Texas Football: 3 new portal entrants UT should target this week

Jake Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jake Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Jake Johnson, TE

Another position of need the Longhorns will address in the 2024 class via high school and portal recruiting is tight end. Special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jeff Banks and the Longhorns need to add depth and an impact starter at tight end this offseason, with All-Big 12 junior Ja’Tavion Sanders expected to enter the NFL Draft next spring.

The only tight end Banks and the Longhorns will likely return in 2024 is junior Gunnar Helm. While Helm is a solid blocking tight end and a serviceable receiver, he isn’t the same level of threat in the passing game as Sanders.

There are a few Power Five tight end transfers with starting experience in the December portal window who Texas has or could consider to fill a spot at the position next year. The one that might make the most sense for the Longhorns to pursue in the portal is the former Texas A&M Aggies sophomore tight end Jake Johnson.

Johnson was among the mass exodus of Texas A&M players who entered the portal since head coach Jimbo Fisher was fired on Nov. 12. He announced his intentions to enter the transfer portal on Dec. 6, a little after his brother and former Texas A&M quarterback Max Johnson entered the portal.

The No. 3 tight end in the transfer portal in the 247Sports Composite emerged as a significant contributor to Texas A&M’s offense as a reliable blocker and receiver. He was a significant part of Texas A&M’s 2022 recruiting class, as the No. 1 tight end recruit in the nation in the 247Sports Composite and On3 Industry Ranking.

The big 6-foot-6 and 240-pound second-year tight end was the most targeted player at the position for the Aggies this fall.

Johnson played a dozen games for the Aggies (starting four of them) during the regular season. He ranked fifth on the team in targets (34) and tied for second in receiving touchdowns (four).

He also made a big impact on Texas A&M as a blocker this fall. He was one of just four tight ends that didn’t have a single blown block in SEC play.

Johnson could be a good option for Banks and the Longhorns to add an immediate starter at tight end with proven Power Five experience, multiple years of eligibility remaining, and the versatility to stand out as a blocker and receiver.