Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas wasn’t his initial plan, but Jahdae Barron is fitting in perfectly

Assad Malik
Texas’ Jahdae Barron celebrates after receiving an interception and scoring a touchdown against the University of Texas at San Antonio on Sept. 17, 2022. Texas defeated UTSA 41-20.

Senior defensive back Jahdae Barron might not always be the one making the big tackle or a flashy interception, but he holds the Texas defense together. The player from Pflugerville has nine solo tackles and one interception across four games this season. 

But he didn’t record a single tackle in the win over Baylor. And he’s okay with that.

“I was enjoying (the game),” Barron said. “It was exciting just being out there and us finishing with the win. I didn’t get action coming my way, but it comes with territory.”

Barron prides himself on his ability to study film and read offenses. Playing the “star” position, similar to a traditional nickelback, in the Texas secondary means that he is often left with the job of spying on the quarterback and pouncing when the time is right. 

His film study efforts paid off in his interception against Alabama, as he made the decision to leave his man, stepping into coverage to pick off quarterback Jalen Milroe early in the first quarter of the win. He executed a perfect read of the play and Milroe’s movements. 

In his film study sessions, he analyzes every aspect of each play.

“I look at the cadence of the quarterback because I blitz a lot so I want to get down the cadence,” Barron said. “I look at the (offensive) tackles. Obviously for screens, if my D-line is able to get to the quarterback too fast, that’s how I kind of know (it’s a) screen (pass). Little things like that, like the splits, the receivers.” 

Barron came to Texas in 2020, but that wasn’t always his plan. In last week’s game against Baylor, the Longhorns’ offense could have had the fate of facing Barron, as he originally committed and signed to play for the Bears. 

Due to a coaching change with former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule taking a job at Nebraska and current head coach Dave Aranda coming in, Barron flipped his commitment to play for Tom Herman at Texas.

“I signed to Baylor and that whole crazy (recruiting) process I had,” Barron said. “I don’t know (what could’ve been), but I know I have this plan and God did too.” 

When Herman left Texas and current head coach Steve Sarkisian took over, Barron fully bought into Sarkisian’s message. Three years later, his relationship with defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, known as “PK,” is nothing but positive, and Kwiatkowski allows him creativity on the field and with his position. 

Even with the freedom he is allowed, Barron still credits his success on the field to his film study sessions off it. 

“I try to stay on the move so the offense obviously doesn’t know what I’m in or what I’m playing but um it’s all film,” Barron said “Most of the time I know what’s happening, but they have coaches too so they could change and they’re watching me so I have to just try to give different looks and have to teach myself and react myself.”

This season, Sarkisian has put a huge emphasis on finishing games. In the first four games this season, Texas only allowed 15 total fourth-quarter points. 

Barron and the rest of the defense improved immensely over the past three years in this aspect of the game.

“(Finishing games) is something that Sark’s preached on,” Barron said. “We struggled with that last year and he preaches on it, ‘Finish the fourth quarter,’ and being able to do that is showing a lot of improvement.” 

Even with the improvement, Barron and the rest of the Texas defense are on the hunt for championships. With Barron’s knowledge and leadership, the Texas defense is set to keep offenses from scoring and off the field, giving the Texas offense more time to score and win games.

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About the Contributor
Assad Malik, Photo Editor
Assad Malik is a sophomore RTF major at UT and serves as the Photo Editor for The Daily Texan.