The NFL is transforming into a pass-happy league, meaning the value of cornerback is growing. It's already reached a new limit in the Big 12 for 2021.
Last season, seven teams averaged over 200 passing yards per game. Throws ranged from 6.9 yards to 8.2 and half the league had 20-plus touchdowns in a COVID-19 season.
Four teams also recorded double-digit interceptions. Can Texas do so once more?
The Longhorns secondary will be losing Caden Sterns to the NFL, but nothing else under new defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski. In a conference that sees teams surpass 400 yards through the air on any given Saturday.
That means cornerbacks are essential to any defensive formation moving forward.
In our new series on Longhorn Country, we will be breaking down the top 10 names to watch for during the 2021 season. Some will be role-players, others will be full-fledged starters. Either way, each will be a benefactor to the success found in DKR.
Check out our other profiles already shown entering the summer months:
No. 5 - CB D'Shawn Jamison
Having a No. 1 cornerback is a blessing in today's game. For the Longhorns, Jamison might fit the bill entering a crucial season in his overall development.
Nicknamed out of Lamar High School "The Shark," Jamison has lived up to the name thus far in his career. Like the swimming predators of the sea, the senior baits his prey in smooth off-coverage before closing the gap for the pounce.
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Also like Sharks, Jamison is patient, waiting his time instead of giving up on the end goal. As a member of the herald "DBU" class of 2018, the Houston native remains one of two players still on the squad at their initial position (DeMarvion Overshown moved to linebacker in 2019.)
Two players transferred while Sterns heads to the NFL. Jamison could be next if he can build off the past two seasons in 2021. Since earning first-team reps on the perimeter, He's started 18 of 23 games and recorded 66 tackles, four tackles for loss, nine pass breakups, and three interceptions.
“We have D'Shawn Jamison at corner just, you know, bringing the heat and locking down stuff,” Texas sophomore running back Bijan Robinson said. “And he, I feel, is one of the best corners in college football because of how he works and how he brings it every day.”
Defensively, Jamison adds a blanket of protection against a potential No. 1 target. That's not his only role with the Longhorns in 2021. Thanks to his speed, Tom Herman elected to use Jamison on special teams as a return man.
So far, he hasn't disappointed. Since 2019, Jamison has recorded 944 return yards on kickoffs and punts. He also took a pair of kickoffs back the other way for touchdowns.
Oh, and the speed mentioned before? Take a look at the Orange-White game last April.
As the first half came to a close, Jamison jumped a route intended for Jordan Whittington in a zone look. Straight down the line and 92 yards later, Jamison would have his "first" touchdown on the season.
Now it's time to see it against an opposing team.
“Secondary-wise, it was a little bit of a watered-down version of our defense right, so not maybe as much variety as you'll see in the fall, but I thought our guys were competitive on the ball,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said.
The more teams turn to the aerial attack, the more cornerbacks are needed. Jamison has fended off two defensive coordinators already and attributes his success to skills they helped him enhance.
With another DC in the mix, who's to say the ball-hawking cornerback won't be pouncing on his prey even faster come December?
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Do you think Jamison will be successful in 2021? Comment and join in on the discussion below!
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