Football

Preseason Position Battles: Cornerback

The competition at cornerback looks like it could be incredibly tough.

  • D.J. Polite-Bray (6-0/190): Polite-Bray started 9 of 11 games last year and I think the general consensus was that he just wasn’t cutting it. Continually behind receivers and just getting beat. But then the spring arrived and all of the coaches could talk about was how the light went on for Polite-Bray and he was certainly the starter in name for the spring and he played okay from what I saw. Physically, Polite-Bray checks all of the boxes, but now Gibbs has other guys that check those boxes. Polite-Bray had 5 passes defended last year and no interceptions.
  • Jaylon Lane (6-2/187): Lane is the former 4-star player that had some issues, went to JUCO and is now a Red Raider. Lane has the length and speed to do what Gibbs wants to do. I thought he played okay in the spring, but I thought he lacked those splash plays that maybe some of those other defenders had (like Justus Parker). At Independence C.C. Lane had 43 tackles and 5 interceptions. Those 5 interceptions are key and this team is in desperate need of big plays.
  • Desmon Smith (6-2/193): Smith didn’t start any games as a true freshman, but he played in what was probably the last 7 games of the year and receiving lots of playing time. Smith was not the highest rated recruit, a solid 3-star, previously committed to Texas State and not a ton of Power 5 offers (Kansas, Minnesota and Washington State in addition to Texas Tech). The one area that Smith lacks is the speed and I’m surprised he’s stuck at cornerback for his second year and not moved to safety. I kept thinking that Smith would be at safety at some point last year, but Gibbs stuck with him at cornerback and he’s the starter going into the preseason.
  • Octavious Morgan (6-0/206): Morgan was one of my favorite commits from last year. I loved his size because Texas Tech had a history of being knocked off the line of scrimmage and that does not appear to be the case for Morgan. A solid 205 pounds (that may be a little high, but we’ll go with it) and Morgan had 42 tackles, 3 interceptions and 8 pass break-ups last year for Butler C.C. Morgan looks the part and he didn’t look out of place during the spring, but he didn’t make a ton of plays, but like Lane, that’s probably to be expected given that you’re learning a new system in the spring. It’s why getting to college in the spring is so important. Learn the system and then you can play a bit less mechanically in the preseason and fall.
  • Douglas Coleman (6-1/192): Right now, Coleman is the starting nickelback as Texas Tech is running out a 4-2-5 defense for the most part and Coleman is that 5th defensive back starter. Obviously, Coleman is starting and at the nickelback, the staff thinks he has the quickness to play against those inside guys. I agree with that assessment. I think Coleman is a future star and a kid that is destined to be a staple of this defense for a long time. His athleticism is terrific and his speed is on-point. One more thing about Coleman. His offer list coming out of Zachary high school? Arkansas State, New Mexico State, Tulane and Texas Tech.
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