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Texas post-spring roster matrix

The Longhorns still have some flexibility to mine the transfer portal and could have some more attrition as Steve Sarkisian conducts spring exit interviews.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

With the Orange-White game in the rearview mirror, new Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian is conducting spring exit interviews to discuss how far each player has come over the last four months and what they need to do during the summer to best position themselves for the start of preseason camp in August.

On Monday, junior tight end Malcolm Epps announced his plans to enter the NCAA transfer portal, potentially the first of several players to leave the program following those exit interviews, a common development in any program at this time of year, though attrition is generally higher following a coaching change. For this particular group, most of that attrition has probably already happened.

In addition to Epps, seven other players have entered the transfer portal since Sarkisian was hired, including starting linebacker Juwan Mitchell, and three other players entered the portal while Tom Herman was still the head coach.

Texas has also been busy recruiting players out of the portal, as Herman landed McNeese State graduate transfer cornerback Darion Dunn during the early signing period and Sarkisian added LSU graduate transfer outside linebacker Ray Thornton in addition to gaining commitments from Notre Dame graduate transfer defensive end Ovie Oghuofo, Alabama graduate transfer linebacker Ben Davis, New Mexico State linebacker Devin Richardson, and former Michigan wide receiver signee Xavier Worthy.

When Sarkisian first arrived, he wanted to shift the roster away from the large offensive skill position groups towards more big bodies in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Given the desire to eventually not use 20 roster spots on wide receivers and tight ends, securing the commitment of Worthy was especially notable.

Along the offensive line, there hasn’t been any movement other than two departures, and there may not be any additions over the summer with the starting group looking fairly locked in, but Sarkisian has added three defensive line transfers and signed David Obiara on National Signing Day.

Three other defensive line signees arrive this summer, along with potential two-way player Ja’Tavion Sanders, the nation’s No. 1 athlete. Texas did extend an offer to Illinois State defensive tackle transfer John Ridgeway, who committed to Arkansas, but there’s not a strong need at defensive tackle and the outside positions may be finalized now with the Longhorns currently set to field 18 defensive lineman and outside linebackers this fall, including Sanders.

Although landing a graduate transfer offensive lineman with starting ability seems unlikely at this point, the staff could choose to pursue a young developmental offensive lineman in the portal with only two offensive line signees in the 2021 class.

USC linebacker Palaie Gaoteote IV is also on the Texas radar with Jeff Choate likely to try to add another player to his position room. Ranked as the No. 1 inside linebacker in the 2018 class by the 247Sports Composite rankings, Gaoteote was limited to two games during the 2020 season due to a concussion, so that’s a potential concern.

Safety is also a potential position of need with safeties coach Blake Gideon recently following Vanderbilt transfer Donovan Kaufman, a Louisiana prospect who has connections to former Commodores support staffers like Chief of Staff Jason Grooms and Director of Recruiting Operations Taylor Searels, as well as analyst Cordae Hankton, who graduated from and coached at the same high school Kaufman attended.

Texas moved former wide receiver Brenden Schooler and former nickel back Marques Caldwell to the position during spring practice to address depth issues.

With 21 signees in the 2021 recruiting class and six additions from the transfer portal, Texas is now over the 25-man signing limit for this cycle, but it can count as many as five early enrollees against the 2020 class, which would leave three spots still available for other transfers.

There’s also the possibility that when the NCAA officially approves the one-time transfer waiver it could eliminate the 25-man signing limit or increase the number of possible signees with so many schools facing difficult scholarship situations with more players leaving than they can replace under the current rules.

The NCAA Board of Directors will vote on that waiver on Wednesday, so there should be some clarity about signing limits at that time.

In addition, seniors returning for their fifth or sixth seasons of eligibility due to the COVID-related eligibility pause do not count against the 85-man scholarship limit, so it’s not an issue that Texas is currently at 87 scholarships since there are 10 super seniors on the roster.

For the moment, Sarkisian feels like the roster is in a positive spot.

“I feel pretty comfortable with our roster,” Sarkisian said during a post-spring Zoom meeting with reporters on Tuesday. “Clearly, we may not be done yet with the new transfer portal and where things are at, if we can solidify some depth there, some things at different positions, we will try to do that we have the luxury of doing that, based on the rules and where our scholarship numbers are at. So we’re continuing to look into that avenue. Overall, I like our roster, but we always trying to enhance it.”

Here’s the current roster matrix for the Longhorns.

Texas roster matrix

Position 2021 class Redshirt freshmen/sophomores Juniors Seniors/super seniors Total
Position 2021 class Redshirt freshmen/sophomores Juniors Seniors/super seniors Total
QB Charles Wright^ Hudson Card* Casey Thompson 3
RB Jonathon Brooks Bijan Robinson Roschon Johnson Daniel Young 5
Gabriel Watson
WR Jaden Alexis^ Kelvontay Dixon* Jake Smith Montrell Estell 14
Casey Cain Troy Omeire* Marcus Washington
Keithron Lee Dajon Harrison* Al'Vonte Woodard
Xavier Worthy^^ Jordan Whittington* Joshua Moore
Kai Money**
TE Juan Davis^ Brayden Liebrock Jared Wiley Cade Brewer 6
Gunnar Helm^
Ja'Tavion Sanders
OL Hayden Conner^ Tyler Johnson Junior Angilau Tope Imade 14
Max Merril Isaiah Hookfin Rafiti Ghirmai Denzel Okafor
Jake Majors* Christian Jones Derek Kerstetter
Logan Parr*
Jaylen Garth*
Andrej Karic*
DL/OLB Byron Murphy Myron Warren T'Vondre Sweat Jacoby Jones 17
Jordon Thomas Prince Dorbah* Keondre Coburn Ray Thornton
Derrick Harris^ Alfred Collins Moro Ojomo Ovie Oghoufo^^
David Obiara Sawyer Goram-Welch Jett Bush** Ben Davis^^
Vernon Broughton*
ILB Terrence Cooks^ David Gbenda Luke Brockermeyer** DeMarvion Overshown 9
Morice Blackwell Marcus Tillman Jr. Devin Richardson^^
Jaden Hullaby*
Jaylan Ford
DB JD Coffey^ Marques Caldwell Chris Adimora Anthony Cook 15
Jamier Johnson^ Jahdae Barron Tyler Owens BJ Foster
Ishmael Ibraheem Jerrin Thompson Darion Dunn
Kitan Crawford D'Shawn Jamison
Josh Thompson
Brenden Schooler
K/P/DS Isaac Pearson^ Ryan Bujcevski 4
Cameron Dicker 87
Justin Mader**
In transfer portal Transferred * redshirted in 2020
LB Juwan Mitchell RB Keaontay Ingram ** former walk on with scholarship
OT Reese Moore OLB Byron Vaughns ^ early enrollee in the 2021 class
LB Ayodele Adeoye DE Daniel Carson ^^ has not signed ASA with Texas
DE Marqez Bimage CB Jalen Green
TE Malcolm Epps OL Willie Tyler
S Xavion Alford