The Lone Star 50: UTEP cornerback AJ Odums headlines Miner secondary

Share or Save for Later

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Save to Favorites

The 2024 college football season presents an entirely new landscape. Texas is in the SEC. SMU is back in a power conference as ACC members. The College Football Playoff now includes 12 teams and an automatic bid for the best G5 team in the land. For most, the start of the season is in Week 1 on August 30, though SMU starts in Week 0 and TCU plays its first game on Aug. 29. 

To celebrate us making it through another off-season, we’re counting down the 50 most important players in Texas as we inch closer to kickoffs. This list isn’t necessarily about which players are the best in terms of NFL draft stock. It ranks players in order of importance to their team's success. 


History: The Spring Westfield export began his college career at New Mexico before transferring to UTEP ahead of the 2023 season. Odums started all 12 games at cornerback for the Miners last season, tallying 36 tackles and a team-high eight pass breakups, which was third most in Conference USA. He played 18 career games at New Mexico and was a first-team All-District 16-6A selection as a senior in high school. 

The skillset: At 5-11 and 175 pounds, Odums is a cover corner with solid ball skills. He’s long and athletic enough to hang with outside receivers and physical enough to help in run support. He’s also durable and experienced. He’s played in 30 career college football games at the FBS level and was a multiple-year starter at the Class 6A level at a program known for defensive standouts. 

The impact: Cornerback is the second most important defensive position in modern football behind edge rusher. Odums provides the new staff at UTEP a No. 1 cornerback to match with the opponent’s best receiver. Turning the football field into a game of 10 vs. 10 is the goal of any elite cornerback and Odums can do it against most CUSA receivers. 

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!