Best 2024 Spring Transfer Portal Pickups

Share or Save for Later

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Save to Favorites

On April 15, I advised Power Four football fans to relax during the spring transfer portal window because your team most likely wasn't hunting for starters and, therefore, anyone who transferred from your program probably wasn't a starter. TCU defensive tackle Damonic Williams transferred 48 hours later. Houston also lost starting cornerback Isaiah Hamilton and leading wide receiver Sam Brown

This cycle proved there is no time for college football fans to rest because the game never sleeps. Over half the programs on this list picked up a player with starting potential after spring ball concluded. Here are the selections for each Texas FBS team's best spring portal get.

Baylor – EDGE JaQues Evans (Western Kentucky)

Dave Aranda got a new weapon for his upcoming season as the de facto defensive playcaller. Evans was the Conference USA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year last year before playing in just six games due to injury. In 2022, he led Western Kentucky with 106 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He could add a presence off the edge that Baylor lacked last season, ranking 114th in sacks per game. 

Houston – LB Christian Brathwaite (LSU)

The spring window was tough for Houston. Three of the players on this list of best pickups transferred from the program. But Willie Fritz scored an intriguing addition in Brathwaite, a former four-star prospect from Cy-Ranch. The linebacker played in five games at LSU last season but maintained his redshirt because the fifth appearance was in the bowl game. At our magazine stop, Fritz said he thought linebacker would be a concern going into the spring but felt confident in five players now, so Brathwaite might be a high-upside depth add. 

North Texas – RB Juwaun Price (Syracuse)

The Mean Green were in dire need of a running back after 1,000-yard rusher Ayo Adeyi and Oscar Adaway transferred. LSU transfer Tre Bradford appeared to be an answer, but he left the program after a cup of coffee in Denton. Eric Morris snagged Syracuse's Juwaun Price in the spring window for added depth. Price has rushed for 1,119 yards over five seasons at New Mexico State and Syracuse and should compete for snaps with Zach Evans while Ikaika Ragsdale returns to full health. 

Rice – OL Chad Lindberg (Georgia)

Rice is normally not an active player in the transfer portal, but it makes exceptions for guys pursuing their MBA. Chad Lindberg, a Clear Creek product, appeared in 22 games over four seasons at Georgia and will have two seasons of eligibility in his home state. The Owls' roster is one of the state's most in-tact, but it did lose left tackle Clay Servin and guard Lavel Dumont. Lindberg is the leading candidate to replace Dumont. 

Sam Houston – RB Jay Ducker (Memphis)

The Bearkats' run game in 2023 didn't cover much ground, averaging 88.8 yards per contest. The offensive line is nearly identical entering 2024, but Sam Houston got a change of pace in the backfield. Jay Ducker was the 2021 MAC Freshman of the Year at Northern Illinois after rushing for 1,184 yards, then led Memphis in rushing in 2022 before playing in just five games last season. He will compete with last year's leading rusher John Gentry and Zach Hrbacek for carries. 

SMU – DL Jared Harrison-Hunte (Miami)

SMU head coach Rhett Lashlee has established a Miami-to-the-Hilltop pipeline after spending the 2020-21 seasons as the Hurricanes' offensive coordinator. Harrison-Hunte is the latest Floridian to bolster the trenches after tallying 20.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks over five seasons. He is one of five defensive linemen on SMU's roster with a final year of eligibility. Harrison-Hunte is a likely starter. 

Texas A&M – OL Kolinu'u Faaiu (Utah)

Faaiu's transfer, hours before Texas A&M's spring game, marked "The Mountain" Bryce Foster's descent in College Station.  Foster, a 2021 SEC All-Freshman team member, couldn't stay healthy at center, and Texas A&M's line struggled. Starting quarterbacks were injured in back-to-back years. Faaiu figures to assume the center spot on a unit still in progress. The 6-foot-3, 324-pounder started the final eight games for Utah in 2023. 

Texas – CB Jay'Vion Cole (San Jose State)

Starting cornerback Terrance Brooks's transfer raised eyebrows of those outside the Forty Acres. The honorable mention All-Big 12 selection was the No.5 ranked corner in DCTF's Texas Ten series. Texas also lost Denton Ryan alum Austin Jordan. But Steve Sarkisian had a quick fix. Cole finished second in the Mountain West with 10 pass breakups and should compete with Gavin Holmes to start opposite Malik Muhammad.


Texas State – LB Treylin Payne (Houston)

Linebacker is the biggest question mark on Texas State's football team after losing Brian Holloway and Dan Foster Jr, and during our spring magazine visit there were six guys vying for the spots. Payne was a tweaner-size Power Five linebacker at Houston at 6-feet, 205 pounds, but he has the athleticism to thrive in the Sun Belt. He started two games in Houston's 2023 season and performed well, alternating from the box to slot corner. Payne was a three-star prospect out of Converse Judson.

Texas Tech – CB Mikal Harrison-Pilot (Houston)

Harrison-Pilot didn't need to use many frequent flier miles for his transfer from Houston to fellow Big 12 member Texas Tech. Don't mistake the close proximity for lack of change, however. Harrison-Pilot will transition to cornerback in Lubbock after lining up at wide receiver in 2023. The former four-star played both ways and was recruited as an athlete out of Temple in the 2023 class. 

TCU – DL Hakeem Ajijolaiya (Houston)

Damonic Williams's departure was the most gut-wrenching spring transfer of any Texas team, but TCU rebounded about as well as they could've by adding Ajijolaiya. Tymon Mitchell was the projected starter at nose during our spring magazine stop, but there should be snaps for Ajijolaiya in the Horned Frogs' four-man front. The 6-foot-2, 320-pound interior tackle from Katy Tompkins had a career-high 21 tackles last year. 

UTEP – S Landon Hullaby (Texas Tech)

The Mansfield Timberview alum's career never took off at Texas Tech, where injuries limited him to one appearance in two seasons. Hullaby should compete for playing time immediately in UTEP's 3-3-5 scheme. The Miners have a veteran secondary that led Conference USA in passing yards allowed per game in 2023. 

UTSA – LB Kendrick Blackshire (Texas)

Blackshire is my vote for the most interesting spring portal addition. Four years ago he was Duncanville's four-star linebacker and a viral phenomenon for his impressive build (his nickname was "Deebo" after the terrifying "Friday" character). He posted 25 total tackles in three seasons at Alabama before transferring to Texas this offseason. His Austin tenure was shorter than the time it takes to charge a Tesla cybertruck.  Blackshire reported to camp at 261 pounds, which Steve Sarkisian said was heavier than the staff wanted, and appeared destined for a backup linebacker role. 

He'll have one year of eligibility at UTSA and enters a stacked linebacker room headlined by Jamal Ligon. Is he a high-upside reserve in the middle, or do the Roadrunners plan to utilize him off the edge? 


This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.

Sign In
Don't Miss Any Exclusive Coverage!

We've been the Bible of Texas football fans for 64 years. By joining the DCTF family you'll gain access to all of our exclusive content and have our magazines mailed to you!