Transfer Portal Report for Week of 3/14/2022
One of the newest phenomena in College Football is the explosion in popularity of the transfer portal. The NCAA created the transfer portal in 2018 as a way to streamline the process for players in College Football to change schools when eligible. It made a way to declare to schools across the country that you were transferring and that your recruit was effectively open once again, thus the school could legally contact you after your name was submitted.
This streamlined process, along with the NCAA’s passing of a 1-time transfer with immediate eligibility for every player, has led to the transfer portal becoming one of the most difficult items to keep track of during the CFB off-season, due to the sheer amount of players now using this new tool. As of February 2nd, 2022, 1,300 players had entered the NCAA transfer portal for the CFB 2022 off-season and many more have added their names since.
Thus, the purpose of this weekly report was born. Every week, I shall be releasing a short report about the state of the transfer portal, with the goal of making the previous week’s transfer news as digestible as possible, and for players of CFF, C2C and Devy to have an easy way to catch up should they fall behind on news. Each week, we’ll start with the biggest transfers of the week, both those leaving their schools and those finding their new home. We’ll then briefly cover other names of interest, including those who ay not contribute as fantasy starters, but could impact the value of other players. Finally, we’ll give a brief ranking of the top available transfers at QB, RB and WR.
After taking a several week break, it looks like, with spring practices starting up, that the transfer portal is heating back up. With no practices occurring, players who hadn’t already entered the portal following bowl season had made their choice to remain with their teams at least through spring practice. Now that spring practices are beginning, players who stayed at their respective schools have seen the new coaches their school may have hired, as well as have a better idea of where they lie on the depth chart. Many players aren’t going to like one or the other, and thus, a second wave of transfers will begin throughout the spring. Let’s take a look at some of the latest transfers who have begun the post-spring wave of the transfer portal.
Note: Transfers for this report occurred between the dates of March 7th and March 23rd, 2022
Jayden Daniels: Arizona St → LSU
It wasn’t exactly a fond farewell when Jayden Daniels left Arizona State to enter the transfer portal, having had enough with the scandals surrounding the program, and afterwards having his locker ransacked by teammates. Now, the former sun-devil has made his way down to Baton Rouge where he’ll be joining Brian Kelly and the LSU Tigers.
When Daniels started as a true freshman in 2019, many heads were turned. Daniels showed a dynamic ability to use his legs, as well as take advantage of weapons such as Eno Benjamin, Brandon Aiyuk, and Frank Darby. By the end of his freshman year, Daniels accumulated 2,943 yards and 17 touchdowns through the air, as well as 125 rushes for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. The expectation would be that he’d only grow from there. However, the COVID was particularly rough for Arizona State, not just in player development, but also in terms of scandal. Daniels regressed his sophomore year and many expected him to rebound his junior year, but that didn’t happen either. However, he did have his best year on the ground with 138 rushing attempts for 710 yards and 6 touchdowns. With only two years left to regain the draft stock many thought he’d have after his freshman year, Daniels entered the portal.
Daniels has chosen the Bayou Bengals of LSU as his last stand. After Brian Kelly took over for Ed Ogeron, many wondered how the quarterback situation would be handled in Baton Rouge. Max Johnson started most of the games last year after his main competition, Myles Brennan, was injured right before the season started. However, after the season, Max Johnson entered the transfer portal to join his younger brother Jake Johnson at Texas A&M. Many wondered then if Myles Brennan would then get his chance. However he entered the portal as well. After several weeks in the portal, Brennan was convinced to return to LSU by Kelly and his staff. Also included in the LSU Quarterback room is true sophomore Garrett Nussmeier, someone some considered to be a dark horse for the starting job, as well as 5-star true freshman Walker Howard. Now, Daniels enters the room and instantly changes the dynamic of the room. Brennan, who was expected to start, now is no longer the favorite, despite being convinced to stay by the new coaching staff. While Brennan is considered the better passer between him and Daniels, Daniels is of a similar skill set to Desmond Ridder, who offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock coached and called plays for at Cincinnati. With Daniels as the QB recruited and chosen by the new staff, it’s safe to say he’s the favorite to win the starting job going into the season, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Myles Brennan re-enter his name into the portal.
