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Texas Spring Football Depth Chart: Risky Names At Safety Spot?

Texas will be replacing both safeties after a rocky first season in the Steve Sarkisian era

If anything, Texas must thrive at the last line defense if they hope to rebound in 2022. There's no other way to put it entering a pivotal year for Steve Sarkisian and his staff. 

The safety position was one of the weaker roles for Texas during its 5-7 season. Both Brenden Schooler and B.J. Foster had their moments of greatness in coverage and against the run. Both also made their fair share of mistakes in the second half of games. 

Both positions will be up for grabs this offseason at Foster elected to enter the transfer portal while Schooler graduated and will be off to test his luck at the NFL. Is there a young name ready to start Day 1? Will a veteran be the better fit long-term? 

Stick with LonghornsCountry.com as we break down the Longhorns spring football depth chart outlook and make sure to check out the other positions we've covered.

Quarterback

Running Back

Wide Receiver

Tight End

Offensive Tackle

Interior Offensive Line 

Defensive End

Interior Defensive Line 

Free Safety No.1 - Jerrin Thompson 

Not to be confused with Josh Thompson, Jerrin Thompson is returning for another season on the Forty Acres. Serving as the third safety in dime formations, Thompson recorded 41 tackles, three pass deflections and a fumble recovery in 12 games. 

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Thompson has played better in range rather than at the line of scrimmage. Last season, he made one of the biggest plays on a fourth down with a pass breakup against Kansas that would have sealed the game. In a more expanded role, he'll be asked to make plays like that on the regular. 

Free Safety No. 2 - JD Coffey  

Coffey could very well win the job outright with a strong spring. A native of Kennedale, Texas, Coffey only played in three games and primarily saw action on special teams, making three tackles in the loss to West Virginia. 

Coming out of high school, Coffey was revered for his awareness in coverage and rangy downfield. Considered to be best used in a Cover 1 role as a centerfielder-type, Coffey likely starts the year off in Thompson's former spot before perhaps surpassing him at the midseason mark. 

Boundry Safety No. 1 - Anthony Cook 

Cook started last season as the team's nickel defender and thrived. Perhaps Sarkisian elects to keep him close to the line of scrimmage. Perhaps they elect to play him with more range. 

Cook recorded 47 tackles and finished with three pass breakups. He was best used against the run, recording three tackles for losses and also recording a sack. His speed is adequate enough to play in coverage, but Texas needs to make sure his priority is still defending the run. 

Boundry Safety No. 2 - Ryan Watts

Why Watts? Simply put, Texas added the Ohio State transfer this offseason with the intent of getting him on the field. Should that mean he plays the "STAR" position, so be it. Should he play the strong safety spot, that also could work. 

In two seasons with the Buckeyes, Watts appeared in 19 games for Ohio State and was tied for the team lead with two interceptions in 2021. Watts left Columbus due to lack of playing time instead of potential, meaning he could end up being the best defensive back on the roster. 

With Foster, Schooler, and Chris Adimora all gone, the opportunity to start is right in Watts' reach with a strong showing in camp. 


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