Grading each position group on Texas’ defense

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Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski is tasked with turning around Texas’ defense in 2022.

The Longhorns defense finished outside the top 100 in total defense a season ago. Stopping the run needs to be a point of emphasis this offseason. Texas allowed over 200 rushing yards per game under Kwiatkowski in his first season leading the defense.

Texas is returning key senior starters at each level of the defense in linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, defensive back D’Shawn Jamison and defensive tackle Keondre Coburn. Year No. 2 in Kwiatkowski’s system should benefit the entire defensive unit.

The offseason roster additions from the transfer portal and 2022 recruiting cycle brought in some talented new faces.

Using overall talent, depth and experience as key factors, here is a ranking of each position group on Texas’ defense.

Defensive line: C+

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Texas defensive line had a major problem creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2021. Guys like Alfred Collins and Moro Ojomo flashed at times but the consistency never showed up. Former TCU defensive end Ochaun Mathis is still a priority on the transfer market and would fill a huge need.

Linebacker: C

AP Photo/Chuck Burton

The lack of linebacker depth was costly to Texas’ defense in 2021. Texas did not have any proven playmakers outside of DeMarvion Overshown, who spent some time sidelined with an injury. Jaylan Ford and David Gbenda are two young players Texas needs to take the next step.

Safety: B-

AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The emergence of Anthony Cook was one of the biggest positives in 2021. Cook has made the move from nickel to safety after the loss of BJ foster and Brenden Schooler. Texas has some question marks about who will play next to Cook. Jerrin Thompson and JD Coffey are the likely candidates to compete for the starting role.

Corner: B

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Cornerback is the best position group of the entire Texas defense. D’Shawn Jamison and Jahdae Barron returning with solid experience along with Ohio State transfer Ryan Watts. Freshman Terrance Brooks adds quality depth to the room.

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