Malik Muhammad, CB
The other true freshman DB for the Longhorns who was absolutely spectacular during the regular season was cornerback Malik Muhammad. The former high-four-star cornerback recruit from Dallas (TX) South Oak Cliff High School in the 2023 class has looked the part and more of a stud defensive back who has proven to be ready for live-game reps in the Power Five.
Muhammad burst onto the scene in the first game he played for the Longhorns in his collegiate career in the opener on Sep. 2 at home. Against the Rice Owls in Week 1, Muhammad proved to be a disruptor and a playmaker well ahead of his years in college in the secondary, registering a pass breakup, two third-down stops, five tackles, and no missed tackles.
Muhammad earned himself a spot in the cornerback rotation for the entire regular season. He was consistently a top performer in the Texas secondary, ranking second among the team's DBs in coverage grade and second in defensive grade.
Some of the plays Muhammad made at corner during the regular season just aren't things you often see from a true freshman defensive back. He made multiple critical third-down stops for the Longhorns in coverage and contesting space. Muhammad also had an incredible interception in the first half for Texas in the regular season finale against the Texas Tech Red Raiders where he snatched the ball from boundary receiver Jerand Bradley for one of the highlighting plays of the game.
As a reward for his outstanding performances in coverage this season, Muhammad was named a Second-Team Freshman All-American by the College Football News.
Texas has two staples for the secondary heading into the future between Williams and Muhammad. They were two of the most dominant and impactful true freshman defensive backs in the Big 12 during conference play. And they will only get better heading into the SEC in 2024.