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Texas announces addition of LSU grad transfer LB Ray Thornton

The Killeen Shoemaker product is returning to the state of Texas.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian reportedly landed his first graduate transfer since taking over on the Forty Acres with the commitment of former LSU Tigers outside linebacker Ray Thornton on Sunday, according to Inside Texas.

Horns247 confirmed the news.

On Wednesday, Texas announced the addition after Thornton himself confirmed the move late Tuesday.

The 6’3, 225-pounder recently entered the NCAA transfer portal looking for a new destination for his sixth season of eligibility.

A Killeen Shoemaker product, Thornton was a consensus four-star prospect in the 2016 recruiting class and chose LSU over six other offers, including one from Charlie Strong’s staff at Texas.

Thornton redshirted during his first season in Baton Rouge and was a part-time starter for the Tigers in 2017 and 2018 playing outside linebacker before moving inside under Bo Pelinin 2020. It was Thornton’s best season as he recorded the second and third sacks of his career along with a forced fumble. Thornton had five total tackles in nine games during the 2020 season.

The Longhorns are in need of some help on the edge after consensus All-American Joseph Ossai declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. Defensive end Marqez Bimage will reportedly return after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns and could play on the edge after dropping 20 pounds following the 2019 season. Jumbo athlete Ja’Tavion Sanders could also play the position, but it’s not yet clear where Sarkisian plans to use the two-way Denton Ryan standout.

Based on Thornton’s career at LSU, he’s not a clearcut starter at Texas, but he will add some depth and has enough athleticism that he could finally brought through as a quality contributor.