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Josh Thompson to return to Texas' secondary in 2021

Texas cornerback Josh Thompson (top) swats the football out of the hands of Iowa State receiver Tarique Milton (1) on Nov. 27, 2020 in Austin.

Texas cornerback Josh Thompson isn't done defending Big 12 receivers just yet.

Thompson announced on Monday that he will return to Texas for the 2021 season. Thompson was a redshirt junior this fall. 

After he initially found playing time as a nickel back, Thompson moved to cornerback this season. The six-foot, 198-pound Thompson started all nine of UT's games in 2020 and recorded 25 tackles and two pass breakups.

An acrobatic interception that was recorded in Texas' season opener against UTEP was among Thompson's highlights this season. For that game, Thompson was given a 92.2 grade by Pro Football Focus. That was the second-best score among the nation's defensive backs that week.

"I’ve been around some outstanding defensive backs and I would put Josh in the category with some of the best ones I’ve been around,” Texas defensive coordinator Chris Ash told reporters in September.

A four-star signee out of Nacogdoches in 2017, Thompson has also been a vital contributor on special teams for the Longhorns. Thompson pinned six of Michael Dickson's punts inside the 5-yard line during the 2017 season. One year later, he threw a key block on a 90-yard punt return by D'Shawn Jamison. In November, Thompson downed punts at the 2- and 3-yard lines during a 17-13 win over West Virginia.

The return of Thompson means that UT will enter the 2021 season with at least one veteran cornerback. Jamison, who logged eight starts this season, has not yet announced his future plans. Neither has Jalen Green, who has started eight times in his career. Jamison and Green were both juniors this season.