- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series will take a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from them. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.
No. 7 Demarco Cobbs
Recruitment rewind: Nobody saw this one coming. Cobbs committed to Tennessee in September 2009 and basically shut off all contact with Texas coaches, then called the Longhorn staff a month-and-a-half later to ask if he could commit. Enough time has passed that you forget Cobbs was a do-everything athlete who put up huge offensive numbers at Tulsa (Okla.) Central, was the No. 18 overall recruit in the 2010 ESPN 150 and played in the Under Armour All-America Game.
Career so far: Cobbs got a shot at running back and then safety as a true freshman but mostly played special teams. He moved down to linebacker in the spring of 2011 and showed promise but missed half the season with a broken arm. His big break came in 2012, when Cobbs was a starter in Texas' first four games. He'd start six games that season but was lost for the year in a Thanksgiving loss to TCU due to a right knee injury. That injury ended up costing Cobbs his entire 2013 season as well.
Best-case scenario for 2014: The comeback story of the year for Texas. By the middle of last season, it seemed Cobbs had basically been written off completely by the previous coaching staff. The fact he was even on the roster this spring was a surprise to some. But Cobbs put some good things on tape with the No. 2 defense in the spring game, enough to intrigue Charlie Strong and his defensive coaches. If Cobbs stays healthy, he'll get a chance to contribute. Don't count him out just yet.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: Another knee injury, or any sort of serious injury, will essentially end Cobbs' playing career. And even if the fifth-year player can stay on the field, he'll likely still have a bunch of linebackers ahead of him on the depth chart. From a numbers standpoint, linebacker should be a position of strength for the Longhorns in 2014. If Cobbs is rusty, the new coaches have plenty of other players they can plug in.
Future expectations: Cobbs' football-playing future looked awfully bleak during his time on the bench in 2013, but his reemergence this spring tells you he's not ready to give up. This is still a guy who's appeared in 29 games in his career and arrived in Austin with so much potential. You just hope he can stay healthy and get one more chance to make an impact.