The Texas Longhorns failed to land a plug-and-play edge rusher courtesy of the transfer portal, as former TCU Horned Frogs defensive end Ochaun Mathis announced that he’s headed to Lincoln, choosing the Nebraska Cornhuskers over the Longhorns in an announcement on Saturday in Fort Worth.
During his four seasons at TCU, including the last three that saw him become a consistent contributor, Mathis recorded 135 total tackles and 15.5 sacks, nine of which came during a breakout campaign in 2020.
Rather than tossing his name into the NFL Draft or returning to Fort Worth in hopes of improving upon his 2021 efforts, Mathis entered the NCAA transfer portal on Jan. 12, and Texas almost immediately emerged as an option and furthermore, the favorite. That wasn’t simply because Mathis, a former three-star talent in the 2018 class, is a local product out of Manor, but there was a key connection falling into place behind the scenes as head coach Steve Sarkisian worked to hire longtime Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson, whom Mathis raved about in a bit of a farewell tweet last year.
Since entering the portal more than three months ago, Mathis made multiple trips to the Forty Acres, including the Orange-White game last weekend and the week before. Given that development, despite a push from programs like Nebraska, it was seemingly a foregone conclusion that Mathis would end up in burnt orange, thanks in large part to the Patterson connection.
But it didn’t work out that way for the Longhorns as the Patterson connection and the need at the position wasn’t enough to convince Mathis to land on the Forty Acres, leaving major remaining question marks for Texas off the edge.