Texas Football: 10 portal targets on the Longhorns Christmas wish list

Ja'Had Carter, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Ja'Had Carter, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports /
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Duce Chestnut Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Duce Chestnut Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Duce Chestnut, CB

If Texas is still seeking out help from one more corner by way of the transfer portal, then there are surely some prominent names still available. One name that I personally like as a depth piece for Texas that can play at nickelback or field corner is the former Syracuse Orange sophomore cornerback Darian “Duce” Chestnut.

The 6-foot and 195-pound corner is a former Freshman All-American that was tremendous for Syracuse last season. He registered more than 40 combined tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, eight pass breakups, and 21 stops in 2021. Many could view Chestnut as taking a step back this fall after he posted just one pick and one pass breakup. But that didn’t tell the complete story of his play as a sophomore.

The second-year corner has some real long-term upside after making strides under the radar in the last two seasons. He actually progressed in terms of his defensive and coverage grades year-over-year. This was due to Chestnut’s ability to keep the play in front of him and miss fewer tackles in pass coverage.

All in all, Chestnut could be a nice long-term depth piece that could be either a third corner or someone that could play at nickel for the next couple of seasons. He also has a DB teammate at Syracuse that Texas has a lot of interest in the portal right now.

Fentrell Cypress II, CB

My personal favorite portal player at any position right now is the former Virginia Cavaliers standout junior cornerback Fentrell Cypress II. The All-ACC Second-Team selection graded out among the top 10 FBS corners in terms of defensive grade and top five in the FBS in coverage grade.

The 5-foot-11 and 180-pound standout DB has tremendous coverage skills, timing, and underrated physical tools. When watching his film, the first thing I noticed was his incredible timing when the ball is in the air. He leverages his length and vertical ability to disrupt the pass oftentimes before the receiver even has a chance to make a play on the ball.

Cypress also has pretty incredible route diagnosis and anticipation on the throw. He often sees the throw before it’s made, leading to the 14 pass breakups he registered during the 2022 regular season.

He is one of the true lockdown corners in the ACC during the regular season, highlighted by the fact that he allowed a QBR of just 58.2.

Moreover, Texas was once described as a possible destination to watch for Cypress by Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. Yet, since Texas landed a commitment from another ACC transfer corner in Holmes, I don’t know how much Texas will press the issue with Cypress.