Texas football and head coach Steve Sarkisian landed their first commitment from the NCAA Transfer Portal in the December window this weekend. Texas picked up a portal commitment on Dec. 16 from the former Houston Cougars sophomore standout wide receiver Matthew Golden.
Golden announced on social media on the night of Dec. 16 that he committed to Texas via the transfer portal. He has two years of eligibility remaining after spending two seasons under now-former head coach Dana Holgorsen at Houston.
Golden was one of Houston's top threats in the receiving corps in the last two seasons. He broke onto the scene as an early impact wideout during the 2022 campaign at Houston, registering nearly 600 receiving yards receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 38 catches.
Texas football adds an immediate impact playmakers to the WR corps in Houston transfer Matthew Golden
He continued to show off his versatility and explosiveness this season, but injuries limited his production while playing just nine games for Houston. Golden also showed out on special teams this season, leading the FBS with two kick returns for touchdowns.
Golden fills a key position of need for Sark, wide receivers coach Chris Jackson, and the Longhorns at wideout heading into the first year for Texas competing in the SEC in 2024. Texas needed to add depth and impact players in the receiving corps who could be immediate starters, since Jackson and Sark are expecting to lose all three starters to the NFL Draft this coming offseason.
The speed and elusiveness that Golden brings to the table makes him a tremendous fit in Sark's offense. Texas can line him up at multiple different spots pre-snap at receiver and find creative ways to get him the ball in space to create big plays.
The 6-foot and 190-pound Golden is a burner with top-notch straight-line speed and lightning quick agility and acceleration. Golden was a track star at Klein Cain High School in the Houston area, where he clocked a 100-meter dash time of nearly 10.9 seconds.
Golden has a diverse route tree thanks to his get-off speed from the line of scrimmage. His combination of short-area quickness and straight-line speed allows him to create a lot of separation running routes in the intermediate and deep passing game.
You can also get him the ball behind the line of scrimmage or in short developing route concepts to let him make plays in space after the catch.
Golden's ability to burn opposing DBs while running different route concepts at different levels of the field is similar to what Texas has at field receiver in junior stud Xavier Worthy. Golden would be a natural replacement for Worthy at field receiver.
It's crazy to think the vast number of ways Sark and the Longhorns can attack opposing pass defenses with two receivers as speedy and elusive as Golden and freshman Johntay Cook II.
Inside Texas brought up a valid point in a breakdown of Golden's fit at Texas on Dec. 16. IT mentioned the crossover in Cook and Golden's skill sets. They're both burners with smaller frames (between 5-foot-11 and 6-foot) whose natural fit is field receiver.
But the beauty of having two dangerous playmakers as speedy and versatile as Cook and Golden is that they can be moved around in different pre-snap looks on offense. Sark can move Cook and Golden in and out of the slot to attack different parts of the field through the air against opposing secondaries in the SEC next season.
Golden is a natural at receiver with reliable hands
Two parts of Golden's game that aren't talked about enough are his improving hands and the ability to make in-air adjustments to track the ball in and make the catch.
After Golden got off to a rough start this season regarding dropping the ball through the first three games, he became an incredibly consistent target for Houston quarterback Donovan Smith for the rest of the campaign. At least while he was healthy, Golden was one of the most reliable receivers for Smith and the Cougars this fall.
Golden didn't have a single drop after Week 3 against TCU.
Moreover, while Golden isn't the biggest receiver regarding his length and verticality, he makes up for that with his ability to track the ball and make the necessary in-route adjustments to bring down the catch. He's a dynamic athlete with tremendous body control, allowing him to play through contact and high-point the football to extend his catch radius.
Golden has the physicality and ability to become a consistently-stout run blocker at receiver
Golden was the highest-graded run blocker among Houston's starting wideouts in each of the last two seasons. When he shows the effort with his blocking for the run and the screen game, Golden's physicality and strength really come together as a stout blocker at multiple levels of the field.
It's the consistency that Golden needs to show more often to become a truly effective blocker on the outside, especially for the run game. He has the ability to become a Jordan Whittington-level blocker if the efforts shows up consistency for Golden.
Chris Jackson can help unlock Golden's potential at Texas
As dynamic of an athlete as Golden is, there are still a few parts of his game that need some developing to really unleash the full potential he presents as a dangerous receiver in this offense. Golden can improve his balance and the tightness of his route running coming in and out of breaks.
From a technical perspective, Jackson should really be able to unlock the full potential of Golden's route tree. Jackson has that NFL experience as he was the wide receivers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars before coming to Texas earlier this year. That NFL pedigree and strong track record of developing wide receiver talent at multiple levels of football should resonate with Golden.