July 13, 2024

Texas football and head coach Steve Sarkisian achieved a significant win in the NCAA Transfer Portal on May 9 when they landed defensive tackle Jermayne Lole, a senior grad transfer from the Louisville Cardinals who had previously committed to the Oklahoma Sooners.

Will Texas football use its remaining scholarship spots to fill needs on defense and special teams in the portal this spring?

Lole marks Texas’s third addition at defensive tackle from the transfer portal this offseason, and he becomes the 11th player to join the Longhorns’ 2024 portal class. Alongside former Arizona Wildcats grad transfer defensive tackles Bill Norton and Tia Savea, Lole bolsters the depth in the middle of the defense. All three additions bring over four years of Power Five live-game experience.

Oklahoma Lands Transfer Portal Pledge from Former Louisville, ASU DL  Jermayne Lole

Collectively, Norton, Savea, and Lole have accumulated over 4,000 career defensive snaps in the Power Five. Sarkisian and the Longhorns’ staff addressed the need for more experience and depth at defensive tackle, and in doing so, they weakened one of their key SEC rivals, Oklahoma.

It seems the Longhorns aren’t finished strengthening their roster via the portal this spring. Here’s a prediction of who could be the next transfer addition for Texas.

Johnny Bowens, DL

Before Texas successfully recruited Lole from Oklahoma, the top target for defensive tackle in the transfer portal appeared to be Johnny Bowens III, a freshman transfer from Oregon Ducks. Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 290 pounds, Bowens garnered interest from Texas after entering the portal on April 26.

If Texas continues to pursue Bowens, he would likely be seen as a player with long-term potential rather than someone who would immediately impact the interior defensive line rotation in 2024.

Targeting Bowens aligns with Texas’s need to replenish depth and younger talent, especially after losing four-star defensive line signee D’antre Robinson, who decommitted a few months ago. With only three defensive tackle signees from high school in the last two cycles, Bowens could provide valuable depth.

Texas had shown interest in Bowens during his high school recruitment in the 2023 class. Both Texas and Texas A&M were among the top three schools behind Oregon when he committed to the Ducks.

Additionally, Bowens is local to the Austin area, having attended Judson High School in Converse, TX, which is about an hour outside of Austin.

In summary, Texas recently secured a significant commitment from the NCAA Transfer Portal by recruiting senior defensive tackle Jermayne Lole from Oklahoma, addressing a crucial need along the interior defensive line. However, they might still target Bowens to further bolster their defensive tackle position.

Texas football addresses portal need at DL by flipping Jermayne Lole from OU

On May 9, Hayes Fawcett from On3 was the first to report that the Longhorns had successfully persuaded Lole to flip his commitment from their rivals, the Sooners. Initially, Lole had committed to Oklahoma on April 24.

Lole, a 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive tackle from Long Beach, CA, has one year of eligibility remaining as a sixth-year senior grad transfer. He spent his first four collegiate years with the Arizona State Sun Devils from 2018 to 2021, though injuries limited his playing time and production in his final two years there.

 

Oklahoma DL Transfer Flips to Texas

In the 2022 offseason, Lole transferred to the Louisville Cardinals, where he managed to play more games, including leading all interior defensive linemen in snaps in 2023. Despite injuries limiting him to just one game in 2022, last year he recorded 19 tackles, five tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 13 quarterback pressures, 12 defensive stops, two batted balls, and one forced fumble over double-digit games.

The addition of Lole is part of Texas’s strategy, led by new co-defensive coordinator/linebacker coach Johnny Nansen and defensive line coach Kenny Baker, to bolster the interior defensive line with experienced transfers this offseason. With three grad transfer defensive tackles added since the start of the offseason, Texas aims to solidify depth in the middle of their defense ahead of their move to the SEC in 2024.

Lole brings a wealth of experience, having played nearly 2,000 defensive snaps over five years in college. He’s been versatile, playing in various alignments and techniques, including over 200 defensive snaps at the 2i and three-technique at Louisville. At Arizona State, he played across different gaps, including the B, C, and D gaps.

Joining Lole are fellow senior transfer defensive tackles Bill Norton and Tia Savea from the Arizona Wildcats, resulting in Texas having five experienced senior defensive tackles heading into the 2024 season.

When healthy, Lole has proven to be a consistent and formidable presence at defensive tackle, consistently grading among the top half of starting defensive tackles in the Power Five conference in seasons where he played double-digit games.

Texas’s portal strategy paying dividends at defensive line

Coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns are maintaining their aggressive approach in portal recruiting, focusing on adding depth to key positions on the defensive side of the ball. With two scholarship spots remaining, it appears Texas is still actively seeking quality players in the portal to address remaining needs this spring.

The Longhorns’ portal class is becoming increasingly formidable, with numerous proven players bringing valuable experience and immediate impact potential as they prepare for the SEC this fall. As of now, Texas’s 2024 portal class ranks fifth nationally and fourth in the SEC according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

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