Owens joins Texas’ #fUTure19 class

11FD756B-85D6-4383-85A9-7B62EBFF0DAUSTIN — Texas has plenty of elite athletes in the defensive backfield. They just added one more to its 2019 class.

Plano East four-star DB Tyler Owens committed to Texas today. Owens had competing offers from Baylor, UCLA, Missouri, and Nebraska among others.

Owens recruiting ranking got a major boost last week after his rating jumped 571 spots to the No. 40 player overall in the nation, by 247 Sports. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound safety has tremendous upside at the next level and could play multiple spots – safety, Joke, Rover – in Todd Orlando’s schemes in Austin.

How he fits at Texas: It’s really not all that common to find a guy with legit, 4.4 track speed in a 200 pound frame with film mixing it up as a box safety and making form tackles from the shallows or from depth. The obvious fit for Owens at Texas would be in the boundary safety role where DeShon Elliott and now B.J. Foster have ended up. It’s a good role for heat-seeking missiles that can play over LBs in the box or hawk down from mid-level depth. However, Brandon Jones fit that profile out of Nacogdoches as well and ended up at the field safety spot because his range is so good. With Owens’ speed and ability to make open field tackles from a two-deep alignment, his best fit may be at the same SS job occupied by Jones now and Caden Sterns in the future. – Ian Boyd

Coach says: Strengths – Tall, well-proportioned athlete with great size for the position. Great wingspan / long arms. Has a good build and even some room to add. A long strider. Has accomplished track background in 100m and long jump. Listed shuttle time suggests very good agility. Tends to show the lower body explosion in leaping. Adjusts to the ball in the air well and catches with soft hands away from his body. Not afraid to try and lay a big hit on the ball carrier. Seems to have very good upper and lower body strength. Shows some good form tackling on film. Good awareness of coverage responsibilities in zone coverage. Good upper body strength playing up on the line to fend off blockers. Could contribute early in kick coverage and block teams. Areas for improvement — Will often take bad angles to the ball carrier resulting in having to chase or a lunging effort to tackle. Doesn’t look to be diagnosing plays particularly fast in the run game. Will be flat-footed at times when coming up in run support. Doesn’t fill the alley decisively. Numerous tackles on his and opponents films show him making a tackle where he is receiving the runner rather than delivering the hit. Although capable of some nice form tackling, will often be caught upright (and awkwardly so) when arriving at the ball carrier. To my eye, doesn’t look to be as fast in pads as his track time suggests (will defer to anyone who’s seen him live). Will get turned around by receivers committing his hips early. Does not consistently track the incoming pass. Not sure I could trust him on a slot receiver.

How this affects Texas: A late discovery, but Owens has most of the tools required to excel in this defense. Texas wants a pair of safeties in this class, with Jalen Catalon penciled for nickle/safety. Chris Adimora (Lakewood, CA) has one spot, leaving one more for Owens, Lewis Cine, or another late take. Owens can be that dude. He might grow into a LB (Rover, Joker), but figure that out once he hits campus. He’ll take an official visit to Texas this fall. – Justin Wells

Owens becomes the 17th member of Texas’ 2019 class joining Derrian Brown (Buford – GA),  Javonne Shepherd (North Forest), Marcus Tillman (Jones – FL), DeMariyon Houston (Millwood – OK), Marques Caldwell (Alvin), Chris Adimora (Lakewood – CA), Peter Mpagi (George Ranch), Jake Smith (Notre Dame Prep – AZ), Jared Wiley (Temple), Tyler Johnson (Conroe Oak Ridge), Brayden Liebrock (Chandler – AZ), Kenyatta Watson II (Grayson – GA), De’Gabriel Floyd (Westlake – CA), Jordan Whittington (Cuero), T’Vondre Sweat (Huntsville), and Roschon Johnson (Port Neches-Groves).