Texas Football: 2 ex-UT starters still available in portal

Jerrin Thompson, Texas football
Jerrin Thompson, Texas football / Sara Diggins-USA TODAY Sports
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Jerrin Thompson, Texas football
Jerrin Thompson, Texas football / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /

Jerrin Thompson, S

Among the former Longhorns transfers early this offseason, the one who had the most starting experience is senior safety Jerrin Thompson. The fourth-year starter at safety started 31 games over his four seasons at Texas. He's also one of just a handful of Longhorns defenders with at least one year of eligibility remaining, with over 2,000 defensive snaps in his collegiate career.

Thompson started the most games of any safety for co-defensive coordinator/LB coach Pete Kwiatkowski and the Longhorns in the last two seasons (23).

Thompson is one of the casualties of the former safety room getting moved out so that the Longhorns can usher in a new era for this secondary (specifically at the safety position) heading into the SEC this year.

Inconsistent safety play was a big issue in the secondary for the Longhorns during the 2023 season. Texas's safeties were up and down at best in coverage in 2023. Texas gave up the fifth-most passing yards in the Big 12 last season when its safeties were targeted in pass coverage and had the third-highest passer rating against.

It says all you need to know that while Texas had multiple senior starters back at safety last fall, true freshman Derek Williams Jr. was still the best cover guy at the position.

To usher in this new era in the secondary for Texas, the Longhorns signed the highest-rated defensive back class in the nation for the 2024 recruiting cycle. Texas signed multiple elite defensive back recruits from the high school ranks in the 2024 class, namely five-star safety Xavier Filsaime and high-four-star cornerback Kobe Black.

Texas also landed an immediate impact starter in the secondary via the transfer portal in the former Clemson Tigers junior safety Andrew Mukuba. Depending on senior DB Jahdae Barron's decision for the 2024 NFL Draft (which is expected in the next few days), Mukuba could be the starter at nickel in 2024.

If Barron returns, Mukuba can start at one of the safety positions given his versatility and proven experience at multiple spots in the secondary during his three seasons at Clemson.

A report from Swamp247 on Jan. 8 (paid content) mentions the Florida Gators as a program that is making Thompson's portal recruitment a top priority early this offseason. Florida sounds like the school to watch for Thompson in the portal right now.