But there was a lot about the position that the Georgia-bound Langley had to teach himself.
He said former Longhorns star Brian Randolph, now a free safety at Tennessee, got him started with the basics when he converted to the secondary three years ago. He was also taught by Randolph to be aggressive.
“(Randolph) helped me with the fundamentals,” Langley said. “He also taught me to be physical. We would wrestle around a lot, and that brought out the tenacious side of me.”
But when Randolph wasn’t around, Langley had to learn from his mistakes, especially when he kept getting burned. He discovered on his own that the best way to cover receivers is by watching a quarterback’s eyes and a receiver’s hips.
“The receiver can’t go where his hips can’t go,” said Langley, the 2012 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Football Defensive Player of the Year.
Langley said they were also fundamentals he learned as a basketball player, and it’s worked for him in football.
Langley’s contributions helped Kell post a 10-2 record, win the Region 7AAAAA championship and make a second-round appearance in the Class AAAAA state playoffs. Langley also finished with a county-best six interceptions, 39 tackles, five tackles for loss and a touchdown on an interception return.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Langley also had the luxury of working with experienced teammates in the defensive backfield. With Quincy Mauger — another Georgia commitment — Taylor Henkle, Julian Burris and Jay Moxey playing alongside him, it made for healthy competition every day at practice.
No starting spot was guaranteed, Langley said, and that made tackling drills and 1-on-1 practices more intense among the Kell secondary.
In looking back upon the season, if Langley could spot improvements he made from 2011, it would be his open-field tackling. He estimated that he missed only five tackles this season.
Langley’s best defensive performance by far came in Kell’s 33-29 victory over Creekview on Sept. 21.
Coming off a tough loss to Lassiter the previous week, beating the Grizzlies set the tone for Langley and the Longhorns. It launched an eight-game winning streak for the Longhorns, who didn’t lose again until Gainesville beat them 61-42 in the second round of the state playoffs.
Langley had three interceptions against Creekview — one was returned for a touchdown and another preserved the victory for the Longhorns.
The Grizzlies were threatening in the final seconds, advancing the ball inside the Kell 30-yard line with 40 seconds left. On fourth down, Creekview quarterback Hayden Hall attempted a pass into the end zone, but Langley must’ve read the eyes of the quarterback and the hips of the intended receiver perfectly, and was there for the game-clinching pick at the 2-yard line.
Langley also contributed on special teams in the Creekview game, blocking an extra-point attempt and totaling 97 yards on kick returns.
“Defensively, he’s a shutdown corner,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “Any ball that’s thrown his way, 50 percent of them he’s going to catch. It’s a great situation for us to put him up against bigger receivers. He’s a physical player, too. Not a lot of corners are physical.”
Langley also had a game-saving interception in a 27-21 rally against Sprayberry on Oct. 26. In the Yellow Jackets’ final attempt to win, Langley leapt for a one-handed interception in the end zone.
Langley and the Kell defense only allowed an average of 18.5 points a game.