For a second time, defensive tackle Scott Pagano is a recruiting target of the Texas Longhorns after receiving his release from the Clemson Tigers on Friday and has narrowed his list to seven programs, according to 247Sports.
Arkansas, Cal, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Oregon are the teams still in contention, along with Texas, after Pagano heard from nearly one third of the teams in the FBS over the weekend.
The next step for the Longhorns is to secure an official visit from the former consensus four-star prospect. Unfortunately, that may be difficult, as Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney noted on Friday that Pagano, a native of Hawai’i, wants to play his final season of college football closer to home, which would likely mean the West Coast.
Given that the Ducks and Golden Bears are the only such programs on Pagano’s list of final seven programs under consideration, he may have changed his mind about his location preferences in the last several days.
As a result of those comments, however, those two schools could be near the top of Pagano’s list.
Unlike some graduate transfers who announce their intentions before completing the necessary course work, Pagano has already graduated from Clemson and plans on enrolling at the school of his choice for the summer sessions, removing the possibility that he could fail to complete his requirements to graduate, as happened with Texas quarterback target Max Wittek in 2014.
The 6’4, 295-pounder is also not the typical graduate transfer because he was a high-level contributor for a national championship team and plays a difficult position to fill — he started four games in 2016 and is versatile enough to play multiple positions along the defensive front.
In 2016, Pagano recorded 20 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks, but his best season was as a sophomore, when he racked up 51 tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss.