On Dec. 4, Texas football could get sucked into the chaos that is the December window for the NCAA Transfer Portal. Next week, the transfer portal window will open for underclassmen. But we’re already seeing a plethora of big-name grad transfers hit the portal, as they’re eligible to enter at any time.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns haven’t lost any players to the portal yet, though. That could change next week, but Sark and the Longhorns staff have done a nice job with roster management in the last couple of years. Combine the effective roster management with the success Texas has found on the field this fall, and you get a situation where the Longhorns haven’t seen any key players enter the portal since the summer.
Positions of focus for Texas football in the transfer portal next month
When the portal window opens next week, the Longhorns will be watching to see what players become available at key positions of need. Just because the season isn’t over yet for the Longhorns doesn’t mean Sark and his staff won’t be active on the transfer market heading into the offseason.
Here are four key positions of need for the Longhorns that the staff must address in the portal this offseason.
Texas will likely need to hit the portal this offseason to find help at the tight end position, with All-Big 12 First-Team junior Ja’Tavion Sanders expected to enter the NFL Draft next spring. The Longhorns will return one tight end with many live-game reps under his belt, junior Gunnar Helm.
The Longhorns need more depth and a receiving threat at tight end on the roster, assuming Sanders doesn’t return to school next year. Helm is a great blocker and a steady threat in the receiving game.
But Helm isn’t the big-time threat in the passing game from the tight end position that Sark has in the 6-foot-4 Sanders.
Texas did take one tight end in the 2024 class, Houston (TX) Langham Creek three-star Jordan Washington.
Washington has the makings of a solid receiving tight end in Sark’s offense. But he still needs some development for a couple of years on the Forty Acres before he’ll likely be ready to compete for a spot on the two-deep at tight end.
Considering Jeff Banks and the Longhorns aren’t getting an immediate impact tight end from the high school ranks in the 2024 class, the portal is their best option to fill the void left by Sanders’ departure. Texas can get a graduate transfer or a proven underclassmen at tight end via the portal to round out the two-deep with Helm.
That gives Texas an ideal situation on the two-deep at tight end while giving Washington enough time to develop.