Texas Football: UT's DT portal need highlighted nationally

Entering the spring, the biggest positional need in the transfer portal by far will be adding an impact player at defensive tackle to shore up the depth in the SEC for the upcoming season.
Alfred Collins, Vernon Broughton, Texas football
Alfred Collins, Vernon Broughton, Texas football / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texas football had a big transfer portal haul during the winter window. Texas and head coach Steve Sarkisian signed eight portal commitments during the winter transfer window, which lasted from Dec. 4 to Jan. 31.

Sarkisian and staff did a nice job of addressing various positional needs with immediate impact starters in the transfer portal during the winter window. Texas completely reloaded the receiving corps with three proven Power Five transfers and an NFL-caliber receiving tight end.

Texas football DL coach Kenny Baker will be busy with DT portal recruiting this spring

On the defensive side of the ball, the Longhorns added a transfer at multiple levels of the defense. Texas added an immediate starter at safety in former Clemson junior Andrew Mukuba. Linebacker got an SEC-sized mike in Alabama junior transfer Kendrick Blackshire.

The defensive front also got added some punch with a top edge rusher, redshirt sophomore UTSA transfer Trey Moore, and Arizona transfer DL Tiaoalii Savea.

Texas doesn't have many positional needs left to address in the portal during the spring window, except for a couple that have been pinpointed multiple times on the defensive side of the ball. While the Longhorns did add a proven defensive lineman who will add depth to the DT rotation in Savea, Texas still needs more here from the portal.

The Longhorns lost multiple defensive tackles to the NFL Draft, redshirt senior T'Vondre Sweat and junior Byron Murphy II. Texas also lost a key part of the DT rotation from last year's squad, senior defensive lineman Trill Carter to the transfer portal this offseason.

Lastly, the Longhorns also lost a key member of the 2024 defensive line class when four-star Orlando (FL) Jones defensive tackle D'antre Robinson flipped from Texas to Florida. Robinson didn't show up during move-in day for this semester due to the departure of Texas defensive line coach Bo Davis, who took the same job with the LSU Tigers last month.

New Texas defensive line coach Kenny Baker will have his hands full with recruiting high school and the portal immediately after he was officially hired a few days ago. Baker is already out on the road seeing top recruits along the defensive line in the 2025 and 2026 classes for the Longhorns.

He'll also be busy with portal recruiting during the spring, given the priority of this positional need on the transfer market in the next window.

Multiple key defensive tackle departures has left question marks regarding Texas's depth situation along the interior defensive line. Chris Hummer of 247Sports noted Texas's depth need at defensive tackle among the 10 most pressing positional needs in the portal entering the spring in college football in a piece published earlier this week.

Even if Texas sees senior defensive linemen Alfred Collins and Vernon Broughton emerge as upper-tier starters at defensive tackle in the SEC in 2024, the Longhorns need more depth in the DL rotation. We saw how valuable it was for Texas to have the depth to rotate along the defensive line to keep their top guys fresh in the last couple of years.

It will be even more important for Texas to have the depth necessary to rotate and have options in case injuries start to pile up in the first year playing in the SEC this upcoming season.

If the right guy appears among defensive tackles with proven Power Five experience during the spring transfer window, that should immediately be Baker and Texas's top priority with any portal recruiting.

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