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North Texas graduate transfer WR Rico Bussey is a name to know for Texas

The Oklahoma native had a big-time season in 2018 and fits the profile of what the Longhorns need in 2020.

NCAA Football: North Texas at Florida Atlantic Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns were recently linked to Michigan Wolverines graduate transfer wide receiver Tarik Black, but on Friday, a more compelling potential target emerged — North Texas Mean Green graduate transfer wide receiver Rico Bussey, whose departure from Denton was reported by Max Olson of The Athletic.

Generally speaking, appealing graduate transfers fall into two primary categories — players like Black at Power Five schools who dealt with injuries or high-producing players from smaller schools who were underrecruited coming out of high school. In 2018, former Cal running back Tre Watson fit the former category for Texas and former Rice offensive tackle Calvin Anderson fit the latter category, though he does have one key similarity to Watson.

Clearly, Bussey fits into the latter category. A consensus two-star prospect out of Lawton, Oklahoma in the 2016 class, Bussey was a productive receiver and runner with more than 2,000 all-purpose yards as a senior, but didn’t attract much recruiting attention — his offers included Arkansas State, Louisiana, Louisiana-Monroe, Wyoming, and the service academies.

After landing in Denton, Bussey started one game as a freshman before emerging as an impact player during his sophomore season, catching 47 passes for 677 yards and seven touchdowns, including eight catches for 109 yards in the Conference USA Championship game against Florida Atlantic.

The next season, Bussey took the next step, leading the Mean Green in receptions (68), receiving yards (1,017), and touchdowns (12). Those 12 touchdowns ranked eighth nationally.

Originally set to end his career at North Texas, Bussey suffered a major setback last year when he tore his ACL in the third game of the season against Cal after opening the campaign with the best game of his career.

After taking advantage of the new redshirt rules, Bussey will now have a chance to jump to the Power Five level — a recently-created Twitter account already features followers from the player personnel departments of Indiana, Mississippi State, Washington, and Virginia.

So it’s still too early to know if Texas will show interest in Bussey, but it would make sense for the Longhorns to evaluate the former Mean Green standout. He was extremely productive as a junior, his recovery timetable should include full clearance by the start of preseason camp, he’s a regional prospect who played in the state of Texas, and he played outside at flanker and X for North Texas at 6’2 and 193 pounds. With the departures of Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay, outside receiver is a position of need for Texas with sophomore Jake Smith poised to replacement Duvernay inside.

So keep an eye on Bussey as his second recruitment moves forward.