In the first week of the December window opening for underclassmen to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal, Texas football has lost seven players. As of the writing of this article early in the afternoon of Dec. 9, Texas has lost three offensive players and four defensive players to the transfer portal.
On the first day of the transfer portal window opening on Dec. 4, Texas lost two defensive backs: senior safety Jalen Catalon and redshirt freshman cornerback X’Avion Brice. In the coming days, the Longhorns lost a mix of a couple of more defensive backs to the portal, one offensive lineman, and two wide receivers.
The other defensive backs the Longhorns lost to the portal this week were redshirt freshman safeties Larry Turner-Gooden and BJ Allen Jr. And the three offensive players for the Longhorns who entered the portal this week were junior interior offensive lineman Sawyer Goram-Welch, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Casey Cain, and redshirt junior wide receiver Isaiah Neyor.
Who could be the next Texas football player to enter the transfer portal after Isaiah Neyor on Dec. 8?
The three most significant portal departures for the Longhorns this week were the players who were expected to fill starting roles at some point in the last two seasons: Catalon, Neyor, and Cain.
Last season, Neyor was expected to be the starter at boundary receiver after transferring from Wyoming. He unfortunately suffered a season-ending knee injury in preseason camp last year, which has essentially limited his snaps in the last two campaigns at Texas to next to nothing.
Meanwhile, Cain got a handful of starts at boundary receiver for the Longhorns last season after Neyor suffered the season-ending knee injury. But neither Neyor nor Cain started a single game at wideout this season due to Texas bringing in the former Georgia transfer Adonai Mitchell from the portal to start on the boundary.
Catalon started five games early this season. But he missed a ton of time in the second half of the regular season due to multiple injury issues, which has largely been the story of his collegiate career between his five years at Texas and Arkansas.
All told, the Longhorns have done pretty well regarding roster management in the portal this week. Texas hasn’t lost any important starters to the portal, and none of the transfer departures are too shocking.
Here’s a prediction of the next Longhorns player could who could enter the portal in the December window.
Juan Davis, TE
Tight end is expected to be one of the positions Sark, special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jeff Banks, and the Longhorns address in the transfer portal heading into the offseason. With the Longhorns expecting to lose All-Big 12 junior tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders to the NFL Draft next spring, Banks will be looking for an immediate impact starter at the position.
Junior tight end Gunnar Helm will be the only player at the position on the current roster who is expected to return to school next season with significant live-game reps under his belt. Texas does have some potent underclassmen on the roster at the tight end position returning next season, namely true freshmen Spencer Shannon and Will Randle.
The only other scholarship tight end on the roster with any live-game experience at the collegiate level is junior Juan Davis. The 6-foot-4 and 219-pound Fort Worth, TX, native Davis has taken just over 100 offensive snaps over three seasons at Texas.
Despite Davis being the only upperclassman in the tight end room outside of Sanders and Helm, he hasn’t been able to make much progress on the two-deep in the last few years. He hasn’t shown the strides as a blocking tight end required to be a significant factor in Sark’s offense.
Given his route-running ability and quickness, Davis is more of a pure receiving tight end. That’s largely what has limited Davis: he isn’t the level of receiving threat that someone like Sanders is.
Sark and the Longhorns have other proficient threats in the receiving corps they would rather line up out wide on offense than Davis.