It takes a while for the college football season to come to rest. By that, I mean where depth charts are firmly settled, and expectations for players can be consistent from week to week. Rosters fluctuate rapidly between the spring season and even late into the regular season due to injury, players entering the transfer portal mid-season, and players developing and emerging on different timeframes.
The deep rosters in C2C leagues provide space to stash otherwise buried players on depth charts. The one-time transfer rule only makes it more likely for transfer breakouts like Joe Burrow, Trey Sermon, and Justin Fields to continue to emerge. So let’s take a look at some potential transfer candidates to keep an eye on.
#15 Javion Hunt, RB Arkansas
The Razorbacks quietly have one of the best young backfields in the country, with four underclassmen averaging 4.8 yards per carry or better. That includes three true freshmen in Rahiem “Rocket” Sanders, A.J. Green, and Oklahoma City native Javion Hunt. Hunt figures to be behind Sanders and Green for the balance any time in Fayetteville. Sanders and Green (both Campus2Canton staff favorites) have received 93 and 41 carries on the season, respectively, to just 4 for Hunt. Baylor could be an option for Hunt as the Bears look to replace their top two backs in Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner. Hunt turned down an offer from Baylor to commit to Arkansas.
#14 Ricky Parks, RB Utah
Parks fits one of my favorite running back profiles. He’s a thick nimble runner who was tough to bring down in the high school ranks. The true freshmen has not recorded a carry in 2021 and is headed for a redshirt year. Even next year, Parks would still appear to be firmly behind at least “freshman” Micah Bernard and sophomore Chris Curry. Plus, starters Tavion Thomas and TJ Pledger still have eligibility remaining. Iowa was considered the runner-up in Parks’ recruiting. Parks would look good as a thumper in Hawkeye black and gold. The Hawkeyes could lose most of their rushing production with Tyler Goodson jumping to the NFL, and Ivory Kelly-Martin’s eligibility may have expired. However, the COVID rule and Kelly-Martin’s injury history make that unclear.
#13 Zavier Betts, WR Nebraska
After showing flashes as a true freshman, Betts was relegated to a reserve role in 2021 due to incoming Montana transfer Samori Toure and the health of highly touted 2020 incoming transfer Omar Manning. Both Manning and Toure can jump to the NFL after this season. While Manning figures to be back, Betts can slide into Toure’s vacated production. Still, the quarterback play for the Huskers figures to feature a heavy rushing attack under either Adrian Martinez one last time or the heir apparent Logan Smothers, whose game mirrors that of Martinez. Supporting multiple receiving weapons in Lincoln would appear to be a tall task. Betts is a lanky athlete deserving of a prominent role. He could find greener pastures elsewhere. Iowa, Iowa State, and Minnesota were high on the list for the Bellevue, Nebraska native, making it more likely that he stays home.
#12 Gee Scott Jr., TE Ohio State
Scott should be on this list based solely on the school moving him from his natural position to tight end in his second season, showing no foresight for his career trajectory. But the entire family has shown nothing but unwavering commitment to Columbus.
#11 Evan Pryor, RB Ohio State
Like most Ohio State recruits, it is tough to see a clear path to playing time for Pryor at the over-recruited Ohio State. Pryor was the number six running back in the 2021 class. Phenom TreVeyon Henderson isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and 2023 eligible Miyan Williams figures to spell Henderson for the foreseeable future. Prior to his enrollment at Ohio State, Pryor identified his top choices as Georgia, Oklahoma, Penn State, UNC, and USC, with UNC and Georgia serving as finalists along with Ohio State. Pryor would not have a clear path to playing time at UNC or Georgia, but he could with the Sooners. Oklahoma has a pair of highly touted freshmen coming in with the class of 2022, but Lincoln Riley has opted to bring in transfers in each of the past two years, and Kennedy Brooks may opt for the NFL after a strong push to end this season. Penn State could also use some juice in its running back depth chart, given that its leading rusher is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry.
