Texas Football: An In-Depth Look at the Longhorns Secondary

You can reasonably claim all that stood in the way between the Longhorns and a National Championship last season was its secondary. Let's take a look at what the backend will look like for Texas football this fall.
Jahdae Barron, Texas football
Jahdae Barron, Texas football / Tim Warner/GettyImages
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The Spring transfer portal window has come and gone; with such, the 2024 Texas football roster is close to complete.

How is Texas football's secondary looking post-spring ball?

The Longhorns lost 25 players to the portal, but head coach Steve Sarkisian was pointed in his targets, signing ten players, eight of whom came from the Power Four level. Hook'Em Headlines has covered Texas's transfer portal activity all cycle long. Now, it is time to look at the current roster and how the pieces will fall into place come August.

The Texas secondary was a point of contention last season. The Horns allowed 254.4 passing yards per game, the fourth-worst mark in the Big 12 and 105th nationally. In their Sugar Bowl loss to Washington, Michael Penix Jr. torched the Texas secondary to the tune of 430 yards on 11.3 YPA.

All things considered, you can reasonably claim all that stood in the way between the Longhorns and a National Championship was its secondary.

Coach Sarkisian identified this weakness early as he looked to improve the backend's stability through the high school rankings. Texas signed five secondary players in its 2024 high school recruiting class, including two Top 50 standouts, Kobe Black of Waco Connally (TX) and Xavier Filsaime of McKinney (TX).

Adding high school talent helped secure the position's future, but this staff knew they needed to add some instant-impact veterans from the portal. In January 2021, Freshman All-American Andrew Mukaba was brought into the fold from Clemson. Last week, 2023 San Jose State standout Jay'Vion Cole announced his commitment to the Longhorns.

With Mukuba and Cole, the Longhorns get two high-level secondary players who will be in the mix for meaningful snaps this fall.

All that said, the portal does as much taking as it does giving.

Of the aforementioned 25 players Texas football lost to the portal this year, eight were from the secondary. For upperclassmen like Kitan Crawford and Jerrin Thompson, the writing was on the wall that younger and more talented players were coming for their spots.

Underclassmen such as B.J. Allen Jr., Xavion Brice, and Larry Turner-Gooden never found their full potential on the Forty and did not see a path to playing time.

However, there was one outgoing secondary transfer that stung- rising junior Terrance Brooks.

Brooks started 16 games over two seasons in Austin and was slated to start at field corner this fall. The Little Elm (TX) native had his fair share of busted coverages but was a physical ballhawk who tied for the team lead with three interceptions last season.

Let's dive into how the Longhorns will replace Brooks and what the secondary rotation looks like heading into the summer.

Because the Longhorns do a lot of cross-training in the secondary, I have listed the players by year. I will go into more depth about their positions below.

Graduate: Jahdae Barron, Gavin Holmes

Senior: Andrew Mukuba, Michael Taaffe

Junior: Jay'Vion Cole, Jaylon Guilbeau

Sophomore: Jelani McDonald, Malik Muhammad, Derek Williams

Freshmen: Kobe Black, Xavier Filsaime, Jordan Johnson-Rubell, Wardell Mack, Warren Roberson, Santana Wilson