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NCAA transfer portal tracker v. 3.4: Texas set to host Andrew Mukuba, Matthew Golden on visits

The Longhorns are starting to hone in on several important targets in the portal.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Miami Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Despite an emphasis on high school football recruiting, Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff were already aware of needs in the NCAA transfer portal when the transfer window opened for 30 days in early December.

Those needs include high-priority positions like wide receiver and defensive line and a handful of other positions where the Longhorns could look to add potential starters or contributors — Sarkisian has taken between five and seven transfers in each of his first three cycles on the Forty Acres and could hit the low end of those numbers to buttress the 2024 recruiting class.

Some clear targets are now emerging for the Texas personnel department and taking the visits that will determine their ultimate destinations.


Wide receivers

South Carolina’s Juice Wells

The James Madison transfer was the first wide receiver linked to Texas when the transfer window opened. A 6’1, 208-pounder, Wells recorded 68 catches for 928 yards and six touchdowns last season in Columbia before almost the entirety of the 2023 campaign after suffering a preseason left foot injury that required surgery during preseason camp.

Last week, Texas was expected to host Wells, but the visit never materialized and Wells was hosted in Oxford by Ole Miss, slotting the Rebels as the leader in his recruitment with one 247Sports Crystal Ball entered in favor of Lane Kiffin’s program.

Purdue’s Deion Burks

The Longhorns reportedly offered the Boilermakers transfer, who had a breakout redshirt sophomore season with 47 catches for 629 yards and seven touchdowns, and there was some discussion of Burks visiting Austin, but the Michigan product committed to Oklahoma on Tuesday.

Houston’s Matthew Golden

The Klein Cain product who played with Texas sophomore running back Jaydon Blue in high school will instantly become one of the most sought-after wide receivers and players overall once his name his the portal. The Longhorns offered Golden late in the 2022 cycle following his decommitment from the Horned Frogs, but at that point the Cougars had been recruiting him for about 15 months and the hometown school won out. In addition to Golden’s pass-catching skills, he’s also an elite kick returner and could quickly became the priority portal target for Texas at wide receiver.

It’s been days now since the Houston standout told On3 that he plans on entering the portal without any official news about Golden’s name surfacing in the portal. The likely holdup is how Willie Fritz decides to construct his new Cougars coaching staff — if Fritz retains wide receivers coach Dakiel Shorts, it’s possible that Golden could chance his plans and decline to enter the portal. So for now Golden’s future is in a holding pattern.

Off the board: One-time Texas target Braylon James committed to TCU on Monday after spending one season at Notre Dame.


Defensive line

The former No. 2 prospect in the 2022 recruiting class entered the portal after Texas A&M defensive line coach Elijah Robinson accepted the defensive coordinator position at Syracuse. After recording 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks this season, Nolen is a rare interior lineman in the portal with a combination of recruiting pedigree and production in college. Unsurprisingly, Texas made contact with Nolen. However, there isn’t any buzz about Nolen making his way to Austin after taking a visit to Oregon last week and planning a visit to Ole Miss this week.

LT Overton

Texas was one of a handful of schools to make contact with the Texas A&M transfer after he entered the portal last week. Last weekend, South Carolina was scheduled to host Overton and his brother on an official visit with Alabama also in the mix.


Edge

UTSA’s Trey Moore

The redshirt sophomore from San Antonio had a breakout 2022 season and then earned AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors thanks to a monster 2023 campaign with 17.5 tackles for loss and 14.0 sacks, three passes broken up, one interception, and one forced fumble. A source close to Moore told Burnt Orange Nation last year that Moore was considering entering the portal and had interest in Texas, but he remained at UTSA after head coach Jeff Traylor complained about other programs tampering with his players.

The Longhorns hosted Moore for a visit last weekend.

Ohio State is expected to get Moore on campus in Columbus this week, establishing the Buckeyes as the primary competition for the Longhorns.


Safety

Clemson’s Andrew Mukuba

Mukuba signed with Clemson out of Austin LBJ in the 2021 class as a significant miss for Texas and turned in there productive seasons for the Tigers, including 42 tackles, two tackles for loss, and six pass broken up this year. There’s now an even deeper tie for Mukuba to the Longhorns than simply growing up in Austin — Texas hired his high school coach, Jahmal Fenner, as the program’s Director of High Schools Relations last January.

The Longhorns are among a handful of schools expected to host Mukuba this week.


Updates

12/12 5:07 p.m. Central

Golden finally announced his entrance into the portal on Tuesday.

Within 10 minutes of Golden’s tweet, 247Sports Director of Football Recruiting Steve Wiltfong entered a Crystal Ball in favor of Texas. With the Longhorns seemingly backing away from Wells and Burks, Golden is now the clear top target at wide receiver with Texas quickly becoming the favorite to land him.

Golden’s old high school teammate certainly seemed to take notice.

12/12 5:43 p.m. Central

Houston defensive tackle Ja’Maree Caldwell joined Golden in the portal on Tuesday.

A high school offensive lineman in South Carolina, Caldwell went to Hutchinson CC and Independence CC before landing in Houston, where he broke out as a redshirt junior with 27 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and one forced fumble in 2023. Look for Caldwell to quickly become the first serious defensive tackle target for the Longhorns in the portal.

12/14 10:33 a.m. Central

Texas is set to host Mukuba on Friday with the hopes of locking down a commitment from the Austin native.

12/14 10:43 a.m. Central

Another priority target is expected to be on campus on Thursday.