The Dotted Line: Texas' defensive tackle room should be a strength
Texas hasn’t played defense at a level required to win important games, but that’s not because of the defensive line. Former assistant coach Oscar Giles always produced talent in the UT trenches. Bo Davis was hired to continue the tradition of winning the line of scrimmage. The defensive tackle position should be the strength of the defense in 2021.
Keondre Coburn, sophomore
FYI: Four-stars, from Spring Westfield; ranked 123rd nationally, No. 11-ranked defensive tackle in 2018
Coburn was an Under Armour All-American after a strong prep career at the same high school that produced Ed Oliver, the five-star defensive tackle who starred for Tom Herman at Houston. Coburn gave the Longhorns with a four-star nose tackle who could control the line of scrimmage in the mold of Poona Ford. He was a three-time all-district selection and the ninth-ranked player on the 2018 Fabulous 55.
After taking a redshirt in 2018, Coburn began his sophomore year as a starter. He played in all 13 games, starting 12. He ended the 2019 season with 26 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. He started all 10 of Texas’ games in 2020, anchoring the trenches with 25 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
Alfred Collins, freshman
FYI: Four-stars, from Bastrop Cedar Creek; ranked 63rd nationally, No. 2 strong-side defensive end in 2020
The 2020 class was headlined by a pair of stars. Longhorns fans were given a taste of the talents of running back Bijan Robinson and Collins, a local product who didn’t adopt football as his first sport until high school. He was a three-time all-district selection who participated in the 2020 All-American Bowl in San Antonio. He collected 253 tackles at Cedar Creek, including 74 tackles for loss and 18 sacks.
He emerged as a future star late in the season. He played in all 10 games, earning one start and finishing the year with 18 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Collins recorded a highlight-reel interception in the Alamo Bowl.
T’Vondre Sweat, sophomore
FYI: Three-stars, from Huntsville, ranked 608th nationally, No. 45 defensive tackle in 2019
Sweat went overlooked on recruiting circuits. He remained a three-star despite earning all-state and district MVP honors as a senior. He immediately found himself in the rotation at defensive tackle as a freshman in 2019, playing all 13 games. He finished the year with nine tackles and a sack. Injuries slowed him down as a sophomore in 2020, but he participated in 10 games.
Other defensive tackles expected on campus in 2021: Vernon Broughton, Sawyer Goram-Welch, Byron Murphy (2021)
Kristopher Ross, defensive tackle, Galena Park North Shore
FYI: 6-3, 263; not ranked nationally
Ross emerged as a target for programs around the country following a strong junior season that ended with first-team all-district honors on one of the most talented teams in the state. Texas hasn’t experienced much success recruiting North Shore over the past few years, but that should change with Jeff Banks and Davis on staff. Ross is trending toward Texas on recruiting sites. He’s yet to be ranked on recruiting sites, but he’s received offers from Texas, USC and LSU since Feb. 4.
Jaray Bledsoe, defensive tackle, Bremond
FYI: 6-4, 260; not ranked nationally
Bledsoe plays at Class 2A Bremond, which kept him off recruiting radars as a junior because college coaches couldn’t go watch him play in person. Offers are starting to roll in for the big, athletic tackle who can play the three-technique or grow into a nose tackle. National programs are starting to take notice with Bledsoe receiving offers from Florida, LSU, Alabama and Georgia in January. Penn State offered at the beginning of January.
Other defensive tackles with offers: Bear Alexander, Shone Washington, Anthony Lucas