division I state championship last season. He was the District 4-5A Division I defensive newcomer of the year as a sophomore and an all-district selection as a junior. Texas is battling it out for his signature with Ohio State and Oklahoma. 

Other in-state cornerbacks with offers: Bobby Taylor, Terrance Brooks