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State of the program: Defensive Backs

Will 2017 be the year this group gets it together?

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the summer, we will be taking a look inside the state of the Texas Tech football program. We will analyze each position as a whole and look at the players that have left the team, the current starting players, and how each position is set up for the future. This week, we look at a position that has really grown up.


Tech defensive backs have been known to be some of the more exciting players on defense. From Dwayne Slay to Darcel Mcbath to Jamar Wall, DBs have been known to be hard hitters.

During the Gibbs era, we have not seen that same aggression. The bend-but-not-break defense has given up more than 290 passing yards per game in the past two seasons. Jah’Shawn Johnson was second on the team in tackles in 2016, however that was mostly due to numerous ling gains by opposing offenses. Last season also was terrible when it came to turnovers as well as the team only accounted for four interceptions, which was good for the fourth-lowest total in the nation.


CB Octavious Morgan, Jaylon Lane and SS Vaughnte Dorsey were all ranked in the top-150 junior college transfers and will be relied on heavily this year. Morgan and Dorsey have impressed both coaches and fans alike, and seem to have assumed starting roles.

CBs D.J. Polite-Bray and Douglas Coleman both struggled throughout the year last season, however, that could be because it was both of their first seasons playing defense. Both players were career wide receivers and improved with more reps given.

The leader of this unit will be third-year starter Jahshawn Johnson. Johnson has gone from surprise true freshman to now being one of the leaders of the defense. Continuing with the theme of the rest of the defense, this unit also will be very deep.

Kisean Allen and Peyton Hendrix are veterans who will see a good amount of playing time along with Lane and Arkansas transfer Willie Sykes. With this depth and veteran leadership, there should be a big improvement in both deflections and interceptions.


With Polite-Bray being the only senior for this group, 2018 should be an even stronger unit. The two-deep is full of juniors and sophomores who will only get more experience. This position is full of youth as well, and there are six freshmen currently on the team for the upcoming season including John Davis, Jr. who chose Tech over K-State, Minnesota, and Houston.

The defensive backs are hoping to combine this spring practice and past experience into the first successful season for David Gibbs.