With college football in postseason mode, the NCAA transfer portal has begun to fire up its engines for what’s set to be a wild next few months of new enrollees.
If you’re not familiar with the process, the portal has revolutionized the college football landscape. An avenue for players to entertain opportunities elsewhere, it’s CFB’s mock free agency window, where eligible athletes are free to sign to any program in the country.
Per the NCAA, under the college transfer policy, when a student-athlete informs a school that he intends to transfer, that institution has two business days to enter that athlete's name into the transfer portal. Once the student-athlete's name is officially in the database, other coaches from any school can contact that player. In layman's terms, it’s the recruiting cycle all over again for some of the country’s most sought-after players.
Initially created in October of 2018, the portal has undergone a facelift to invite further chaos. Previously, if an athlete transferred schools, they would be forced to sit out a season. Now, with the most recent rule change, all Division I student-athletes can transfer once without having to sit out a season if they correctly notify their school by the set deadline. In a day in age where social media influence continues to grow and NIL deals have become ever-important to players’ platforms, the bedlam set to take place within the portal adds a year-round dynamic we’ve yet to see within college football.
With Bowl games finalized and the College Football Playoff top four set, here are my crystal ball predictions on where some of the country’s most dynamic transfer talents could end up before spring practice arrives.
Quinn Ewers, QB, Ohio State Transfer
A 5-star recruit from Texas, Ewers early enrolled at Ohio State but quickly found himself behind a roadblock of talents in front of him, headlined by Heisman candidate C.J. Stroud. An electric talent who offers sneaky athleticism outside of structure, his arm talent is unmatched by many current quarterbacks in the nation. His processing ability and knack for taking calculated shots are what makes him so special and why many within NFL circles believe he’ll be a top draft prospect in the coming years. An uber-talented gun-slinger with the ability to dissect in the pocket, and deliver downfield via an array of arm angles, he offers everything you look for in the face of a program.
Prediction: Texas Tech, Texas, TCU
Eli Ricks, CB, LSU Transfer
One of the top corners in all of college football this fall, could you imagine if Derek Stingley Jr. was healthy? What a tandem that would have been. Ricks, however, is on his way out of Baton Rouge as the Tigers undertake a head coaching change with Brian Kelly now in charge. An outstanding boundary defender with a pro-ready game and ideal length at the position, Ricks will immediately become CB1 wherever he lands. A physical presence with an alpha mentality and a game beyond his years on the perimeter, Ricks could represent the biggest immediate impact of any transfer. He’s instinctive in the run, a ballhawk in the air, and you’ll rarely ever find him out of position. He’s a home-run addition.
Prediction: Ohio State, USC, Georgia
Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma Transfer
The 2022 NFL Draft’s QB1 before the college football season kicked off, Rattler’s stock has fallen off a cliff as he departs Norman for greener pastures. Benched for true freshman quarterback Caleb Williams in the middle of the season, Rattler never regained his job and is now looking for a home. The No. 1 ranked quarterback in the 2019 High School recruiting class via 247Sports’ Recruiting Composite, Rattler is a unique talent with the ceiling to rise atop the 2023 draft class. While he has a ways to go in understanding his best ability comes as a static pocket passer instead of trying to make plays outside the tackles with limited mobility and overall athleticism, his ability to pick apart defenses isn’t a trait of his that's questioned. A high-level prospect who can zip the rock around the yard, I expect a big year from the Arizona native next fall. He’ll need it.
Prediction: UCLA, Arizona State, Cincinnati
Zach Evans, RB, TCU Transfer
TCU’s highest-rated recruit ever (5-star), Evans totaled more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns in two seasons for the Horned Frogs. Following a 6-4 season in his freshman campaign, and a 5-7 (8th in the Big 12) finish this fall, Gary Patterson is out, Sonny Dykes is in, and Evans is searching for a new program to call home. A true home-run threat every time he touches the ball, Evans presents an enticing combo of power and speed and has a chameleon-like ability to adapt his game to the type of defense he faces. A true workhorse back, he has the ability to garner 30+ carries a game and shoulder the offensive load.
Prediction: LSU, Tennessee, Alabama
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Georgia Tech Transfer
A native of Dalton, Georgia, Gibbs opted to stay close to home despite a slew of other Power 5 offers from higher prestige programs. At 5-foot-9, what Gibbs lacks in stature he makes up for in his ability to find creases and blow through opposing tacklers with elite burst off the LOS. A smooth runner, Gibbs glides in the open field and has a boatload of room to improve as a receiver in the pass game that will only improve his stock. With tons of tread left on his tires after a tick over 200 carries at Tech, Gibbs has the ability to become a three-down back in a high-octane offense immediately. The focus of the Yellow Jackets offense behind one of the country’s worst offensive lines, if Gibbs is presented the opportunity to work behind an average front five, he has Heisman Trophy-level talent.
Prediction: Alabama, Oregon, Georgia
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