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Texas’ Keondre Coburn joins DeMarvion Overshown, D’Shawn Jamison in coming back in 2022

Texas Longhorns defensive lineman Keondre Coburn (99) puts pressure on Baylor Bears quarterback Gerry Bohanon (11) during the game against Baylor at McLane Stadium in Waco on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

For several years, Texas players have disregarded their NFL Draft evaluations and left school early to their own detriment. The tide may be turning.

Junior defensive tackle Keondre Coburn announced Monday he will return for the 2022 season. “I’m bacccck Longhorn Nation,” Coburn tweeted.

Coburn joins linebacker DeMarvion Overshown and cornerback D’Shawn Jamison, two NFL Draft-eligible players, as three defensive returners for next season.

Texas needs all the veterans it can get in turning around a program that finished 5-7 this season.

Recruiting:Four-star linebacker Kobie McKinzie pledges to Texas after a breakup with rival Oklahoma

Coburn had 15 tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack in 12 games. He was credited with one quarterback hurry. Just based on statistics alone, Coburn wasn’t ready for the next level.

Still, the man known as “Snacks” has been a team captain and frequent team spokesman after tough losses. Coburn is widely respected in the locker room, too.

After the West Virginia loss dropped Texas to 4-7, Coburn was asked whether everyone in the locker room was bought into coach Steve Sarkisian’s ways.

“I go in there I hug everybody. I make fun of everybody. Laugh with everybody. It’s a family,” Coburn said. “I’ve been grinding with these dudes ever since I’ve been here, even the new ones. I don’t want to say anything’s divided. But the chemistry and just how everything is operating is probably not the right way it’s supposed to be going. 

“If I’m on the team with you, you’re my brother, no matter what.”

Texas defensive lineman Keondre Coburn (99) holds up the sign of the horns as he  takes the field. Texas took on Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa on Nov. 6, 2021.

It’s common now for draft-eligible players to have their stock rated by the NFL Draft advisory committee. Unless the player is considered a first- or second-round pick, the player is told to stay in school.

Multiple Longhorns ignored that advice and still went into the draft in recent years. The result was a slew of fifth- and sixth-round picks by players who missed out on millions in up-front money in rookie contracts. Others went undrafted all together. Many of them could have stayed another year at UT and bolstered their draft status.

Bohls: Steve Sarkisian is looking to make over a disappointing Texas football roster

Overshown, Jamison and Coburn have all be active in name, image and likeness opportunities, another key reason why they may be staying. Now, players have ways of generating income while playing football and going to school.

A group of Texas exes, business leaders and donors recently announced a $10-million NIL commitment called the Clark Field Collective. The group’s goal is to have the largest pool of NIL money to athletes in the nation.

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.