FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas softball team continues to reload through the transfer portal.
Taylor Ellsworth, a catcher/utility player who hit .372 and made 44 starts last season for Texas, was added to the Razorbacks roster as a graduate transfer, Coach Courtney Deifel announced Wednesday.
Deifel said Ellsworth fills an immediate need with the departure of starter Kayla Green behind the plate.
"[Kayla] had the year, and she's choosing not to use it," Deifel said. "So it's a pretty great fit to get a catcher of Taylor's caliber to come in for a year. It's a perfect chip for us.
"She's had a tremendous career at Texas, and we think she will pick up right where she left off and be a huge impact player for us."
Ellsworth becomes the fourth transfer for the Razorbacks this offseason, and she will have one year of eligibility remaining.
She hit 7 home runs, added 9 doubles and registered a career-best 31 RBI last season.
Deifel said she expected to utilize the portal this season after a few players such as Green chose not to utilize the extra year the NCAA offered because of the pandemic.
"I have mixed feelings on the portal, but that's where are game is," Deifel said. "And we knew how covid kind of affected everything, and our first priority is taking care of our current roster. It put us in a position where we were gonna need some transfers. Some short-term ones more than anything just because of the departures that we had.
"We went into the offseason thinking we were gonna hit it, and we feel like we've added some really, really big additions to our team."
Ellsworth saw action behind the plate, in the outfield and as a designated player last season. But Deifel said her primary position will be catcher for the Razorbacks.
Ellsworth totaled 144 hits, 25 doubles, 16 home runs and 89 RBI in her career with the Longhorns, accumulating a .320 batting average in 171 games.
The Georgetown, Texas, product joins pitchers Chenise Delce (Tulsa) and Callie Turner (Tennessee), and outfielder Kendall Beth Sides (Alabama) as transfers to Arkansas. Sides is another graduate transfer who will have one season of eligibility. Delce has two seasons of eligibility left, while Turner has three.
Ellsworth redshirted her junior season after suffering an injury after playing just three games. She burst on the scene as a freshman to lead the team and rank fifth in the Big 12 in hitting with a .394 (52-for-132) batting average, and she was named All-Big 12 first team.
Deifel expects all four transfers to make a difference immediately.
"That's why you get them," she said. "At this point, we're not trying to add depth. We're trying to add impact, and we see that in all of them. I really do feel with what we have coming back and what we've added, I believe we had a top five pitching staff in the country and then you're able to add bats and players like K.B. and Taylor.
"I felt like our team was in a really good spot. I feel like we've elevated that."