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Texas could be a big player in the graduate transfer market once again

After adding two starters last offseason, the Horns may look to fill holes with experienced players for a second straight year.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Championship-Texas vs Oklahoma Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

With some programs already done with the 2018 football season, the graduate transfer market has started to take shape in recent weeks, especially since new NCAA rules have allowed some seniors to play in four games and still maintain a final season of eligibility.

For the Texas Longhorns, there aren’t any strong indications so far of interest in any of those early graduate transfers, but after landing running back Tre Watson from Cal and left tackle Calvin Anderson from Rice in 2018, there’s now a blueprint for how head coach Tom Herman and his staff approach that market.

The staff was proactive in looking at positions that needed a boost and then effective enough as recruiters to land both of those players. The additions paid off, too, as Watson led Texas in rushing yards this season and Anderson started every game at left tackle, providing stability at a position that struggled last season when All-American Connor Williams was injured.

After the Sugar Bowl on January 1, Texas will lose both of those players, as well as two other starters along the offensive line, all three starting defensive linemen, both starting inside linebackers, and three starters in the secondary.

So, Herman and his staff may look to the graduate transfer market to add depth and potential starters along the offensive and defensive lines and at linebacker. Cornerback is another possibility, but feels less likely.

Are there any names to know at the moment? It’s still relatively early, but there’s one name that bears serious mentioning — former Butler left tackle Tommy Kennedy.

Originally from the Chicago area, Kennedy was a two-year starter at Butler and a second-team all-conference selection this season. Since announcing his decision to become a graduate transfer several weeks ago, he’s emerged as arguably the hottest name on the market, earning a numerous offers. On Monday alone, Kennedy picked up offers from Arizona State and Oklahoma State.

Like Anderson, Kennedy is an athletic player with good feet in pass protection and the athleticism to get out in space. At 6’5 and 290 pounds, however, he may struggle to change the line of scrimmage at the point of attack as he makes a leap in competition level.

There’s no evidence to suggest any Texas interest in Kennedy, but it’s still worth paying attention to the former Bulldogs standout and keeping an eye on the graduate transfer market as a whole as it continues to mature in the coming weeks.

Update (Tuesday 10:36 p.m. Central): Herb Hand started following Kennedy at some point on Tuesday.