Who’s stock is on the rise as we enter spring 2024? College football is more volatile than ever with player and coach movement. Here are some guys who have seen their value rise for a variety of reasons, including transfers, coaching changes, NFL declarations, etc.
Chandler Morris, North Texas
A “Chandler” swap is taking place in Denton. Chandler Rogers transfers again, this time to Cal, and Chandler Morris makes the 40-minute drive to take his spot. The once Sooner, once Horned Frog, Morris has shown glimpses of potential but was Wally Pipp’d twice in Fort Worth. His new situation with the Mean Green makes it (almost) impossible to be demoted. Rogers was a top 20 CFF QB last season under Eric Morris and there is no reason to think Morris can’t replicate that level of success should he stay healthy.
KJ Jefferson, UCF
The super duper senior moves on to Orlando, where he will receive a serious upgrade in system from the unimaginative Dan Enos offense (if you can even call it that) to the RPO-heavy Gus Malzahn system. KJJ could have stuck around to be coached by Bobby Petrino, but it was time he smashed the reset button on his career. UCF has seen 336 rush attempts from the QB position over the last two seasons. Yes, please!
Owen McCown, UTSA
This AAC QB gets a rare stock up because of what hasn’t happened. UTSA seemed like a prime QB transfer destination this portal season, but they have yet to add anyone. Rumors of Traylor kicking the tires on Chandler Morris, Kai Horton, and Braylon Braxton did not come to fruition, thus the third-year, left-handed sophomore enters spring as the defacto QB1 for the Roadrunners. Cephus and Ogle-Kellogg are key losses to the WR room, but De’Corian (JT) Clark returns, and DJ Allen (TCU) and JJ Sparkman (Texas Tech) were added from the portal. McCown looked solid in place of Frank Harris in the bowl game and even showed a surprising amount of ability to move the chains with his legs.
AJ Duffey, San Diego State (rSO)- his stock was left for dead after two seasons at FSU, but was hand-picked by QB guru Sean Lewis and dropped down a level to run the veer-n-shoot.
John Mateer, Washington State (rSO)- This dual-threat QB absolutely threaded the needle to gain value with Cam Ward transferring, Ben Arbuckle remaining on staff, no proven FBS incoming transfer QB entering the room to challenge him, and Kyle Williams withdrew from the portal.
Austin Mack, Alabama (rFR)- DeBoer and Grubb choosing to take the freshman that reclassified with them to T-Town at the risk of losing Julian Sayin indicates how confident that staff is in his abilities.
PJ Hatter, Texas State (rFR)- Similar to Mateer, Hatter benefits from the QB debacle in San Marcos with TJ Finley and Malik Hornsby transferring and Jayden de Laura exiting late in the cycle. Big stock-up if GJ Kinne doesn’t add another QB in the spring portal.
Chip Trayanum, Kentucky
The Trayanum career rollercoaster experience continues. An RB who once shared the Sun Devil backfield in 2020 with the second-year starting RB for the Tampa Bay Bucs, Raachad White, became the most frustrating CFF transfer of all time when he committed to Ohio State to play linebacker. Now, he leaves a crowded Buckeye backfield to join the Wildcats as the next RB in a line of CFF success stories that includes Ray Davis, Chris Rodriguez, and Benny Snell under Mark Stoops. The Kentucky RB1 is becoming a modern-day CFF stalwart in these uncertain times.
Mario Anderson, Memphis
Blake Watson transferred to Memphis and promptly had one of the best seasons we have ever seen from a single-year transfer. His rushing stat line of 192-1,152-14, to go along with his 53-492-3 receiving, resulted in the CFF RB3 for 2023. Do we dare double down on this situation? With Watson moving on, coach Ryan Silverfield persuaded Anderson, who had offers from USC and Oklahoma, to fill the void. Anderson led the Gamecock backfield and was an outstanding producer at the FCS level prior to his move to the SEC. Sutton Smith likely consumes most of the receiving work that Watson left behind, but Anderson figures to play a prominent role as a ball carrier.
