Texas Football: 3 biggest portal losses among defensive players this week

JD Coffey III, Texas football
JD Coffey III, Texas football /
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Jamier Johnson, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Jamier Johnson, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The start to this week saw Texas football lose more than a half dozen players to the NCAA Transfer Portal. On Nov. 29, seven Texas players announced intentions to enter the transfer portal, presumably when the next window opens on Dec. 5.

Granted, it will be interesting to see which players decide to stick it out for the bowl game next month.

Moreover, while I anticipated a good number of Longhorns players to enter the portal upon the Dec. 5 window opening up, it was a bit surprising to see the plethora of entries within just a few hours of each hour early this week.

I’d imagine that the timing had to coincide with the one-on-one player meetings that head coach Steve Sarkisian is holding with his players following the conclusion of the regular season. Those conversations could have a lot to do with these particular portal entries.

Some of the other names that surfaced in the portal, such as junior quarterback Hudson Card, were those that you expected to land on the transfer market almost no matter what happened to round out the regular season.

Which of the four portal entrants are the biggest defensive loss for Texas football?

But some of the defensive portal entries are a little bit more interesting. Here’s a look at three of the most notable defensive losses to the portal from early this week for the Longhorns.

DJ Harris, LB/EDGE

One of the two edge rushers to enter the portal from Texas on Nov. 29 was the former blue-chip recruit and redshirt freshman EDGE/outside linebacker DJ Harris. The second-year edge player was starting to drop down the depth chart this season, likely leading him to explore other options by way of the transfer portal heading into the 2023 offseason.

I will say that of the three Longhorns players on this list to announce their intentions to enter the portal early this week, Harris is probably the one that I am least worried about.

Harris is certainly a talented player, and I think he deserves a shot elsewhere to get more immediate playing time.

But the fact of the matter was that Harris was starting to trend down on the depth chart along the defensive front for the Longhorns this season. After getting at least some rotational reps coming off the edge early last season, Harris only took five defensive snaps throughout the entire 2022 regular season, all of which came in the opener against ULM on Sep. 3.

Harris started out his run on the Forty Acres on a high note, notching his first career sack early last season. But his reps completely dropped off as his development was stunted a little bit by an unfortunate injury he suffered late in high school.

All in all, if there is a reason I had to pick as to why Harris’ transfer could hurt Texas’ defense, it has to do with the lack of depth at edge rusher.

Texas will have the chance to fill that depth thanks to the strong 2023 recruiting class at the position and what is expected to be a more fruitful edge portal class this coming offseason compared to last.