In terms of the potential for Daniels in CFB fantasy this year, there’s plenty to like, but also plenty to dislike with this move. The first thing to like is Daniels’ rushing ability. As previously mentioned, Daniels rushed for 710 yards and 6 touchdowns last season, which was the 7th highest rushing total among CFB quarterbacks in 2021. This is directly opposed to Brennan, whose max rushing yards in a season was 41 yards in 2019. However, many are worried about Daniel’s ability to throw the ball. Since his freshman year, Daniels has seemed to regress in terms of his ability to move the ball through the air, including last year where he only passed for 2,380 yards, 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions (a career high). This regression makes it worrisome to draft a player like Daniels, whose inability to pass efficiently could see him get benched, as well as not be able to take advantage of talented receivers such as Kayshon Boutte, Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr, decreasing their value as well. The counterpoint to this is that Daniels’ best season came when he had talented receivers such as Brandon Aiyuk and Frank Darby to throw to, and this LSU team will be Daniels’ most talented receiver corps in his career by far. The other detraction many are citing with Daniels is his size. While over 6’3”, Daniels only weighs 185 lbs, which was small for a quarterback playing in the Pac-12. Now, moving to the SEC, Daniels strikes as even smaller compared to his competition. Injury concerns, especially with Daniels’ ability to run, are at an all time high. Overall, Daniels, with his rushing ability and talented receiving corp, could provide some high upside as a mid-late round QB in CFF drafts, but could easily be cut if the start of the season doesn’t reach that potential.
Austin Reed: West Florida → Western Kentucky
If you played CFB fantasy last year, you know the name, Bailey Zappe. Under offensive coordinator Zach Kittley, Bailey Zappe lead the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on a record breaking season, where he passed for 5,967 yards, 62 TDs on 686 attempts, breaking Joe Burrow’s record from 2019 in 1 less game. This type of system and season lead to Zappe being the QB1 for CFB fantasy in 2021, by a long shot. However, Zappe has now moved onto the NFL and Zach Kittley has now been hired as the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech. What does that exactly leave behind at Western Kentucky? Well, despite the losses on staff and player personnel, it is expected that WKU will work to replicate the system that made them so successful this past year, under new co-offensive coordinator, Ben Arbuckle, who was the offensive quality control analyst under Kittley at both Houston Baptist and Western Kentucky. With these staff hirings, the next question is to find out who the next QB will be for that system.
With Zappe off to the NFL, many were wondering who would take the place at the helm of the offense. Some expected one of the young QBs recruited by the previous staff to step up, Darius Ocean being the most common mentioned. However, most were eyeing the transfer portal and seeing which QBs would make their way over to Bowling Green. Many names were speculated, including Myles Brennan, Harrison Bailey and other pocket-passers. Finally, Jarrett Doege, Quarterback out of West Virginia, left many with a resounding “meh.” Doege had shown plenty of passing issues during his time with the mountaineers, and didn’t fit the mold of a QB who could truly take the Kittley offensive system to its fullest potential. The best case scenario was that the drop in competition level from P5 to G5 would provide some opportunity, but many were still skeptical. Enter: Austin Reed.
Austin Reed looks to be the answer that many were looking for regarding the future of the hilltopper offense. As a red-shirt freshman, Reed led the young West Florida program to a Division II National title. This past season, Reed once again was prolific through the air, passing for 3,418 yards and 38 Touchdowns. In addition, Reed scored 10 touchdowns on the ground during his career at West Florida, showing some ability to run as well as pass. Obviously, the step up in competition can be some cause for concern. However, FBS programs didn’t seem as concerned, considering Reed was reportedly receiving offers from several P5 schools.
Regarding the potential for Reed for CFB fantasy purposes this year, the sky’s the limit for Reed, if he’s able to lock down the job. Many do wonder if he can beat out Doege before the season and there seems to be plenty of indications that he can. Reed was receiving offers from schools across the country, but settled on Western Kentucky. Knowing his demand, Reed likely wanted to go somewhere he believed he had a great chance of starting, in addition to having a prolific passing system. It seems he has found both at Western Kentucky. I don’t expect the hilltoppers to break NCAA records again next year, however, even if they’re only able to recreate 70% of the production of last year, you’re still looking at a top 15 QB for CFB fantasy this year. Reed is currently free in almost all formats. If you have a draft in the next few months, before a starter is announced at WKU, you will likely be grabbing one of the best deals in CFB fantasy right now.
Emory Jones, QB: Florida → ???
