While the Texas Longhorns continue to reload for another run at the College Football Playoffs, they got big news on Saturday as defensive mainstay Jahdae Barron announced his return to the Forty Acres for his final season of eligibility by opting against declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft.
Barron also appears set to change jersey numbers with Longhorn legend Michael Huff handing him the No. 7 jersey that he wore at Texas. Over Barron’s first four season on the Forty Aces, he wore No. 23.
One of the most overlooked defensive playmakers in the conference, Barron was a key piece of the Texas defense for the last two seasons after stepping in to hold down the STAR position, the nickel in Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense. The versatile defender logged 135 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and three interceptions over the last two seasons earning All-BIg 12 honors in both years — honorable mention in 2022 and second team in 2023.
Barron came to Texas as the No. 20 player in the state of Texas and the No. 10 cornerback in the country as a part of the 2020 recruiting class — the top defensive back for the Longhorns in the cycle after signing with the Bears prior to the departure of head coach Matt Rhule. After playing sparingly in his first two seasons, Barron became an elite playmaker for Texas and a key piece in Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense.
His return to the Texas secondary gives the Longhorns not only a leader and playmaker on the field, it gives them the opportunity to have one of the most elite secondaries in the country. With Malik Muhammad, Terrance Brooks, and Derek Williams returning — and the addition of blue-chip transfer Andrew Mukuba — the Longhorns have a level of skill in the secondary they haven't seen in several seasons.