One signee off the transfer market for the Texas football program in the 2021 class in December 2020 at the Early Signing Period, former McNeese State Cowboys senior cornerback Darion Dunn, didn’t look like he would be joining the team for a little while after the change in coaching regimes. When Dunn signed with Texas out of the NCAA Transfer Portal a few months ago, he joined now former head coach Tom Herman and defensive coordinator/safeties coach Chris Ash.
Another key factor to the addition of Dunn, when it first occurred last year, was the efforts of now former cornerbacks coach Jay Valai. With Ash and Herman now off to the NFL with, and Valai on staff in the same role with the Alabama Crimson Tide and legendary head coach Nick Saban, the group that recruited Dunn is all scattered elsewhere.
Yet, newly hired head coach Steve Sarkisian and defensive backs coach Terry Joseph were able to hang onto the addition of Dunn into the start of spring ball last week. Texas needed the depth in the defensive backfield after multiple transfer portal losses themselves in the secondary this offseason.
Texas has lost the likes of junior cornerback Jalen Green, freshman safety Xavion Alford, and sophomore cornerback Kenyatta Watson II, to the portal since the start of last season. Getting at least one piece back in Dunn is huge for this new look coaching staff, especially new defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski.
How Darion Dunn is showing out for Texas football this spring?
One of the major areas of emphasis for the Longhorns as spring ball resumed in contact drills late in the week after a batch of positive COVID-19 tests was the secondary. Along with the losses to the transfer portal, key defensive backs like junior safety Caden Sterns and senior safety Chris Brown are gone too for the looming 2021 NFL Draft.
That’s what makes it so important that the Longhorns see newer faces in the secondary like Dunn step up in bigger roles this offseason. And according to a Horns247 report (paid content) from April 3, Dunn is one of the defensive backs “making plays” for the Longhorns as spring ball resumed this week.
Fellow senior defensive backs Josh Thompson and D’shawn Jamison also reportedly stuck out for the Longhorns secondary in spring ball in the week of practice that was. That is a really good sign for the Longhorns, as the secondary was a problematic point of emphasis in the last few years on the Forty Acres.
Dunn could be taking snaps in the secondary come next fall that were previously taken by Green and Anthony Cook. He could be a key third cornerback for the Longhorns alongside Thompson and Jamison. That would be really valuable for this secondary in 2021.
Other names to watch for the Longhorns in the secondary this year include second-year cornerbacks Jahdae Barron and Kitan Crawford. The pair of former four-star recruits and 2020 Longhorns signees will also be vying for playing time this spring.