Former TXHSFB stars returning to the state via transfer portal

Clemson Athletics

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If at first an in-state school doesn't succeed reeling in a TXHSFB star, the transfer portal allows it to try, try again. Here are the fomer Friday night heroes looking to make a triumphant return to the Lone Star State.

SMU WR Ashton Cozart (Flower Mound Marcus)

SMU won its first conference championship since 1984 in uncharacteristic fashion - with a dominant defense and minus a game-breaking wide receiver. Quarterback Preston Stone made sure everyone ate and nobody got too full. Five different receivers notched 400 yards, and returning senior Jake Bailey led the unit with 528 yards. The Mustangs snagged marquee transfer Jordan Hudson last offseason. Now, they've added another former DFW star via the portal in Cozart. The redshirt freshman with four years of eligibility remaining has the size (6-foot-3-inches) and speed (4.45 second 40-time) of a potential WR1. Cozart didn't register any playing time in one season with Oregon.

SMU Edge Omari Abor (Duncanville)

Abor played two seasons of college football at Ohio State, over 1,000 miles north of where he starred at Duncanville. Now, he's cut the northern commute to a 25-minute drive. The former No.2-overall recruit in the 2022 DCTF Hot 100, Abor's Buckeye tenure was derailed by injuries. He played in one half of football as a freshman due to a knee problem and had preseason surgery on an undisclosed ailment in 2023. Scott Symons' unit, headlined by a bevy of Power Five transfers along the front seven, was exceptional in his second season as SMU's defensive coordinator. Abor should compete for a Day One starting role.

SMU OG Savion Byrd (Duncanville)

Noticing a trend on the Hilltop? Head coach Rhett Lashlee erected a roster on high-upside transfers. This offseason, he's prioritizing guys who grew up in the DFW area. Byrd first played football in ninth grade at Duncanville and went on to compete in two state championships and become an Under Armour All-American. He nearly chose SMU out of high school but opted for Oklahoma. The 6-foot-5-inch, 296-pounder made four starts at left guard for the Sooners in 2023. He'll add depth to an offensive line still awaiting decisions from First Team All-Conference performers Marcus Bryant and Justin Osbourne on their future.

Texas S Andrew Mukuba (Clemson)

One of Texas's few weak spots in 2023 was its pass defense, which finished 113th in the nation after getting torched by Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. in the College Football Playoff semifinal. The Longhorns receive instant help from former Austin LBJ star Andrew Mukuba, who started 31 of the past 35 games at Clemson. 

Texas Tech WR Caleb Douglas (Florida)

Texas Tech endured a mass exodus in the wide receiver room when Jerand Bradley, Myles Price and Loic Fouonji all opted to transfer. But the Red Raiders feel great about 2023 leading wide receiver Xavier White, Coy Eakin's emergence and now Caleb Douglas's entry from Florida. Douglas was the District 10-5A DI Co-Offensive MVP at Fort Bend Hightower and spent the last two years in the SEC. He entered 2023 as a starter at Florida and racked up 11 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown in five games before a hip injury sidelined him for the year. 

Texas Tech TE Jalin Conyers (Arizona State)

Third time's the charm for the former Gruver football and basketball star. Conyers began his career at Oklahoma before three highly productive seasons in Tempe. He compiled 784 yards and five touchdowns in his final two years. The 6-foot-4-inch, 270-pound playmaker will compete for the starting job in offensive coordinator Zach Kittley's offense and will have one season of eligibility.

TCU Edge Devean Deal (Tulane)

TCU's fall from grace in 2023 happened for many reasons, but one was the defensive line lacking disruptive plays. The Horned Frogs finished tied-75th in the nation in team tackles for loss and tied-60th in sacks. Garland Naaman Forest alum Devean Deal was Tulane's team leader in tackles for loss with 13, and now he takes his talents back to Texas where he'll team up with his brother, four-star TCU freshman Markis Deal. 

TCU DL NaNa Osafo-Mensa (Notre Dame)

New defensive coordinator Andy Avalos has a plethora of defensive linemen to rotate through his first season in Fort Worth. Osafo-Mensah is one of the nation's most experienced front-seven defenders after competing in 37 games for Notre Dame over the past three seasons. A former All-American Bowl participant from Nolan Catholic, Osafo-Mensah should provide veteran leadership for a defense in a transition period. 

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