Texas Football: Breaking down 3 transfer targets as portal window opens

Traeshon Holden Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Traeshon Holden Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Justin Wright, Texas football
Justin Wright, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports /

On Dec. 5, the first window for the 2023 NCAA Transfer Portal class opened up and Texas football looks to already be pretty active on the open market.

Yet, the transfer portal will remain a two-way street for head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns this coming offseason as it was each of the past two years. Sark and the Longhorns have already seen nearly a double-digit number of players enter the portal in the last week alone.

The difference between this offseason and the past two for Sark and his staff, though, is that it looks like they could be in for a more beneficial run than most in the portal. Texas has the NIL resources and the program trajectory to appeal to most players that would even consider coming to the Forty Acres out of the portal in the first place.

It’s also worth noting that most of the players that the Longhorns lost to the portal in the last week or so aren’t all that impactful. At least in the way of the players that were expected to be starters in 2023, it doesn’t look like the Longhorns have lost anyone to the portal yet.

Moreover, Texas will still have some positional needs to fill via the transfer portal heading into next offseason. And with the portal window opening up to start this week, we can now officially start scouting out which players are worth nabbing out of the portal for Sark and his staff.

Dominic Lovett and the quality portal targets worth noting for Texas football upon the Dec. 5 window opening

Here’s a look at a breakdown of three portal targets to watch for the Longhorns upon the window opening on Dec. 5.

Justin Wright, LB

Texas is likely going to need help at the linebacker position in 2023. And there are already a few names among linebackers in the transfer portal early this week that appear to be sticking out to the defensive staff.

One of the names that Texas appears to have its eye on already in the portal is the former Tulsa Golden Hurricane standout 6-foot-2 and 235-pound redshirt senior linebacker Justin Wright.

It looks like Sark and Brennan Marion are already following Wright on Twitter, and it sounds like an offer is very possible. So, the interest is potentially there between Texas and Wright.

Texas is going to have to most fast, though, if it wants to get in the thick of the race to land a commitment out of the portal from Wright. Already having received offers from the likes of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Iowa State Cyclones, and Wake Forest Demon Deacons, ample interest from other Power Five programs has already been put on display for Wright.

What Wright could bring to the table for the Longhorns out of the portal in 2023 is more valuable linebacker depth with seniors DeMarvion Overshown and Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey likely on the way out. Outside of junior Jaylan Ford, Texas won’t have much returning experience among starters at linebacker in 2023.

Wright is likely best served to play in a hybrid middle linebacker role with this defensive front. He took most of his snaps at Tulsa in the last few seasons at middle linebacker.

The versatility that Wright brings to the table along with his nose to find the football would give Texas a reliable and experienced option at middle linebacker. Wright is good in pass coverage for a middle linebacker as he was one of the top 10 highest-graded Group of Five linebackers in pass coverage during the regular season.

A reason of note as to why the Longhorns might not pursue Wright that much in the portal heading into the upcoming offseason is the recruitment of five-star Denton Ryan linebacker Anthony Hill. If Texas is able to sign Hill in a couple of weeks during the Early Signing Period, the staff might pause on going after any impact linebackers in the portal.