#10 Elijah Canion, WR Auburn
The disappearance of Elijah Canion is one of the greatest mysteries of the 2021 season. Canion emerged late in the 2020 season for the Tigers as a true freshman. Then, with new head coach Bryan Harsin at the helm, Canion was the most targeted and most productive receiver in the team’s spring game. All signs pointed to Canion having a breakout year. Even the team’s beat writers called for a breakout. With all of that, Canion has just four catches on the year and has been out-snapped by journeyman receiver Demetris Robertson, Shedrick Jackson, Kobe Hudson, Ja’Varrius Johnson, and Ze’Vian Capers. Canion has played just 67 snaps on the entire season and has been completely shut out of all but five games. If Canion decides to make the jump, Miami could be an option for the former Chaminade-Madonna (FL) star. The Hurricanes’ offense could be attractive with the emergence of DGAF gunslinger Tyler Van Dyke.
#9 Jake Garcia, QB Miami
Speaking of Tyler Van Dyke, he is one of the best stories of the 2021 college football season. He’s also one of the game’s most fun players to watch. With four more years of eligibility, Garcia doesn’t figure to start for the U until TVD is gone, which could be as soon as the 2023 NFL draft. Garcia famously de-committed from USC, making way for Jaxson Dart. Returning to the west coast would seem to be a good bet. Arizona, Arizona State, and Colorado could be options, while Louisville is a potential darkhorse if Garcia remains in the ACC.
#8 Kedon Slovis, QB USC
Campus2Canton’s own Austin Nace called freshman Jaxson Dart unseating Kedon Slovis this past spring. The Darty Party appears to be in full effect. Slovis is so far removed from his recruiting that it’s tough to nail down a potential suitor. In 2019, NC State and Hawaii were considered potential landing spots, but those seem unlikely now. But Boise State is known for its periodic offensive prowess and features potential 2022 breakout receiver, Stefan Cobbs. The Mountain West features a few teams that could be options for Slovis just by virtue of proximity to California and the conference’s penchant for offense. So watch out for Fresno State and Nevada in the event of those team’s respective signal-callers making the jump to the NFL.
#7 Hudson Card, QB Texas
Card committed to Texas and then head coach Tom Herman after his sophomore year at powerhouse Lake Travis. After competing for the job in camp and throughout the season, Card appears to have taken a firm back seat to Casey Thompson. Card’s lifelong dream was ending up at Texas, so a departure seems unlikely. But Card was never Sarkisian’s pick, and the coach appears ready to replace both Card and Thompson this offseason.
#6 Anthony Richardson, QB Florida
It’s hard to see Richardson transferring from Florida given that he played high school ball just down the street from the campus in Gainesville, and he signed a NIL deal with a local car dealership. Nonetheless, the rumblings of a potential transfer are there for the best athlete at the position in the country. Emory Jones may remain in the discussion as a starter in 2022 under a new coaching regime. Speaking of which, the head coach that Richardson committed to is now gone. This may have been the catalyst for Richardson temporarily removing all mentions of UF from his Twitter profile. Richardson committed to UF back in 2018. Any destination for Richardson would be a complete dart throw. But throw, we must. Richardson was recruited to Florida primarily by quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson and offensive line coach John Hevesy. Hevesy was also recently fired. If Richardson were to transfer, predicting Richardson to land wherever Johnson or Hevesy ends up would be as good a dart throw as any.
#5 Spencer Rattler, QB Oklahoma
Rattler’s potential destination figures to be a prime subject of speculation this off-season as soon as the Sooners’ season concludes. It’s been a rocky season for Rattler, who was widely considered as a potential number 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft just a few short months ago. While his entering the transfer portal is a foregone conclusion, Rattler’s high profile, perceived difficult personality, and a dearth of suitors in his home state of Arizona make nailing down a potential landing spot difficult, a task that is already difficult in its own right. Further clouding Rattler’s likely landing spot is the eventual domino effect that many believe will result if and when Ohio State’s quarterback rooms sees an exodus not seen since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.
While it’s anyone’s guess where Rattler will land, a few candidates are intriguing. Texas is the sexiest name out there as Steve Sarkisian looks to build the offensive juggernaut he was hired to produce. The quarterback room in Austin is as interesting a story as any room outside of Ohio State. Next season, four-star recruit Maalik Murphy will be on campus, and Texas is widely considered a potential destination for Texas native Quinn Ewers. Meanwhile, Sarkisian declined to give the vote of confidence to either incumbent Casey Thompson or Hudson Card, stating, “I think that we have to open that job up. I think we have to let these guys compete to see the development.”
Mel Tucker is being lauded as a program builder in East Lansing. Tucker has also had success bringing in transfers, most notably Kenneth Walker. But Sparty presents solid depth at the receiver position if all decide to return. Jalen Nailor, Jayden Reed, and Ricky White would comprise a nice trio for any quarterback to throw to.
