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How the secondary shapes up after spring training

Eighth in a position-by-position series looking ahead to the 2024 Texas Longhorns after spring football practice:

Derek Williams, sophomore
Jaylon Guilbeau, junior
Malik Muhammad, junior
Jahdae Barron, Sr
Jelani McDonald, sophomore
Gavin Holmes, Sr
Michael Taaffe, junior
Warren Roberson, freshman

Terrance Brooks
Ryan Watts
Jalen Catalon
Kitan Crawford
Jerrin Thompson
BJ Allen
Larry Turner Gooden
X'Avion Brice.

Kobe Black
Xavier Filaime
Jordan Johnson Rubell
Wardell Mack
Santana Wilson
Andrew Mukuba (Clemson)

Cornerback Terrance Brooks' departure via the transfer portal in April came as a bit of a surprise considering he started 13 games last season and appeared to be expected to see significantly more playing time this year.

However, the Longhorns should have plenty of depth at cornerback, as veterans Malik Muhammad, Gavin Holmes and Jahdae Barron have had plenty of appearances at the position at the collegiate level in recent years (Holmes transferred from Wake Forest before last season).

Pass defense in 2023 was UT's Achilles heel in an otherwise stellar season — marked by the program's first appearance in the four-team College Football Playoff — but the Longhorns allowed 430 yards passing in a narrow loss to Washington in the CFP semifinals the air and kept with a cross-seasonal theme.

UT's defensive backs didn't look much better at the annual spring game in April, when quarterbacks Arch Manning and Trey Owens combined to throw for more than 500 yards against the often-receding force.

Texas is hoping to get some relief through the transfer portal from safety Andrew Mukuba, a three-year starter at Clemson, and a number of talented prospects in the secondary, including four-star cornerback Kobe Black and four-star safety , Xavier Filsaime, who was part of the 2024 recruiting class, should offer plenty of leadership.

Like many teams across the country, in an era of open offenses and disguised defenses, the Longhorns have a handful of defensive backs who can mix and match at different positions – and looking at last year, there could be a lot of mixing and matching early on from the coaching staff, as UT tries to find the right formula for its first round sweep in the SEC.

Cornerback
Malik Muhammad
Kobe Black

Cornerback
Gavin Holmes
Wardell Mack

Strong security
Derek Williams
Jelani McDonald

Free security
Andrew Mukuba
Michael Taaffe

star
Jahdae Barron
Jaylon Guilbeau

Anna Harden

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