For years, people have touted Dan Mullen as a quarterback genius, especially when it came to heavy rushing dual-threat quarterbacks. From Tim Tebow to Dak Prescott to Nick Fitzgerald to Kyle Trask, many were wondering if Emory Jones would be the next in the line of great CFB Fantasy producing quarterbacks from Mullen’s offensive system. Jones seemed to have everything he needed: an alright arm but great athleticism in his legs to keep defenses honest. Thus, last year he was drafted as the QB21 in CFF leagues, with the understanding he ceiling would be much higher. However, the road traveled with Jones in 2021 was a bumpy one. Jones returned his investment by finishing as the QB22 in CFF last year. However, he only finished as a Top 24 QB 3 times, one of which was an insane week in Week 11 where Florida got into a shootout with FCS school Samford and Jones scored 57.16 fantasy points that week. Remove that one week, and Jones is outside the top 48 quarterbacks for CFF in 2021.
During the season, Jones was benched multiple times for redshirt freshman, Anthony Richardson, whose upside was on clear display throughout the season. Despite this, Mullen allowed Jones multiple chances for Jones to retain his job. The season culminated in the firing of Mullen, and Jones announcing his plans to enter the portal. However, he wished to play one last game before doing so: the bowl game against UCF. During the bowl game, Jones passed 36 times for 14 completions and 171 yards, good for a completion percentage of 38.9%. It was a horrific showing. Afterwards, Jones stayed until spring camp started, in which after a couple of days, he officially entered his name into the portal.
Now, while Jones has clearly shown he isn’t the next great Mullen project, he is still a talented rushing QB who, if landed at the opportune school, could still be a great CFB fantasy asset for 2022. Many speculated that he would entertain Liberty when he first announced at the end of the season. However, Liberty has since added Charlie Brewer from Utah through the portal and doesn’t seem to be looking for a 2nd QB from the portal. The interesting thing to note was which coaches and staffs followed Emory Jones on social media following his entrance into the portal. Only one Power 5 school seems to have shown interest thus far in Jones, and that is Arizona State. Arizona State is currently in the midst of scandal, as mentioned above, and has one of the thinnest quarterback rooms in the country. In addition, Jones’ skillset is similar to that of former starting quarterback, Jayden Daniels, which would enhance the appeal. However, given the Sun Devil’s situation, Arizona St seems like a program not destined for success or production and thus it’d likely waste Jones’ CFF potential. The group of 5 schools that followed Jones provide a little more intrigue: North Texas, Akron, Arkansas St and Rice. By far the most intriguing out of the 3 is Akron. Akron lost their starting quarterback, Zach Gibson, to Georgia Tech earlier this offseason and are looking to replace his production. They still have DJ Irons. However, a quarterback with SEC starting experience such as Emory Jones would likely provide the safer option. For CFF purposes, Akron is the best case scenario, as it has the least competition for the starting job, and Jones’ dual threat ability would likely flourish in the week MAC schedule Akron faces.
Ulysses Bentley: SMU → Ole Miss
Ulysses Bentley first really arrived onto the scene in 2020, during his second season with the Mustangs. Going into the season, Bentley was behind TJ McDaniel, who was set to take over following the departures of Xavier Jones and Ke’Mon Freeman. However, McDaniel was injured early in the first game of the season, providing Bentley an opportunity. He quickly took advantage of it, and scored 2 touchdowns to put the Mustangs ahead of the Bobcats of Texas St. He followed up his first game with a monster second game , rushing 19 times for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns. From there, Bentley never looked back, going on to rush 170 times for 913 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, along with 21 receptions for 174 yards and a touchdown through the air, all on a shortened season. Bentley quickly became an exciting prospect for CFF dynasty owners everywhere, and even began getting some draft buzz, especially regarding his receiving ability out of the backfield.
Many were expecting Bentley to have an even bigger season for 2021, especially with McDaniel still out with injury and RB2, Tyler Lavine, having graduated. However, injuries would have different plans. Bentley started off his 2021 campaign well enough, scoring two 100+ yard games and 2 top 24 finishes in his first 4 games. From there, nagging injuries kept Bentley off the field throughout the month of October. Even when Bentley returned to a larger workload against UCF, he was still splitting carries heavily with North Texas transfer Tre Siggers. By the end of 2021, Bentley posted only 1 game with more than 15 carries, and finished as the RB128, despite being drafted as the RB16 in the preseason.
