While the No. 3 Texas Longhorns are preparing for the College Football Playoffs, they’re already thinking of the future and added a key transfer at safety, Andrew Mukuba, during the portal window.
On Early Signing Day, Mukuba officially became a Longhorn.
Mukuba, a product of LBJ High School, returns to Austin after spending three years as a starter for the Clemson Tigers after taking over the starting role as a true freshman, the first to start at defensive back for the Tigers since the NCAA instituted permanent freshman eligibility in 1972. In his 31 starts and 35 appearances for the Tigers, he accounted for 143 tackles, 17 passes broken up, and an interception, earning third-team All-ACC honors and ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year after his freshman campaign, as well as Honorable Mention honors for his sophomore and junior campaigns.
When Mukuba announced his intentions to transfer earlier this month, Texas became one of the favorites to land his services since he’s from Austin and his former high school coach Jahmal Fenner is now the Director of High School Relations for the Longhorns.
During Mukuba’s initial recruitment, because of the local connections, Texas was thought to be one of the teams to beat for his services, offering a month before the Tigers, who eventually landed his services. Because of the COVID restrictions, he was unable to take official visits and committed to the Tigers in October of his senior season, setting himself up to be an early enrollee for Clemson. He finished his career as the No. 204 overall recruit and the No. 14 safety according to the 247Sports Composite, joining a Clemson recruiting class as one of five top-250 defensive recruits.
His addition via the portal helps meet one of the priorities that Texas had in the portal to shore up the back end of the defense that was hit via graduation and transfers. While no final decisions have been made, Kitan Crawford and Jerrin Thompson were both honored as a part of the Senior Day Celebration and Jalen Catalon has already entered his name into the transfer portal.
Texas will likely need both depth and talent at the position, with Mukuba coming to serve as both as he tries to bolster his NFL Draft stock in Austin.
Analysis (by Daniel Seahorn):
Mukuba comes over from Clemson after a run of being a three-year starter for the Tigers. What kind of talent are we talking about in Mukuba? He became the first true freshman defensive back to make a season opening start for Clemson since 1972 when the NCAA instituted permanent freshman eligibility. This is a guy who has logged a lot of snaps and has been highly thought of since the moment he arrived at Clemson, and now he is coming back home to finish his college career after being heavily pursued by Texas in high school. Texas is getting a feisty and experienced defensive back who is going to challenge receivers in coverage at the catch point. He also shows good range and is a good, reliable tackler in space. I love seeing him arriving at ball carriers in control with his feet underneath him and not being prone to over pursuing. Texas is losing some experience on the back end of their defense heading into 2024, but with Mukuba coming in they now have an experienced player who can project to either nickel or safety because of versatility he has already shown at his previous stop.