5 Instant Impact Newcomers for G5 Programs in Texas

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Football practice is in full swing across the state of Texas at the high school and college level and the influx of transfers means new faces are expected to play key roles at every program in the country. We took a look at newcomers at the five Power Five programs set to make an instant impact. Below, we examine one player from each of the seven G5 programs in Texas who could be in for a major 2022 college football season. 

Houston – WR Matthew Golden 

The Cougars added over 30 new faces over the offseason, including 11 transfers. Four of those transfers – Sam Brown, Joseph Manjack, Brice Johnson, and Cody Jackson – are wide receivers. But the wide receiver creating the most buzz since his arrival on campus is true freshman Golden. The four-star prospect from Klein Cain is already running with the first team and is expected to start on the outside. He’ll take pressure off star slot receiver Tank Dell. 

SMU – RB Camar Wheaton 

First-year head coach Rhett Lashlee hit the transfer portal hard before his opening campaign with the SMU Mustangs, landing 17 transfers prior to year one. The best of the bunch is Wheaton, a former five-star recruit from Garland Centennial who spent one year at Alabama. He arrives on The Hilltop with four years of eligibility, and he’ll immediately help alleviate the loss of Ulysses Bentley IV, who transferred to Ole Miss after the 2021 season. 

UTSA – CB Nicktroy Fortune 

The Roadrunners’ path to repeat as Conference USA champions requires fresh faces to step up on the defensive side of the football. The offense should be fine. Enter Fortune, a former starter in the Big 12 for West Virginia. He’ll provide experience at a high level at the cornerback position that needs to replace NFL draftee Tariq Woolen. Fortune played in 29 games at West Virginia, including 19 starts. He started in seven games for the Mountaineers in 2021 before a season-ending knee injury. If he’s healthy, he’ll provide an upgrade in the secondary. 

North Texas – WR Jay Maclin 

The Mean Green require more explosiveness in the passing game to compete in Conference USA. As a team, North Texas only recorded 12 passing touchdowns last season. Maclin provides speed and big-play ability as a deep threat and after the catch. The Missouri transfer is one of the new faces in Denton hoping to jumpstart the offense. He spent two seasons at Missouri prior to arriving at North Texas. He redshirted in 2020 and missed 2021 with injury. 

Rice – WR Sam Crawford 

The Owls’ passing attack could improve in 2022 despite the loss of star receiver Jake Bailey to the transfer portal. Rice is still undergoing a quarterback battle between T.J. McMahon and Wiley Green, and the eventual winners should see improved depth and overall talent on the outside. Crawford – a Tulsa transfer – looked like an instant contributor in the spring and earned rave reviews throughout the summer. 

UTEP – WR Kelly Akharaiyi 

The Miners lost two-star wide receivers from the 2021 squad when Jacob Cowing transferred back home to Arizona and Justin Garrett ran out of eligibility. A new crop of faces must step up at the position for quarterback Gavin Hardison, and the staff is high on Akharaiyi after spring and summer sessions. The Tyler J.C. product is a 6-0, 190-pound speedster who is originally from Irving. 

Texas State – QB Layne Hatcher 

Hatcher arrives in San Marcos with two years of eligibility and over 7,000 yards of passing offense in his college career. The Arkansas State transfer is well-versed in Sun Belt football and should provide the Bobcats with an upgrade at the quarterback position. No other quarterback on the roster has completed a pass in a college game. 

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