Jordan Whittington says Texas defensive newcomers are 'taking strides'

On3 imageby:Justin Rudolph04/10/23

This offseason, Texas went searching in the NCAA transfer portal for talent to add to their roster, and, boy, did they. To bolster the Longhorn secondary, they added a pair of former highly recruited four-star picks in safety Jalen Catalon and corner Gavin Holmes.

So far, during Texas spring practices, the duo appears to be winning over their new teammates, most notably offensive standout at wide receiver Jordan Whittington. During the Longhorns’ recent media availability, the soon-to-be senior wideout gave his thoughts on the two newcomers and how they have been taking strides in practice.

“I really like Gavin Holmes,” said Whittington. “I think all of them, man, they came in, and they completely bought into the culture right when they got here. And they’re taking strides, and they are improving really fast. It’s gonna be fun. I can’t hype them up too much because I go against them.”

Whittington has enjoyed what he’s seen from his new teammates thus far. But time will tell if they can keep up with opposing offenses the same as they’ve done in spring. We’ll get a chance to see what they can do soon in Texas’ spring game Sat. April 15 from their home of Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

More on Catalon and Holmes

Catalon is looking to right his career after a season-ending injury in 2021 caused him a bit of a setback. Since the injury, he’s played just seven games over the past two seasons. Catalon has the potential to be great at Texas. He is a former 2022 preseason Phil Steele First-Team All-American. While at Arkansas, Catalon recorded 159 tackles in four seasons. He also chipped in 14 defended passes, five interceptions, and 3.5 tackles for loss.

Holmes came to Texas from Wake Forest where he was a key fixture in the Demon Deacon secondary during his time there. Over the last three seasons, he has had a handful of starts while appearing in 28 games. In 2020 he nearly saw the field but did have an interception with a 32-yard return. Between the ’21 and ’22 seasons, Holmes would start in 13 games recording 43 total tackles, 34 solo and, two forced fumbles.

The addition of Catalon and Holmes adds some much-needed experience to the Longhorns’ secondary that struggled in coverage and to produce turnovers. Texas only had 10 interceptions in 2022 and of those 10, four came courtesy of linebacker Jaylan Ford. The Longhorns’ pass defense also ranked near the bottom of the NCAA last season, allowing 242.7 yards through the air per game.