Texas Football: UT expected to pursue A&M DL transfer Walter Nolen

Walter Nolen. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Walter Nolen. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The chaos of the December window for underclassmen to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal began early this week, which gives Texas football some potential targets to pursue heading into the offseason. The window for underclassmen to enter the portal opened on Dec. 4.

We’ve already seen some top talents around the FBS, and more specifically, the Power Five, announce their intentions to enter the transfer portal in this December window. More big-time players surfaced in the transfer portal on Dec. 4, and we’re far from done with this cycle’s action.

One player who entered the transfer portal in the December window that has the Longhorns’ attention is the former Texas A&M Aggies sophomore defensive lineman Walter Nolen.

The former elite five-star from Powell (TN) High School is one of the biggest names to surface in the transfer portal so far this cycle.

He announced his intentions to enter the transfer portal on the night of Dec. 3, just before the portal window opened on Dec. 4.

Nolen was the No. 2 rated recruit in the nation and the top defensive line prospect in the 2022 class in the 247Sports Composite and On3 Industry Ranking.

Texas football is reportedly in the running among the schools Texas A&M DL transfer Walter Nolen will consider

Texas appears to be one of the schools Nolen will consider among his top options in the portal heading into the offseason. Nolen’s father, Walter Nolen Sr.,told 247Sports that there are “quite a few SEC schools” they will consider in the transfer portal.

Texas A&M reportedly still has a shot with Nolen, depending on the defensive coordinator who new head coach Mike Elko hires. Nolen and his father reportedly like the hiring of Elko but still want to see what else is out there after the firing of head coach Jimbo Fisher by Texas A&M this fall.

Other schools that Nolen considered among his top group as a recruit coming out of high school will also be on the list for him. The Tennessee Volunteers, Michigan Wolverines, Georgia Bulldogs, and LSU Tigers are all schools Nolen visited and could be interested in after entering the portal this cycle.

The Oregon Ducks, Alabama Crimson Tide, and Texas are also expected to take a swing at Nolen during his portal recruitment.

Texas’s move to the SEC could give them a shot with Nolen

Texas leaving the Big 12 for the SEC in 2024 has helped with defensive line recruiting this cycle. And it could help give the Longhorns a decent shot with Nolen during his portal recruitment, as most of the schools he’s expected to consider are in the SEC.

The Longhorns never offered Nolen when he was being recruited in high school as Texas wasn’t a factor early in his recruitment.

But the tide has shifted in the college football landscape in the last two years since Nolen committed to Fisher and the Aggies in their 2022 class. Texas and DL coach Bo Davis have developed defensive line talent at a rate unmatched by all but a few other Power Five programs in the last couple of seasons.

Texas produced the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and an expected first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft in redshirt senior defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat. Davis and the Longhorns also have the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year, junior defensive tackle Byron Murphy II.

Texas will likely have produced four or five NFL Draft picks at defensive line by next spring, including Keondre Coburn and Moro Ojomo in 2023.

DL is a position of need in the portal for Texas this offseason

Defensive line is expected to be a position Texas targets heavily in the portal this offseason on the defensive side of the ball. Davis and the Longhorns are expected to lose multiple starters along the defensive line to the NFL Draft, including Sweat and Murphy. Senior defensive lineman Alfred Collins also has an NFL Draft decision to make in the coming weeks.

A talented defensive lineman with proven production in the SEC, such as Nolen, would be a tremendous fit in the trenches for Davis and the Longhorns next season. He could slot in as an immediate impact starter who brings NFL-caliber tools and elite upside for the Longhorns in their first year in the SEC in 2024.

We will continue to follow Nolen’s portal recruitment for updates as they come out in the coming days and weeks.

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