Starter: Anthony Cook
Backup: Kitan Crawford
Among the most improved position groups on either side of the ball for the Longhorns this offseason appears to be at safety/nickelback. Some of the position changes that the Longhorns’ defensive staff made this offseason, such as moving senior Anthony Cook and junior Kitan Crawford to safety, should make a world’s difference at the boundary safety spot this fall.
Cook is one of the most proven and productive defensive players returning for the Longhorns in 2022. He will be one of the leaders on and off the field for this defense this fall.
Starter: Jerrin Thompson
Backup: JD Coffey II OR Morice Blackwell Jr.
The biggest wildcard among the safety and nickel spots in this secondary heading into fall camp will come at free safety. Texas has a few ways they can go this fall in terms of filling out the two-deep at the free safety spot.
The logical choice to win the starting job at the outset of the season would be junior Jerrin Thompson. If Thompson proves he has made some of the necessary strides to become a sharper safety than he was at the outset of last season, then the starting job could be his for the taking.
Texas has other talented DBs that could still challenge for the starting job at free safety, though. Crawford has the speed and ranginess if Texas wants to give him reps here instead of boundary safety. Other former blue-chip recruits such as Bryan Allen Jr., JD Coffey II, and/or Morice Blackwell Jr. could also challenge for the starting job here this fall.
Starter: Jahdae Barron
Backup: Bryan Allen Jr. OR Michael Taaffe
It appears that the starting job at the star position heading into fall camp is all but Jahdae Barron’s for the taking. Moving Barron from corner to star was likely one of the smarter moves in the last year or so from this defensive coaching staff.
Barron is similar to Cook in that he was one of the most reliable and productive defensive players for the Longhorns last season. He could be a staple to this secondary in 2022, especially if he continues this smooth transition to the star position from cornerback.
The backup job behind Barron at star is a bit of a mystery heading into fall camp. But Allen Jr. could be one interesting option as a versatile defensive back that should be impactful at the star position, especially if he doesn’t get onto the two-deep at free safety.