Texas defensive back DeShon Elliott (4) waves his finger after breaking up a pass during an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech in Austin, Texas, on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Football

Source: DeShon Elliott’s Twitter rant was sparked by Texas coaches’ reaction to a July 4 party

Players were warned not to associate with the former Texas safety after a party in Austin, source said

Posted July 18th, 2018

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Story highlights
  • The Thorpe Award finalist blasted the UT coaching staff, then deleted the tweets.
  • “Kept my mouth (quiet) about this. ... It’s been a continuous thing for far too long.”
  • Texas coach Tom Herman has never publicly disparaged any junior who left school early.

Based on a series of now-deleted tweets, former Texas safety DeShon Elliott believes the current UT coaching staff is “bad mouthing” him behind closed doors. The genesis of Elliott’s rancor stems from a party on July 4.

Elliott held an Independence Day pool party in Austin, and multiple current Longhorns players attended. Some members of the coaching staff later found out about the party and warned players not to associate with Elliott, a source familiar with Elliott’s thinking told the American-Statesman.

In a series of tweets beginning at 10:40 a.m. Wednesday, Elliott’s feelings exploded into full public view.

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“I’d really appreciate it if anyone on the current staff at the University of Texas Football team besides (safeties coach) Craig Naivar, (cornerbacks coach) Jason Washington or (quality control coach) Kyle Coats would keep my name out of there mouth and continue to bad talk me or any other junior that decided to leave early,” Elliott tweeted.

“We lead your team the best we could before making a decision to better our families. Which I believe you would do the same,” he added.

Texas defensive back DeShon Elliott (4) scores after intercepting USC quarterback Sam Darnold (14) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 16, 2017. Experts expect Elliott and Darnold to both be taken in next week’s NFL Draft. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Thorpe Award finalist had six interceptions last season for the Longhorns and then left school after his junior year.

Former All-American left tackle Connor Williams also left early as a junior. He became a second-round pick with the Dallas Cowboys. On Elliott’s thread, Williams tweeted, “I hear you brother.”

Elliott, a sixth-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens, did not respond to multiple messages left by the Statesman. His agent, Jeff Nalley, did not respond for comment. 

UT coach Tom Herman was unavailable to comment Wednesday afternoon, according to a team spokesman. Herman has never publicly disparaged any of the juniors who left school early.

“If you really ‘loved’ your players the way you portray then you wouldn’t continually talk bad about them behind closed doors,” Elliott continued on Twitter. “Bad mouthing us to our brothers who we played for and cried and sweat for way before you stepped on campus.

“Kept my mouth (quiet) about this, it’s the complete opposite of my personality but it has to come to an end. It’s been a continuous thing for far too long. – Da Joker.”

The tweets were deleted by mid-afternoon, and Elliott replaced the rant with another tweet — “Why So Serious.”

Elliott was one of eight starters who did not participate in the Texas Bowl win over Missouri. Elliott, who was healthy and eligible to play, skipped the game to protect his draft status. The Longhorns won 33-16 and finished the year with a 7-6 record.

Every UT player who left school early last season was advised to return to school by the NFL draft advisory committee. However, all had been signed by former coach Charlie Strong, and none felt a sense of urgency to stay and play for Herman, the source said. Recruiting wasn’t affected; the Horns’ 2018 class was ranked third nationally.

Elliot had already signed with an agent by early December and was looking ahead during the college football awards season. “I’m ready to go pursue my dreams,” Elliott told the Statesman at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. “Completely honest, I feel like I can go to the next level and be successful.”

After Elliott was drafted, Herman praised the safety in a UT press release.

“DeShon is a playmaker who did great things for us last year,” Herman said on draft day. ”He’s a big, physical and athletic safety who has a nose for the ball and he’s a guy who will come up and hit you. The Ravens got an impact player in the secondary who has bright future ahead of him.”

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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