Mack Brown isn’t afraid to play freshmen. This much we know.
The Longhorns have trotted out 34 true freshmen over the past two seasons, which is the most in FBS.
As those players mature, slots for incoming freshmen to play have dwindled. But if there is a short list of those wet behind the ears with a chance to contribute, Antwuan Davis' name will be on it.
Davis, an ESPN 300 cornerback from Bastrop, Texas, has the physical makeup (6-foot, 180 pounds) and speed (4.3 speed) to factor into the defensive back rotation.
His ready-to-play skills are what made him the No. 148 player overall and the No. 15 cornerback in the country in 2013. He was highly sought after, with offers from Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas A&M. But there was really never a doubt that Texas was where he’d end up.
Now he’s on campus, enrolled in summer school, and ready to test the waters of fall camp. We caught up with Bastrop head coach Gerald Perry to get his insight on what to expect from Davis this season.
HornsNation: What are you most excited about seeing from Davis as a Longhorn?
Gerald Perry: Knowing him for the last couple of years, he is such a great teammate. It’s always exciting to see how kids fit in with other teammates and find that niche. Antwuan has so much talent, so much raw talent that he hasn’t realized, he’s going to get on the field soon. We played a lot of man coverage so he’s done a lot of the things that they are going to do at Texas. He’s a great kid to be around. He’s a hard, hard worker, and is very, very comfortable. I think he’ll play soon.
HN: He’s so quick but he’s also so physical. What is his greatest asset on the field?
Perry: It’s hard to find a kid that’s got so much speed and strength together. I’ve been doing this for 20 years now and I’ve had some great kids. But for the corner position, for him to be that strong and for him to have the world-class speed that he’s got, it’s incredible to have that total package. That’s why he was in such high demand. You have to be physical in the Big 12, and he’s got that. He also has the speed to play those great receivers.
HN: Recruiting can often get to a kid’s head. Did you see Antwuan change at any point or did he stay the same?
Perry: He’s a very humble young man with a great family. I’m heavily involved in the recruiting of our kids and we talk to them about how to act and how to deal with Facebook. He’s very humble. He was very good with the process and took his time. I think he knew he wanted to go to Texas from the beginning.
HN: You mentioned playing so much man coverage. How much do you think that will help him get to the field sooner rather than later?
Perry: I think it will help. When he moved in he was playing a lot of cover three. We played so much bump-and-run, man coverage when he was with us. It’s going to help him. We faced some great talent. He’s seen some good talent and gone to some big-time camps and gotten better and better. I talked to him the other day and they were doing 7-on-7. I am excited for his opportunities.
HN: Does he get the sense that he is going to play early?
Perry: We’ve talked. He just wants to contribute. Very few kids want to come in and redshirt. Some kids need to. They need that extra year to get stronger. He’s already got that strength. It just depends on what they have at Texas. He is a kid that can play special teams as well. I think he will be used, especially when you go to nickel packages.
HN: Do you think that cornerback is it for him or do you think he could move to safety at some point?
Perry: I think he’ll stay at corner. He’s got the strength to play the slot. But I think he is a natural corner. He’s got good, decent height. I’ve seen little corners without the strength. This guy has so much upper body strength that I think he’s going to be a big asset for them at corner.