Monday, July 4, 2022

Texas adds LB Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey: Former FCS All-American boosts Longhorns’ disappointing defense

Texas’ offseason additions through the transfer portal keep coming, as the Longhorns added FCS All-American linebacker Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey from James Madison to bolster a star-studded transfer class. Tucker-Dorsey chose the Longhorns over Florida State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. 

The Norfolk, Virginia, native led the Dukes with 116 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and four interceptions during a standout junior season. He saved perhaps his best performance for former Walter Payton Award-winning quarterback Cole Kelley and Southeastern Louisiana, posting two interceptions, two quarterback hurries and a sack in a key playoff victory. 

Texas went 5-7 in Steve Sarkisian’s first season and primarily played walk-on Luke Brockermeyer at middle linebacker. No player on Texas’ roster posted more than six tackles for loss or two sacks. 

Tucker-Dorsey becomes the seventh addition to Texas’ transfer class and its second defender. The Longhorns boast one of the top transfer classes nationally after adding former blue-chip recruits like quarterback Quinn Ewers and receiver Agiye Hall. However, Tucker-Dorsey — a former recruit outside of the top 4,000 — gives the Longhorns something different. 

Here are key takeaways from Texas’ addition of Tucker-Dorsey to a struggling defense. 

Unit in transition

Texas posted one of the Big 12’s most disappointing defenses in Sarkisian’s first season with the program. The Longhorns ranked No. 100 nationally in total defense at more than 425 yards per game, capped off by allowing 57 points to Kansas in an embarrassing loss. 

Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski primarily employed a 3-4 style defense with a rush linebacker, but the unit fell short in his first season. Despite the issues up front, Texas only added one defensive transfer prior to Tucker-Dorsey: cornerback Ryan Watts from Ohio State. 

Tucker-Dorsey adds experience in the defensive meeting room after leading James Madison to multiple deep FCS Playoff runs. 

Position of need

Linebacker has been a special struggle for the program, as the Longhorns have not produced an All-Big 12 linebacker since Gary Johnson in 2018. Texas did not produce any defensive All-Big 12 players in 2021. 

Tucker-Dorsey is undersized at 5-foot-10 and 214 pounds, which is why he fell to the FCS level. However, he is a fundamentally sound playmaker who should immediately elevate the play in the second level.  

Senior DeMarvion Overshown is a mainstay at weakside linebacker, but Tucker-Dorsey should quickly compete with Brockermeyer and Jaylan Ford for snaps at middle linebacker. There are snaps available, especially after the Longhorns lost linebackers Ayodele Adeoye and Marcus Tillman Jr. to the transfer portal. 

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