How Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey helps to open up DeMarvion Overshown

DeMarvion Overshown, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports
DeMarvion Overshown, Texas Football Mandatory Credit: John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports /

The linebacker position will be one of the main focal points for Texas football this fall on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker was a weak point for co-defensive coordinators/linebackers coaches Pete Kwiatkowski and Jeff Choate with this side of the ball during the first year under head coach Steve Sarkisian’s command.

From the returns we’ve received early in fall camp, though, it sounds like the Longhorns have an improved top group ready to stand out at the linebacker position during the upcoming season. And this top group of linebackers that appear to be rising to the occasion in the early stages of fall practice for Texas is highlighted by super senior DeMarvion Overshown and the former FCS All-American and James Madison Dukes senior grad transfer Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey.

It’s also worth mentioning that junior middle linebacker Jaylan Ford also appears to be in line for a breakout 2022 campaign.

Moreover, the one linebacker that appears to be primed to lead this unit on the defensive side of the ball this fall is Overshown. The fifth-year linebacker and former converted safety Overshown has all the tools and versatility necessary to be a truly impactful player at the position while putting together an All-Big 12 First-Team caliber campaign.

One of the ways that Kwiatkowski and this defensive staff are looking to really open up Overshown’s game this fall is by using him in more of a hybrid edge rusher role. We could see Overshown take multiple snaps this fall as a pass rusher at the sam linebacker position.

I would fully anticipate seeing Overshown take at least 20 or 30 more snaps as a pass rusher this season than he did last year. Last season, despite being the most effective pass rusher among the defensive players for the Longhorns that took at least 30 snaps in that role, Overshown still wasn’t regularly getting after opposing quarterbacks.

In fact, roughly just seven percent of the defensive snaps Overshown took last season came in the pass rusher role. And just around half of those 37 snaps he did take as a pass rusher came at the sam or buck linebacker spot.

In all likelihood, though, I would imagine that Overshown comes close to doubling his number of snaps as a pass rusher this fall compared to last season.

Another way that I believe Kwiatkowski and the Longhorns will utilize Overshown more as a pass rusher will be out of the sam linebacker spot. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see Overshown significantly eat into the pass-rushing snaps that senior Ovie Oghoufo would otherwise get at the sam linebacker position.

When he’s matched up against tight ends and even potentially some smaller offensive tackles, Overshown could be effectively utilized as an edge rusher that should be more capable to get to opposing quarterbacks than some of the other edge rushers were for Texas last season.

Although, it is worth noting that it wouldn’t make much sense for the Longhorns to utilize Overshown to set the edge when he’s facing some bigger offensive tackles. At 6-foot-4 and 230-pounds, Overshown is bigger than he was last season. But he still doesn’t have the size that is often required to set the edge against your standard Power Five offensive tackle.

One of the major reasons why the Longhorns defensive staff should feel more confident in their ability to utilize Overshown more often as an edge rusher this fall is the depth that is otherwise apparent at linebacker. Texas will have more reliable off-ball linebackers manning the defensive front this fall compared to last season.

It’s really the addition of Tucker-Dorsey that will change the game for PK in terms of how he can utilize Overshown as an edge rusher. Tucker-Dorsey’s consistency and ability to find the ball, especially defending the run, means that the coaching staff should have more trust in sending Overshown after opposing quarterbacks at the line of scrimmage.

Texas football can trust Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey in order to open up DeMarvion Overshown as a pass rusher

Last season, Texas had some linebackers such as the former walk-on Luke Brockermeyer and transfer Ray Thornton that weren’t very impactful and were often slow closing to the ball carrier. It also didn’t help that Oghoufo was often seen overrunning the ball carrier and taking poor angles on tackle approaches.

Ideally, Texas will have a much more effective duo of middle linebackers in terms of their ability to be productive and find the ball in Ford and Tucker-Dorsey this season. And from what we can see from Tucker-Dorsey’s time at James Madison, he’s certainly exhibited the ability at the FCS level to be an incredibly impactful and productive middle linebacker.

The evidence of Tucker-Dorsey’s impact, especially as a run stopper at middle linebacker, is apparent in the fact that he was one of just two FCS players at the position last season to accomplish the following:

  • Missed tackle rate no higher than 8.0 percent
  • At least 40 run stops
  • Run stop percentage of at least 12.0

Tucker-Dorsey often proved to be the backbone for the James Madison defense last season. His ability to find the ball and quickly close on the ball carrier in tight spaces made him extremely effective in stopping the run.

If that ability to find the ball and stop the run on a consistent basis that Tucker-Dorsey showed during his three seasons playing for JMU translates to the Power Five level, that will allow the defensive staff to take more risks with Overshown.

Even if Tucker-Dorsey only lives up to 80 percent of the production and efficiency that he displayed during his time playing for JMU, that would still be an upgrade for Texas compared to some of their middle linebackers from last season.

All in all, the addition of Tucker-Dorsey by way of the NCAA Transfer Portal late in the spring should prove to be very impactful right away. And the early returns from fall camp and the word from summer workouts indicate that Tucker-Dorsey is making a strong impression on the coaches in the last couple of months.

A strong finish to fall camp should put Tucker-Dorsey in a spot where he can get starting reps at middle linebacker out of the gates for the upcoming regular season. I would imagine he will be the more reliable and effective middle linebacker early this season than redshirt junior David Gbenda, given some of the struggles that the former blue-chip recruit had finding the ball in recent seasons and even in spots through the early stages of camp.

3 players with stock on the rise in fall camp. dark. Next

Texas finished up last season with a record of 5-7 (3-6 Big 12), missing out on bowl season for the first time since 2016. Overshown, Tucker-Dorsey, and the Longhorns are set to open up the 2022 regular season at home on Sep. 3 against Louisiana-Monroe.