The Texas 10: Ranking the best safeties returning to college football in 2023

Photo by Craig Bisacre/Edit by DCTF

Share or Save for Later

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Save to Favorites

Spring football inches closer on the 2023 calendar as February trickles towards March. The state of Texas is primed for another memorable year at the FBS level with UTSA coming off another C-USA title and TCU becoming the first team from Texas to reach a national championship game since Colt McCoy’s Longhorns. There are 13 FBS teams in Texas now with Sam Houston moving up. Houston is now in the Big 12, while UTSA, North Texas, and Rice move to the AAC. 

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football will look at the 10 best players at each position on the football field finishing with safeties. Incoming transfers are not eligible. 

Past rankings:


2022 review: Injured 

Wisdom’s season was cut short due to a season-ending injury halfway through the regular season. He posted 27 tackles, a pass breakup, and a fumble recovery on the year. He was the preseason C-USA Defensive Player of the Year heading into 2022. Wisdom was an All-CUSA First Team member as a junior and sophomore. He’s started every game of his college career and is back for one more season in San Antonio to lead the Roadrunners defense. 


2022 review: 73 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 FR, 1 FF  

The Aggies quietly led the FBS ranks in pass defense despite a five-win season. Richardson has been a stalwart for the Wrecking Crew since earning SEC All-Freshman Team honors as a freshman in 2019. The Waxahachie product enters 2023 with 43 starts. He led the Aggies in tackles last season and figures to be a team captain again this year. Richardson earned the Leadership and Toughness Award, as well as Mr. Dependable and Strength and Conditioning Top Conditioned Athlete honors as the annual team banquet. 


2022 review: 45 tackles, 1 TFL, 5 INT 

The third year on campus proved to be the charm for Clark, a Louisiana native who led TCU in interceptions in his first year as a full-time starter. The five interceptions were the most by a Horned Frog since 2019. He returned one of those picks for a touchdown in the first quarter against Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinal. He had a season-high eight tackles in the Big 12 championship game against Kansas State. 


2022 review: 83 tackles, 1 INT, 7 PBU 

Thompson is a reliable, experienced player for a Texas defense that took a major step forward in year two under defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski. Thompson, a Lufkin product, enters year five on the 40 Acres with 20 starts in 35 games played. He was honorable mention All-Big 12 after 12 starts as a junior in 2022. Thompson recorded a career-high 11 tackles in the bowl game against Washington and should be a preseason All-Big 12 member. 


2022 review: 84 tackles, 6.5 TFL 

Perry flourished in his first year in Fort Worth following three years as a Colorado Buffalo. Perry was second on the team in tackles. He started in 14 of the 15 contests the Horned Frogs played on the way to the national title game. He was fifth on the team with 6.5 tackles for loss. Perry recorded a season high nine tackles in the non-conference win over SMU. The TCU secondary should be a strength of the defense, and Perry is a major reason why. 


2022 review: 91 tackles, 10 TFL, 3 PBU, 2 FF 

A transfer from Louisiana who did not play in the 2021 season, Hylton broke out as a Miner in the 2022 campaign. He was third on the team in tackles with 91 and registered double-digit tackles for loss from his safety position. Hylton is a hard hitter who is always around the football and is solid in pass coverage. 


2022 review: 57 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 INT, 4 PBU, 2 FR 

The Manor product was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection as a redshirt freshman in 2022, even earning votes for Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. Lemear started 13 games at safety and filled up the stat sheet as an active player for the Baylor Bears. He can cover like a cornerback and finish like a safety. He’s a real weapon in Waco. 


2022 review: 77 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF 

Spears was one of the highlights on a solid Texas State defense. The Cypress Woods product turned in a career year after a relatively slow start to his college career, which included a transfer from Iowa State prior to 2020. He’s played in over 20 games as a Bobcat and returns under a new staff as one of the leaders of the team. 


2022 review: 50 tackles, 2 INT, 5 PBU 

Wilson was an honorable mention All-CUSA selection by the league’s coaches after a strong sophomore season. The Bishop Dunne product bounced around a bit early in his college career, redshirting in 2019 at Kansas State before playing four games at Louisiana-Monroe in 2020. He sat out the 2021 season to satisfy the NCAA transfer policy. Wilson recorded nine tackles in the CUSA championship game loss to UTSA and was the conference defensive player of the week one time. 


2022 review: 60 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT, 6 PBU, 2 FF 

The younger brother of the late, great Sean Taylor is making a name for himself at the G5 level as a playmaking safety in the Owls secondary. Taylor is always around the ball and fills out the stat sheet. He’s started 25 games over the past two seasons. 

This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.

Sign In
Don't Miss Any Exclusive Coverage!

We've been the Bible of Texas football fans for 64 years. By joining the DCTF family you'll gain access to all of our exclusive content and have our magazines mailed to you!