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Receiver Kelvontay Dixon, who entered the transfer portal Friday, ends his UT career with 12 catches for 176 yards and this touchdown in the 2020 Alamo Bowl.
FILE – In this Nov. 9, 2019, file photo, Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian watches warmups before an NCAA football game against LSU in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Texas has hired Sarkisian as the Longhorns new coach. The move comes just a few hours after Texas announced the firing of Tom Herman after four seasons with no Big 12 championships. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)
AUSTIN — At least 1,100 college football players were registered in the NCAA transfer portal during the month of April, according to tracking data compiled by College Football Playoff partner SportSource analytics.
That’s nearly a twofold increase from April 2019 (595), the first spring in which the new compliance system was active. The number was 1,037 last April, and as of this April 29 there were 1,102 players floating around looking for a new program.
A handful of Longhorns joined that crush this week, too, just ahead of Sunday’s deadline to be eligible for the NCAA’s one-time transfer waiver. Too late and they’d have to sit out the entire academic year.
Fourth-year defensive lineman Myron Warren, third-year linebacker Jaden Hullaby and second-year edge defender Jordon Thomas have informed Texas’ compliance department of their intent to transfer. Those decisions likely stemmed from post-spring practice exit interviews with coach Steve Sarkisian.
Hullaby wasn’t able to crack the depth chart at linebacker and spent some time this spring training as a running back. Warren had played just three games in three years. Thomas didn’t make an appearance as a true freshman.
“I’ll meet with every player individually all of next week to give them a gauge of where we think they’re at in our program,” Sarkisian said last Thursday. “And whether that’s as a student, whether that’s in the training room, whether that’s from a football perspective, whether that’s in their personal life, so they know. And then we give them areas of things that we want them to work on over the summer.”
Texas lost a couple receivers Friday, too.
Sophomore Kelvontay Dixon and redshirt freshman Dajon Harrison appeared in the portal within minutes of one another, according to multiple reports.
Dixon recorded 12 catches for 176 yards and one touchdown in 15 games. Harrison did not record any statistics in his lone appearance last season.
But Texas also has benefited from the nationwide mad dash into the transfer portal.
Second-year Alabama wideout Agiye Hall committed to Texas last week. The fifth-ranked receiver in 247Sports’ composite 2021 class rankings, Hall caught four passes for 72 yards last season, including two for 52 in the national championship game.
Texas added another wideout Thursday with Montana graduate transfer Gabe Sulser’s commitment. The walk-on should add some emergency depth at receiver and could carve out a role on special teams.
“I reached out to them when I got into the portal, and they were willing to give me a chance,” Sulser told MontanaSports.com Thursday. “I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity and ready to get down there and get to work.”
There’s at least one more major Texas target who still hasn’t picked a program: Ochaun Mathis.
A former three-star recruit out of Manor, Mathis blossomed into one of the Big 12’s best defensive lineman playing under former coach Gary Patterson at TCU. (Patterson just so happens to be Sarkisian’s new “special assistant.”)
After playing sparingly as a true freshman, Mathis tallied 131 tackles, 30½ tackles for loss and 15½ sacks over the past three seasons. The two-time second-team All-Big 12 lineman will choose between Texas and Nebraska during a 3 p.m. Saturday signing ceremony.
“The edge has gotten better,” Texas fifth-year defensive tackle Moro Ojomo said. “Hopefully, we get this TCU defensive end. We need some depth in that position.”
There will be more movement over the final two days of the month. And once May hits, it’s onto the next phase.
“We’ve got we got to finish up the spring semester (strong),” Sarkisian said. “And then when the summer rolls around, we get an influx of another new batch of players And the NCAA has changed the ruling some now where we can have a little bit more access to the players as a coaching staff from a meeting standpoint, as well as some on-field training. And so we’re going to definitely take advantage of that.”
Two 2023 recruits verbally committed to Texas after last weekend’s Orange-White spring game, bringing the class up to five players.
Four-star Houston Aldine Eisenhower receiver Ryan Niblett and four-star DeSoto running back Tre Wisner both picked the Longhorns, joining Houston C.E. King defensive lineman Dylan Spencer, Arlington Seguin safety Jamel Johnson and North Crowley linebacker S’Maje Burrell.
Wisner rushed for 909 yards and 12 touchdowns on 77 carries (11.8 yards per carry) last season. The two-way star also recorded 74 tackles.
Niblett did a little bit of everything for Aldine Eisenhower, scoring 19 touchdowns as a two-way playmaker to earn District 14-6A all-purpose player of the year honors.
Nick Moyle is a New Jersey native and an alum of Rutgers University and Indiana University’s National Sports Journalism Center. He joined the Express-News in 2015.