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The other half of your fall camp preview is here and I break down the defensive side of the ball with Texas as they open fall camp. It’s hard to expect the product Todd Orlando puts out there in 2017 to be worse than the one Texas fans saw for the majority of last year.
JUCO DT Jamari Chisholm has arrived at Texas based on what I’ve been told. He should be good to go soon and should add some more depth to the front 4.
The big 3 on the DL heading into fall camp are clearly Malcolm Roach, Poona Ford, and Chris Nelson. Roach and Ford specifally are guys I’m expecting to have really big years. And the amount of ways Todd Orlando can move Roach around is going to be fun to watch. The biggest question here is quality depth, and that’s there the loss of Jordan Elliott hurts. RS freshman Chris Daniels lost 35 pounds since the Spring (The Tom Herman mind games work again), Gerald Wilbon is another guy I’m going to watch. And will D’Andre Christmas with his quick first step emerge? Then you add in freshman Taquon Graham and Max Cummins. The X-Factor in my opinion is going to be Junior DE Charles Omenihu. He’s legit 6’6 275-280 now and has the physical tools to be a force to be recon with.
The position group with the most potential star-power is in the LB room. Juniors Malik Jefferson and Anthony Wheeler who have played a ton over the first two years. I have a feeling the talk of camp with the Malik Jefferson vs Gary Johnson. Two freakish athletes at LB, and in a perfect world Johnson fills in ILB spot and allows Jefferson to play outside. Sophomore Jeffrey McCulloch is another freak athlete that I think will see the field a lot. Naashon Hughes has impressed yet another coaching staff with his frame and blend of size and speed. Though he’s faded when gameday rolls around. If Hughes doesn’t have a good fall camp or start the season well, McCulloch will take his spot. I also decided to put Breckyn Hager in the LB group, even though I think he’ll end up back with the DL as an edge rusher. He was the team’s sack leader in 2016 and you have to have him on the field in a pass rush role at least. We’ll see if Edwin Freeman can make an impact or will he get lost in the depth chart?
Arguably the most important defensive position in the pass happy Big 12. The defensive backfield seems like things are looking calm in terms of guys claiming their spots. PJ Locke has become the face of the defense along with Malcolm Roach. He had a fantastic second half of the season and has become Tom Herman’s “golden boy”. I’ve said if some of the DB’s that are Juniors have a big 2017, I think they could leave for the NFL early. I didn’t consider Locke in that group but after talking to some people, I think it’s possible with him. Holton Hill, Davante Davis, and Kris Boyd will battle for the starting CB spots. And whoever doesn’t get the starting spot will be the 3rd CB and the 6th DB which will see the field a lot in the Big 12. DeShon Elliott and Brandon Jones seem to have the starting safety spots locked down. The one question will be Jason Hall. He missed the Spring due to a hamstring injury, will he challenge for a safety spot? Will be move to LB? We’ll have to see.