Every year, once the season ends, coaches and fans are instantly thinking which players are staying and who’s going pro, but since October 5th 2018, more players have been leaving for a completely different reason. That reason is the Transfer Portal. The way the Portal works is, if a player decides he wants to move on to a different school, he has to give his information to the schools compliance office and his name will be submitted within 48 hours. Once in the Portal, the player can be contacted by coaches from any school and the recruiting process begins all over again.
There have been many players to take advantage of the Portal this season but arguably the most notable would be Devin Leary. Leary is a Quarterback from North Carolina State who has committed to transfer to University of Kentucky. Leary transfers after having passed for almost 7,000 yards for 62 touchdowns in his 4 years at NC State. This is seen as one of the major transfers because not only are the Wildcats getting a very athletic and strong-armed quarterback that has been successful in his career but they are getting former Offensive Coordinator, Liam Coen, back in his old role. Wildcat fans are hoping that Coen and Leary can revive a pretty bad offense this season and help put Leary in the upper echelon of quarterbacks in 2023 like he did for former Wildcat QB, Will Levis.
Another newsworthy transfer who I’m excited to watch next season has to be Jaheim Bell. This utility-man transferred to Florida State University from the University of South Carolina. He started the 2022 season as South Carolina’s starting Tight End and was really high on a lot of experts position rankings heading into the season however, due to slew of injuries, finished the season as the team’s starting Running Back. Bell finished his season with 73 rushes for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns to go along with 25 catches for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns. This move to Florida State could really make him shine. With a highly touted Quarterback like Jordan Travis and a speedster at Wide Receiver like Johnny Wilson this could leave Bell wide open on a lot of plays. Another unique thing about Bell is that they could throw him on a few run plays and create their own “Deebo Package” per say, much like South Carolina did.
As for players that have not fully committed, there are a few quarterbacks who I’m interested to see where they fall. The first one being D.J. Uiagalelei who, at the time of this article, is rumored to be committing to University of Hawaii. This is a really baffling move. I wonder what his plan is, if this is true. Does he throw for a ton of yards in Hawaii’s offense to show he can do it and then turn pro? Or does he use it as a stepping stone and then transfer to a different Power 5 program with more experience and more impressive stats?
Another player to watch is former Coastal Carolina University Quarterback, Grayson McCall. McCall is known for being a very accurate and athletic quarterback. While at Coastal Carolina, he threw for 8,000 yards and 78 touchdowns, and rushed for just over 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns. A move for McCall has been expected for the last couple of years as Coastal runs a heavy spread option offense and many scouts have wanted to see what he could do at a bigger school. I personally think McCall has all the tools to succeed at a Power 5 school and beyond, and with the right program could even be seen as a potential Heisman dark horse.
I’m also curious to see where Wide Receiver Dante Cephus, the former Kent State player, lands. Cephas has gone on record saying “NFL development is most important to me because that’s where everybody wants to ultimately go. You don’t want to land there and struggle. I think that will be key for me, making sure when I get there I’m already rolling and have the confidence.” With this being said Cephas has already narrowed his decision down to 4 teams: UCLA, University of Georgia, University of Pittsburgh, and Penn State University. Growing up in Pennsylvania many believe that Pitt or Penn State are the leading favorites but it’s hard to turn down an annual National Championship contender in Georgia. Wherever he goes, I don’t see Cephas having a problem making it to the next level.
The mania that is the Transfer Portal has changed the landscape of college football for the foreseeable future. Many schools look at it as a free agency pool where they can go shopping for whatever players they want. With the addition of NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals this makes it even more so. For example, 2021 Biletnikoff winner, Pittsburgh Wide Receiver Jordan Addison was lured away by USC with a 3.5 Million NIL deal (more than the current NFL annual contract of former USC alum and current Kansas City Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster). These larger schools can pick what players they want and with the help of the boosters can go out and “buy” their guys. Much like the NBA this is forming super teams and hurting every other team in the country. How do you expect a school like Wyoming to compete with a school like Texas or USC when it comes to boosters and the transfer portal?
While some may think the Transfer Portal is helping kids move to schools where they can either play right away or move to a program to help make a name for themselves and advance to the NFL, you also have to wonder if it’s actually hurting college football as a whole. With a majority of the talent being condensed to a few teams, it’s hurting a majority of the nation. No longer do these schools have to worry about recruiting when they know they can go scoop up your player a year or two after they start college, and the ones that have been developed by smaller schools are often stolen by bigger schools who reap the rewards. Time will tell if enough schools get tired of the rules in place with the Portal and ask for changes to fend off the big dogs.