The 2018 class of defensive backs will very likely finish as the highest rated group the school has ever signed. Without researching it too much, it will also likely be the best position group to sign of any that routinely takes three players or more per cycle. For a school that fancies itself as DBU, that’s quite an accomplishment.
Even the ‘recruiting rankings don’t matter’ people have to take notice of this class, especially if they understand the value of recruiting rankings on a macro level, which most here do.
The current class is comprised of:
S BJ Foster, Angleton, Composite #17 (Boundary safety, field safety)
DB Caden Sterns, Cibolo Steele, Composite #30 (CB, N, FS, BS)
CB Jalen Green, Houston Heights, Composite #40 (CB)
S DeMarvion Overshown, Arp, Composite #74 (BS, FS)
DB D’shawn Jamison, Houston Lamar, Composite #135 (N, CB, FS)
What I always look for in classes are complementary attributes and sheer athleticism. This is already an embarrassment of riches in both regards, and astonishingly, this group could get even better if Jamison’s teammate, Anthony Cook, selects Texas on October 30th (Composite #14 — CB).
On Saturday, Jamison beat Cook by two weeks to make his selection, and Texas was the beneficiary.
Since I first saw him in June, 2016, I’ve been a big fan. I immediately noticed he didn’t have the coveted – but often overrated – length of some other defensive backs, but the electricity in his movements rendered me indifferent. That quick twitch ability wouldn’t have nearly as much value if he didn’t apply it in a physical manner, but he does, and that takes us to one of our first interactions when I stated, “tell me why you’re so much more fearless than players who weigh 100 pounds more than you.”
His response in 2016 was, “Because when I’m on the field I feel like I need to let them know that I’m not a little kid and I have heart and I won’t let my team down.”
If you’re going to be “undersized” — 5-foot-10 and what will be a dense 195 pounds in college isn’t that small — you better be athletic and play with a chip on his shoulder.
Last Saturday I asked him about his size and the effect it had on his process. He responded, “When I first heard that other schools said that I’m not tall enough and I’m not big enough to play for them I took that as motivation to grind harder and enjoy the process because I knew God would bless me with some kind of offer. I talked to my parents over it and they said just watch how other schools come and they’ll believe in me. I guess that’s what Texas believed in.”
In a loaded class of defensive backs, one thing jumped out to the Texas coaching staff.
“What Texas saw is that I’m very versatile. The way I play on the field I can play any and every position. They say I’m a great runner, I can attack the ball, I can blitz, I can do all kinds of stuff that helps out their defense.”
With that versatility in mind, Jamison thinks he can help Texas in myriad ways.
“I see myself replacing PJ [Locke] and Hollywood [Holton Hill],” he said of the former Lamar Texan, but the ultimate position is a little cloudy, “maybe all three positions [corner, safety, or nickel], they also want me at punt returner and kick returner. I plan on doing all that stuff just to help out the team.”
When selling a versatile player, you have to sell him on capitalizing on that ability and clearly that’s what Texas did. They also sold him on the opportunity to play early if he earns it. That sell requires trust, and it didn’t hurt that Jamison’s relationship with this staff went back to Tom Herman’s days at U of H.
“When I first started talking to them, especially when they were at U of H I had a great relationship with them, with Herman he was like ‘even though you’re not going to U of H he still wanted me to take the process slow, to take it all in, and to watch for anything that’s not comfortable to me. If it’s not comfortable, don’t make that wrong choice.”
Program trajectory and the current group of commits was also key.
“For me, and the other 2018 class, we’re going to do something great at UT. We’re all in a group message. We all said we’re going to change the program with Coach Herman. We all came together and was like, we’re going to do this together, we’re going to take this in, be brothers about this and be 100 about it.”
Because of the complementary traits in the class composition, it’s not hard to see each of current five commitments vying for playing time relatively early in their career.
Worth ethic and study habits will play a big part in seeing the field early, and those are also some of Jamison’s strengths. His mother, Shantrelle, recently told me, he took notes during the USC game so he could ask a list of questions of Texas defensive backs coach, Jason Washington. She also mentioned if he’s borrowing the car it’s probably to go work out.
With the emphasis Tom Herman and his staff puts on the mental side of the evaluation it’s easy to see why Jamison was prioritized and why the rich just got richer.