The 72 hours prior to the effective closing of the NCAA’s transfer portal are tumultuous in college football circles. And while Pittsburgh All-American wide receiver Jordan Addison’s will-he-won’t-he flirtation with the portal dominates most of the conversation, nearly every school is dealing with the new realities of college football as we wait for the May 1 transfer portal deadline dust to settle.
No team better represents the new normal than the Texas Longhorns. Not only was Texas engaged in a heated recruiting battle for a top transfer target, but it was also attempting to protect its own roster from the tampering winds that are gusting across the sport.
The best place to start is TCU transfer Ochaun Mathis.
The No. 25 overall player in the 247Sports Transfer Rankings, Mathis was a top target for the Longhorns, who sorely need pass-rushing help off the edge. Mathis grew up right outside of Austin and had a strong connection at Texas in new special assistant to the head coach, Gary Patterson, his former coach at TCU. And while Mathis visited Austin four times and was considered a heavy Longhorn lean throughout the process, he ultimately chose Nebraska.
Multiple sources have indicated to 247Sports that Mathis’ decision to pick the Huskers had to do in large part because of a significant NIL deal Nebraska presented, which a source said was in the mid-six-figure range.
While that battle on the transfer recruiting trail was ongoing, the Longhorns were battling to keep their roster intact — outside of the expected roster purge that did occur.
Among the players targeted by other schools was True Freshman All-American wide receiver Xavier Worthywho a source said had a significant six-figure offer from at least one Power Five school to enter the portal and attend their program.
That’s something the Longhorns managed to fend off, according to Horns247 senior writer Jeff Howe.
“He’s not leaving,” a source told Howe. “You can take that to the bank.”
A budding superstar who caught 62 passes for 981 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman, Worthy would have been a massive loss for the Longhorns.
That’s not all. Sources say third-year defensive back Jahdae Barron, Texas’ projected starting nickelback, was also approached by a Power Five program with a significant deal to enter the portal. As of Monday evening, Barron’s name has not popped up in the transfer portal (Horns247’s Mike Roach has more here).
Three names, three different storylines. It’s just a glimpse into the bonanza that is college football right now as the transfer portal window, lightly regulated NIL policies and post-spring depth charts collide.
“It’s the new norm,” said one Power Five assistant coach.