Texas Football: Go get 5-Star Penn St transfer WR Justin Shorter

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

A potential goldmine hit the NCAA Transfer Portal on Nov. 26 for the Texas football program with former Penn State wide receiver Justin Shorter.

The news of the NCAA Transfer Portal is sure to catch up with the Texas football program in the news cycle in due time. Last offseason, head Texas football coach Tom Herman couldn’t seem to keep his program out of the transfer portal news. But he’s off to a better start in the transfer department heading into the 2020 offseason.

The Texas Longhorns football program could get off to a much better start this year in the transfer portal than they did last by jumping on some of the bigger names they could bring into the mix. Getting a head start on that front in bringing in immediate impact transfers would be refreshing news for Herman and the Longhorns.

With all the controversy that the Longhorns sit in the midst of at the moment, an injection of talent like what could come from landing a big time transfer candidate could be exactly what’s needed. What could inject a boost of energy on the offensive side of the ball for the Longhorns long-term, in terms of hitting the transfer portal, is pursuing the former Penn State Nittany Lions five-star recruit and wide receiver Justin Shorter.

According to an ESPN report, the former highly touted five-star recruit Shorter put his name in the transfer portal on Nov. 26. Penn State head coach James Franklin acknowledged the possible transfer intentions of Shorter in a press conference earlier this week. But he didn’t acknowledge that Shorter was for sure intending to transfer out of the Penn State football program.

Playing in eight games this season, Shorter would lose his opportunity to redshirt. He would have to play in four games or less to take advantage of the rather new NCAA redshirt rule. Yet, he would still likely have two years of eligibility left wherever he lands next.

According to his 247Sports recruiting profile, Shorter ranked as the No. 8 2018 high school prospect in the nation and the top overall wide receiver. He was a 6-foot-4 and 220 pound native of Monmouth Junction, NJ, and is a product of South Brunswick High School. Shorter held 16 schools on his offer sheet, mostly from the Big Ten and the ACC. A lot of his recruiting attention coming out of high school came from schools on the east coast in general.

Of the 16 offers he held, outside of Penn State, the more significant ones came from the Michigan Wolverines, Miami Hurricanes, North Carolina Tar Heels, Ole Miss Rebels, Syracuse Orange, Tennessee Volunteers, Wisconsin Badgers, Virginia Tech Hokies, and the West Virginia Mountaineers. He was missing a lot of big time blue blood football programs on his offer list, including the Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners out of the Big 12.

Considering how much firepower usually comes out of Big 12 programs in passing games in particular, the lack of attention he got from the entire conference is a bit confusing. West Virginia was his only significant offer that came from a Big 12 school.

However, this could be a chance to turn over a new leaf between Shorter and the Big 12 schools. The Longhorns in particular would be wise to target him now that he’s put his name in the transfer portal. Testing the waters to see how he meshes with Herman and the rest of this Longhorns football program would be a good move through and through.

During his two seasons with Penn State, Shorter played in 11 games amassing 15 receptions for 157 yards and no touchdowns. He averaged 10.5 yards per catch, but didn’t get a very large role under Franklin in the last two seasons. Injuries held him back so far, including a dislocated knee cap that kept him out through most of his freshman campaign.

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With all the wide receiver depth the Longhorns are set to lose following the 2019 season, including the senior duo of Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson, there needs to be a solution in mind. Texas doesn’t have much certainty if the headliners in the receiving corps are set to be freshman Jake Smith and sophomore Brennan Eagles.

Targeting Shorter out of the transfer portal could be a low-risk, high-reward move next offseason for Herman and the Longhorns.