UT's Kris Boyd, left, and Holton Hill celebrate after beating Baylor at McLane Stadium in Waco on Saturday December 5, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

BEVO BEAT Football

Longhorns in 2016: Linebackers, secondary

Posted July 29th, 2016

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Leading up to the start of August training camp, the Statesman will examine each position on the Texas roster. 

LINEBACKERS

Sure, there’s Malik Jefferson. He’s the face of the program and the Big 12’s preseason defensive player of the year. “Malik, he’s earned it,” Strong said at Big 12 media days. Jefferson can’t play all three positions, though.

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The linebacking corps is far thinner than anyone really understands. Anthony Wheeler played in 12 games last season and started two. Edwin Freeman is going into this junior year with 12 career tackles on his resume. Tim Cole has 39 tackles going into his senior season.

Again, this puts more pressure on the defensive line to produce. The men in the trenches must keep blockers off Jefferson and others. Demarco Boyd redshirted last season. There are extremely high hopes that freshman Jeffrey McCulloch can be an instant producer.

SECONDARY

Texas rolled with freshmen last season, and things turned out OK. The Horns had the league’s third-best pass defense last season. There’s a lot to like with corners like Davante Davis, Holton Hill and Kris Boyd.

No other player on the roster catches more grief than safety Dylan Haines, who has managed to catch nine interceptions the last two seasons. Nobody’s pushed him off the field yet. Jason Hall has consistency issues but started all last season and had 51 tackles and two interceptions.

Antwuan Davis has shown potential. John Bonney is versatile, and there’s something intriguing about P.J. Locke III. Freshman Brandon Jones was considered by some the best safety prospect in Texas last season.

This group wants to keep using Texas’ famous “DBU” moniker. Well, let’s see it on the field.

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