The one-time transfer rule allowing players to switch schools without losing a year of eligibility had already transformed roster management across the Football Bowl Subdivision.
And then came legislation related to name, image and likeness, which has caused an exponentially greater disruption for FBS coaches and programs trying to get a handle on depth charts and playing time.
What’s ensued this offseason may only be a taste of what’s to come. Many programs, most from the Power Five, have made a dozen additions or more out of the portal, and every school has been impacted in one form or another by the thousands of players who have put their names on the block since the end of last. season.
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Some schools did better than others. To little surprise, Alabama coach Nick Saban has found another avenue to bolster his already star-studded lineup. New hires such as Lincoln Riley at Southern California have used the portal to quickly rebuild rosters depleted in the wake of coaching turnover.
With transfer season mostly complete but many players still looking for a new home, here are the winners and losers from the portal:
It’s not a huge group, but the Crimson Tide have made each signing count. Cornerback Eli Ricks (LSU) is one of the top defensive backs in the country and a possible starter, should he recover from shoulder surgery and stay out of Saban’s doghouse following last month’s arrest on charges of speeding, driving without insurance and possession of marijuana. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs (Georgia Tech) is a do-everything skill talent with All-America potential. At worst, offensive tackle Tyler Steen (Vanderbilt) will be a key backup at several spots up front. Wide receiver Jermaine Burton (Georgia) brings along proven SEC production with the benefit of taking production away from Alabama’s cross-division rival. And fellow receiver Tyler Harrell (Louisville) gives the Tide and quarterback Bryce Young a major home-run threat.
No team inked more than the Trojans’ 16 transfer additions. The cream of the crop is quarterback Caleb Williams, who followed Riley from Oklahoma and gives USC and the Pac-12 a very strong Heisman Trophy contender. Another OU grab, receiver Mario Williams, will snag a role along the top line of the rotation. Riley and the Trojans also loaded up on players capable of stepping right into the starting lineup, including linebacker Eric Gentry (Arizona State), running back Travis Dye (Oregon) and cornerback Mekhi Blackmon (Colorado), while adding depth to a roster in need. of dependable bodies.
The biggest name is quarterback Jaxson Dart (USC), who is the favorite in the two-man competition to replace Matt Corral in Lane Kiffin’s quarterback-friendly scheme. The Rebels also improved the rush pass by adding Jared Ivey (Georgia Tech) and Khari Coleman (TCU), inked a productive running back in Ulysses Bentley (SMU) and upgraded at a tight end with Michael Trigg (USC) and JJ Pegues (Auburn). .
The Cornhuskers’ odds in this make-or-break year for coach Scott Frost look much better with the additions of quarterback Casey Thompson (Texas), edge rusher Ochaun Mathis (TCU), interior lineman Devin Drew (Texas Tech), cornerback Tommi Hill (Arizona State) and wide receivers Tre Palmer (LSU) and Marcus Washington (Texas). Nebraska should also improve on special teams by adding punter Brian Buschini (Montana), who won the Ray Guy Award last season as the top punter in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Shane Beamer squeezed out a bowl bid in his debut season despite ranking next-to-last in the SEC in yards per play and per game. Bringing in quarterback Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma), a heavy Heisman favorite before struggling through a wildly disappointing 2021 season, dramatically changes the outlook for South Carolina’s offense. But that’s not all: The Gamecocks’ offensive rebuild also includes tight end Austin Stogner (Oklahoma), running backs Christian Beal-Smith (Wake Forest) and Lovasea Carroll (Georgia), and wide receivers Corey Rucker (Arkansas State) and Antwane Wells ( James Madison).
The Panthers did nab former USC quarterback Kedon Slovis to replace first-round pick Kenny Pickett and bolstered the receiver corps by adding Konata Mumpfield (Akron) and Bub Means (Louisiana Tech). Those additions at wide are suddenly even more vital after losing star Jordan Addison, who took home the Biletnikoff Award last season as the nation’s top receiver but left for USC.
The Yellow Jackets will need to dig deep to replace Gibbs’ all-around importance to last year’s offense. Another troubling development this offseason has been the losses off the edge: Tech lost starters Ivey and Jordan Domineck (Arkansas), who combined for 11.5 tackles for loss in 2021, before rebounding to land a commitment from Wyoming in Solomon Byrd – but Byrd then backed off his verbal pledge to sign with USC.
Don’t shed too many tears for the defending national champions; despite an exodus of talent to the NFL and the portal, the Bulldogs are loaded and capable of the repeat. Many offseason transfers landed at SEC rivals, however, including Burton and young cornerback Jalen Kimber, who landed at Florida. In the mix for the starting job last summer before suffering a year-ending injury, Kimber joins the Gators with four years of eligibility and could eventually play a role in determining the SEC East.
Follow colleges reporter Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Football news: Winners, losers of college football transfer portal