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2014 Texas Longhorns Football Recruiting: Defensive Backs - Jermaine Roberts, John Bonney, Jason Hall

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The old regime did little to take advantage of a bumper crop of in-state DBs to load up at a critical position of need, but the Longhorns did sign three developmental prospects with some upside.


John Bonney
Houston Lamar
6-0, 175

Bonney has a willowy frame and unexceptional straight line speed, but his ability to flip his hips in coverage and cover ground laterally makes him an intriguing developmental prospect who drew the interest of several solid programs - some that even projected him as a future CB.  Bonney is a willing tackler, but will need to get stronger to be a reliable run force in the college game.  He's an instinctive player with a good understanding of the geometry of the passing game, frequently beating receivers to the spot and putting himself in playmaking position.

Optimistic projections for Bonney have him maintaining his unique hip/ankle flexibility while adding 20 pounds to his lanky frame, creating a stalwart pass defender, capable run supporter, and all around reliable in and out of box defender with versatility and range.


Jermaine Roberts
New Orleans St Augustine
5-9, 170

The undersized cornerback from New Orleans possesses terrific competitiveness, good quickness, one step recovery out of his back pedal and strong ball skills.  Any receiver that lacks strength or the skill to shuck him in press coverage is in for a miserable game day experience. Roberts doesn't shy from contact, but he'll need ample time in the weight room before he's ready for the college game on an every down basis.

Size is a major concern in a conference that features outside WRs who will often be half a foot taller and 30-40 pounds heavier than Roberts.

His best use will be as a man coverage slot eraser or a man under corner with a cover over the top to prevent bigger receivers from posting him on their hip or exploiting him downfield on jump balls.  Roberts is also a potential special teams asset due to his fearlessness and elusiveness.

If Roberts can't develop sufficient strength and mass to allow him to contend with big receivers in the running and passing game, he'll be delegated to a specialized inside nickel or dime role in his career at Texas.  If Jermaine can get significantly stronger and carry more weight, Texas will have a reckless fan favorite who will create problems for Big 12 QBs accustomed to making predetermined throws to certain spots without challenge.


Jason Hall
South Grand Prairie
6-2, 190

The biggest member of the Longhorn secondary class, the Nebraska de-commit Hall has ideal safety size, long arms, and a frame still waiting to be filled out in the weight room.  Playing at a solid 6-2, 210 is a legitimate expectation in two or three years.  Despite lacking top level athletic ability, Hall has a wide coverage radius, defending surprisingly well in man coverage with anticipation, wingspan and excellent hand use to offset average speed.  His big frame, long arms and a natural ability to locate the ball make him an interesting long term developmental prospect in zone concepts and he has tangible upside if S&C can transform him into a more explosive, powerful athlete who can create additional value forcing turnovers, shutting down TEs, and filling the alley in the run game.

Hall reminds me a bit of former Longhorn safety Greg Brown.