Jacquez Stuart, Toledo
Unlike the first two RBs listed here, Stuart benefits not for leaving but for staying put. Peny Boone, and his 1,600 yards and 16 TDs, transfers to Louisville. Jason Candle has been linked to a number of job openings but decided to stay at Toledo (for now). His track record for RBs is ELITE! He’s had an RB go for over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs in nine seasons since he took over as OC in 2012. Stuart isn’t a special talent, but he had 17 fantasy points in the bowl game. Toledo has yet to add an RB transfer, so there is reason to trust Stuart in this system. Lastly, Tucker Gleason will run some but doesn’t appear to be quite the TD vulture as compared to Finn.
DYNASTY RUNNING BACKS
Kedrick Reescano, Ole Miss (rFR)- The Rebels could still be in the market for an RB during the spring portal, but Reescano gets a boost from the exit of Judkins. He should see some increased reps in relief of Ulysses Bentley IV.
Rickey Hunt, Ohio (rFR)- Hunt had a sensational five-TD bowl game with Sieh Bangura and O’Shaan Allison transferring out. Hunt should be in store for a big workload in 2024; however, be aware that Ohio ranks near the bottom of the country in returning snaps, which includes losing four OL starters.
George Pettaway, JMU (rSO)- Recruiting pedigree, some positive spring reports from two years ago, and a “big fish, small pond” scenario here have us betting on a positive outcome from his decision to transfer from a loaded UNC backfield to JMU. Pettaway will battle a more experienced RB in Ayo Adeyi to be the bell cow for new coach Bob Chesney, who had some very successful RBs recently at Holy Cross, with Jordan Fuller averaging 23 fantasy PPG.
Evan Stewart, Oregon
Let’s pick the low-hanging fruit first. Stewart exits a Jimbo offense that rarely develops or produces a relevant WR for CFF and heads to Eugene as the heir apparent to the top-5 CFF WR, Troy Franklin. OC Will Stein is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the more reliable coaches to invest in for WRs. There is no denying that Stewart is one of the most talented WRs in the country, but health has been a concern. Stewart will need to stay healthy to satisfy his owners, who will likely be taking him in the top few rounds of 2024 CFF drafts.
Malachi Fields, Virginia
I’d have said you were drunk if you told me a year ago that I would be writing something positive about the Hoos WR room this spring, but here we are. Virginia had not one but two WRs hit the 100-target mark in 2023. Malik Washington and his 110-1,426-9 receiving line move on. Fields now assume the alpha role, with the closest returning target-getter to him having just 17 in 2023. Chris Tyree transfers in from Notre Dame to likely start in the slot position left by Washington. I could have just as easily discussed him here, but Fields is simply the better WR of the two and has built rapport with the QBs.
Jeremiah Hunter, Washington
The Washington roster has seen more turnover in the last month than a pastry chef watching Jameis Winston bloopers. Gone are almost 500 targets from 2023! Hunter is a proven player with 1,600 yards and 12 TDs over the last two seasons. While it isn’t exactly the DeBoer/Grubb system he signed up for in Seattle, Fisch/Carroll is a far better option than what he’s had to deal with during his time at Cal. It is hard to say exactly what the Huskies will look like in 2024. Hunter maintains a solid floor while boosting his ceiling with this landing spot.
DYNASTY WIDE RECEIVERS
Noah Rogers, NC State (rFR)- A blue-chip recruit who was buried on the depth chart at OSU, now finds himself in a much better position to contribute in 2024. The Wolfpack have a wide-open WR room behind KC Concepcion, so look for Rogers to compete with Wesley Grimes, a Wake Forest transfer, for the WR2 job in the CFF-friendly Robert Anae system.
Landon Sides, North Texas (SO)- The top two receivers for UNT, including Jay Maclin and his 1,000 yards/10 TDs, move on. Sides, one of Jackson Arnold’s top targets in high school down the road from UNT, came on strong late in 2023. Expect him to battle with Damon Ward and DT Sheffield for WR1 honors.