Tennessee is one to watch. After bringing his up-tempo offense to Knoxville, Josh Heupel has Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker in the 2022 NFL draft conversation. If Hooker leaves for the NFL, Tennessee will make a lot of sense for Rattler as Heupel is a former OU quarterback himself.
#4 Agiye Hall, WR Alabama
Hall has already expressed his dissatisfaction with his role at Alabama, creating a bit of a firestorm with his post-game tweets after the Mississippi State game, which he did not dress for. While cooler heads have allegedly prevailed, Hall could look to jump ship even though there figures to be an opening in the Alabama starting lineup with Jameson Williams departing for the NFL after this season. Hall committed to Alabama over LSU, Georgia, and Oklahoma. Hall attended three different Florida high schools, so he has already demonstrated a willingness to move around. He’s even been quoted on the perception that he cannot commit to a program. If Hall is looking for guaranteed playing time, both Georgia and LSU have pretty crowded wide receiver rooms. South Carolina’s wide receiver room is not similarly crowded. Hall was recruited to Arkansas by then Razorback receiver coach Justin Stepp. Stepp is now in his native South Carolina, taking on the same role with the Gamecocks. It’s officially tinfoil hat time.
#1-3 Kyle McCord, Jack Miller, Quinn Ewers, QB Ohio State
No one will be surprised if and when the Ohio State quarterback room is vacated like they’re fumigating the place. The question is, where will each of the highly touted quarterbacks land.
Jack Miller is often forgotten in the Ohio State quarterback conversation, the 4-star prospect from Scottsdale, Arizona. Miller was steadfast in his commitment to Ohio State even as Day targeted C.J. Stroud in the same class. “Loyalty” was the theme of Miller’s comments when he was interviewed before enrolling. At this point, Miller would appear to be firmly behind McCord and Ewers, specifically considering some recent off-the-field trouble. Miller chose Ohio State over Alabama, Auburn, and home-state schools Arizona and Arizona State. Given his previous comments, remaining in Columbus is a strong possibility. But Miller will be relegated to spelling Stroud and mop-up duty, and that’s assuming McCord and Ewers transfer elsewhere. If they don’t, he’ll contribute to the Buckeyes by running the scout team. Arizona State and Auburn make sense for Miller, who technically has four remaining years of eligibility. Miller will be a redshirt freshman in 2022.
Texas is the odds on favorite for Ewers. Ewers is a Texas native and was initially committed to the Longhorns. While it’s the favorite, Steve Sarkisian reportedly had little to no contact with Ewers after committing to Ohio State. Ewers is headed for a redshirt season and will still have four years of eligibility following this season. If C.J. Stroud continues to play the way he is, he may jump to the NFL following the 2022 season. That would leave Ewers with three years to compete as the starter. This trajectory makes sense for Ewers, who reclassified and enrolled a full year early in Columbus.
The tougher question of this group is McCord, who committed to Ohio State so early in the process that other realistic suitors never really emerged. But, it would seem unlikely that the former 5-star recruit would wait around in Columbus for a chance to compete for the starting job again, but this time with Ewers during the 2023 spring.
In committing to Ohio State as a sophomore, McCord touted coach Ryan Day’s ability to develop NFL quarterbacks. If that’s the criteria, then you’d have to figure that Penn State and Pitt, both in McCord’s native Pennsylvania, are off the board as neither program has a history of developing NFL quarterbacks, Kenny Pickett notwithstanding. Furthermore, Penn State would seem to be off the board since the Nittany Lions bring in their own highly touted freshman quarterback, Drew Allar, with the 2022 class, which means McCord would again be competing with a highly touted freshman.
But quarterback development is associated with individual coaches rather than programs. The aforementioned Steve Sarkisian and Lincoln Riley would appear to be tier one of that group of quarterback developers. David Cutcliffe should also be considered. After that, the recently fired Dan Mullen and Lane Kiffin would appear to be the next set of high-profile college quarterback developers. Texas, Duke, and Ole Miss would be realistic suitors for McCord using these criteria. If Dan Mullen is hired as an assistant somewhere, that could also be a potential destination.
Felix H. Sharpe is a Co-Founder of Campus2Canton.com and co-host of the Devy Debate. You can yell at him @sharpereview on Twitter.