FREE Premium access until August 14 when you sign up, then only $39.99 for every five months! Click here for more details.
When cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator Jason Washington met with the media on Friday, he took the time to shake hands with all those present, greeting everyone there with a smile.
Washington’s positive personality comes out in other aspects of his work as well, especially recruiting. He and the rest of the staff has worked to earn commitments from four of the top six defensive backs in the state, including major involvement in flipping Caden Sterns from LSU.
The good news continues for Washington as he has three players at corner in juniors Kris Boyd, Holton Hill and Davante Davis who the staff believe can play at an extremely high level. Washington even said Boyd could be a lockdown corner as long as he remains consistent and does not start “just playing on an island of his own.”
“The better he plays, the better our entire group plays,” Washington said about Boyd. “So I’ve put a little more on his shoulders saying ‘hey, this is what you’ve got to do.’ There’s no gray area in between. There’s no off days in between because these guys are going to feed off your energy.”
Boyd had the lone interception among those three players last season, but Washington was excited about his ability for 2017
“He can play field (corner),” Washington said. “He can play boundary. He can do whatever he wants.”
Washington stressed he, along with Davis and Hill, need to play at that high level with much more consistency.
Last season, Davis was anything but consistent, struggling in the occasions he received playing time. In order to see Davis return to or exceed his freshman year play, Washington has made sure to let Davis know when he succeeds.
“My big thing is let’s concentrate on every rep and love him up when he makes plays and coach him when he doesn’t,” Washington said. “This is where you went wrong, okay. Now let’s improve on it so we don’t make the same mistake next time. It’s been good. His demeanor has really changed, so I’m interested to see how well he does once he starts getting underneath the bright lights and seeing how he carries himself.”
After Thompson and the three juniors, three freshmen in Kobe Boyce, Eric Cuffee, and Donovan Duvernay make up the depth. Washington noted he had little concern about the rest of the corner room and made sure to mention their offseason progress.
“Donovan Duvernay has, I think, made a big leap just technique-wise,” Washington said. “Still working on now being able to play big since he’s a little bit smaller corner. Just teaching them a little bit of tricks of the trade.”
Cuffee, who had some struggles during the spring game, was praised as well.
“I know spring was an eye-opener for him,” Washington said. “To his credit, he’s taken the focus this summer. He’s gotten stronger in the weight room. He’s improved on being able to stay down. Those guys will be able to get some reps in this season.”
In addition to his role as cornerbacks coach, Washington has the title of recruiting coordinator. In his first season in Austin, Washington has coordinated the Longhorns to a recruiting class with several of the state’s highest ranked players.
The importance of getting the class to 17 commitments before the season was not lost on Washington.
“I think what was big with those DBs and the rest of our signing class is that they’re all recruiting each other,” Washington said. “It’s been fun watching guys jump on board and how close they have become just from all the different things they do during the summertime. Coming up here, of course, and the summer bash that we had, it’s been awesome just watching that class come together.”