The transfer portal opened for business earlier this week and since then it has been non-stop action as schools and players alike look to improve their current status. What used to be a period of down time prior to bowl games has now turned to one of the most hectic times of the year between the transfer portal and the early signing period. Coaching staffs now have to have a good pulse on their remaining high school targets as well as guys who are in the portal (or who could potentially end up in the portal).
The Texas Longhorns enter this stretch of a cycle with a top five-ranked recruiting class, while still feverishly pursuing targets, but they are also scouring the portal for players that could potentially plug holes in their roster for 2023. Thus far the staff has been pretty patient with only one reported offer at this time to Wake Forest cornerback Gavin Holmes, a potential contributor at the boundary cornerback position D’Shawn Jamison is set to vacate.
While I am sure some thought offers would be flying left in right come Monday, it is clear that head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff are being choosy about who they are going to pursue. The Longhorns do have some holes that need to be filled before next fall, but things aren’t as dire as they were in years prior.
Let’s take a look at some positions the staff could look to upgrade in the portal this offseason.
This is a position that needed upgrading last offseason and the staff was unable to do so despite pursuing several targets that hit the market. This time around, things aren’t nearly as dire with the emergence of Barryn Sorrell, who had himself a breakout season. The Longhorns are set to lose Ovie Oghoufo to graduation following the bowl game and they will be looking to build upon finishing top five in the country in generating pressures on the quarterback.
You can never have enough pass rushers and if the Texas staff can find an upgrade to pair up with Sorrell for 2023, they will have a nice nucleus of talent to work with on the defensive side of the ball.
This is probably the biggest need of the group for me, as the Texas offense will dictate the ceiling of this team in 2023. Xavier Worthy (at least as of Friday) will be back to lead this group after earning All-Big 12 honors once again, but he is going to need some sidekicks to help take the pressure off.
Jordan Whittington was a reliable target all season long, but he is set to depart Austin unless he has a change of heart after walking on Senior Day. Isaiah Neyor is recovering from a knee injury suffered prior to the season, Tarique Milton is graduating, and Agiye Hall, Brenen Thompson, and Savion Red are all still green and inexperienced.
Just like they did with Neyor last offseason, you can expect the staff to be proactively scouring the portal for someone who can step in immediately and get targets for next season and they will likely aim as high as possible.
Texas got solid production out of Anthony Cook and Jerrin Thompson this year, but the depth isn’t where they quite want it to be. Cook is set to graduate and was a damn warrior this year despite breaking his forearm against Oklahoma State.
Thompson will be back for one last ride in 2023, but that spot next him will need to be solidified on the back end. Kitan Crawford and BJ Allen will be in the mix come the spring, but I think this is a ripe spot for the staff to go pluck a vet out of the portal.
The biggest piece set to return in 2023 at this position is Jaylan Ford, who had a breakout season on his way to earning first-team All-Big 12 honors. I still stand by my previous opinion that he got snubbed out of Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.
On the other side of the ledger, Texas is losing both DeMarvion Overshown and Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey to graduation, so they will have to replace a lot of snaps and experience next to Ford this offseason.
Much like at safety, I could see the staff potentially kicking tires on veteran backer to bridge the gap while they wait for the young pups to start biting. I will be watching Mo Blackwell this spring, as he was moved to linebacker full time down the home stretch of the season. He will likely get the first crack at being the guy at the Will linebacker position.
It was a busy news day on the specialist front for the Longhorns. On Friday afternoon, punter Isaac Pearson announced that he was entering the transfer portal and then Eric Nahlin of Inside Texas reported that Texas is set to host Stanford punter Ryan Sanborn for a visit this weekend.
God bless Texas.— Isaac Pearson (@Isaac_Pearson49) December 9, 2022
Excited for the next chapter! pic.twitter.com/636ldOMFKe
The staff is set to lose Daniel Trejo after bringing him in late in preseason camp this year and it looks like they are already being very proactive about finding a replacement from the portal.
If the staff is able to secure punter in short order, they will be able to cross that need off the checklist prior to the new year.
What do you think is the biggest need that needs to be addressed this offseason?