Jahdae Barron, DB
A critical player for Texas to get back in the secondary for the early portion of the regular season slate will be junior defensive back Jahdae Barron. Texas might not need Barron right away this season, as true freshman defensive back Jaylon Guilbeau should be able to handle some of the starting reps against an opponent like ULM.
But it will be key for the Longhorns to have Barron back for Week 2 against the reigning National Champion runner-up Alabama. Barron is one of the more efficient returning defensive backs for this secondary in 2022.
With Barron slotted to be one of the leaders for this defense starting at the star position this fall, he’ll be a key cog in helping defend slot receivers in the passing game and assisting in the box and closer to the line of scrimmage in run defense.
Moreover, I still anticipate that the Longhorns are going to give significant reps at the star position in the opener this weekend against ULM to both Guilbeau and Barron. It makes the most sense to let Barron rest up as much as possible for the big-time matchup in Austin on Sep. 10 against the Crimson Tide than to risk any further injury against ULM.
It’s also worth getting Guilbeau the valuable extra reps if Texas gets ahead early in the opener.
All in all, Barron might be the most important player on this list for the Longhorns to have back at full health by the middle of September. Among the regular starters for the Longhorns defensive players last season, Barron was the highest-graded. He has high expectations as one of the more proven and productive defensive players heading into this season.