Many were positing 2022 as a comeback year for Ulysses Bentley, with Rhett Lashlee returning as the head coach, and his ability to utilize RBs in both the passing game and running game. In CFF redraft mocks, Bentley was being taken as the RB38 off the board, so clearly many still believed in his ability to produce. Thus, you can imagine it came as a surprise to many when just a few days into spring practice, Bentley entered the transfer portal. It was not more than a few days later when it was then announced that Bentley would be taking his talents to the Ole Miss rebels.
For CFF purposes, this landing spot did a lot of damage to Bentley’s CFB fantasy value this year. The depth chart at Ole Miss is thin, no doubt about it. They lost Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner to the draft and Henry Parrish to the portal, where he landed in Miami. In addition, Matt Corral also has left for the draft. That is Ole Miss’ top 4 rushers from 2021 gone. Thus, it was no surprise to see them add an additional RB from the portal besides former 5-star Zach Evans, especially since Kiffin has shown the last few years he prefers a running back by committee approach. Bentley enters into spring camp at best as the RB2 behind Evans, and while he’ll get plenty of run, the split carries will limit any kind of upside he’ll get in the rebel offense. The one thing Bentley does have going for him is his receiving ability, which is something Ole Miss desperately needed with the loss of Jerrion Ealy. Unfortunately for Bentley managers, this move has only sunk his stock regarding CFB fantasy going forward. Expect Bentley to finish at best a similar range to Ealy last year, which was the RB75 and 12.39 fantasy points per game.
Corey Rucker: Arkansas St → ???
Corey Rucker seems to finally realize that the situation at Arkansas St is not the one he was recruited under. At Arkansas St, under Blake Anderson, players like Omar Bayless (93 recs, 1,653 yards, 17 TDs) and Jonathan Adams Jr. (79 recs, 1,111 yards, 12 TDs) went on to have unbelievable seasons for CFF players. Corey Rucker looked ready to step up and become the next man in the line of Blake Anderson’s offense’s WR1, especially when during the game against UL-Monroe, to finish the season, Rucker compiled 9 receptions for 310 yards and 4 touchdowns.
However, that offseason, Blake Anderson left the Arkansas State Head Coach position in favor of the Utah State Head Coaching position. Several players followed Anderson to Utah State, including quarterback Logan Bonner and wide receiver Brandon Bowling. They would go on to win the Mountain West in Anderson’s first year. Meanwhile, Rucker elected to stay at Arkansas State, under new head coach, Butch Jones. In his second year, Rucker amassed 59 receptions for 816 yards and 9 touchdowns. However, after a strong start in their first game against Central Arkansas (where Rucker amassed 9 receptions for 138 yards and 3 touchdowns), the red wolves would lose 10 out of the last 11 games on their schedule, partially due to a historically bad defense, but also due to Butch Jones’ inability to settle on either James Blackman or Layne Hatcher as his QB1. Rucker seemed to perform better when Hatcher was on the field, however, Hatcher himself has entered the transfer portal already this offseason and is now at Texas St. Without his preferred QB, and an uncertain future of success at Arkansas St, Rucker made the decision to enter himself into the portal.
Since entering the portal, Rucker has quickly become one of the hottest commodities for teams looking to add receiver talent to their rooms. Rucker has been very vocal on twitter regarding which teams have given him offers so far, which is wonderful for keeping track of CFF possibilities. The offer list includes: Texas St(Hatcher connection as mentioned), South Carolina, Ole Miss, South Alabama(previously committed there before going to Arkansas St), Southern Miss, Auburn, Appalachian St, Vanderbilt, Utah St(Blake Anderson connection), FAU, Duke, Virginia Tech, and most recently Washington St.
Of the above offers, a couple stand out as potentially fantastic destinations for Rucker’s CFB Fantasy potential. The first and most clear one is the possibility of Utah St. As mentioned, the WR1 for Blake Anderson’s offense has been a monster for CFF purposes in the past couple of seasons, including just last year when Deven Thompkins amassed 102 receptions for 1,704 yards and 10 touchdowns, finishing as the WR3 for CFF 2021. Thompkins, and several other aggie receivers, have since moved onto the NFL, making that situation ripe for the taking. Rucker reuniting with his old coach makes too much sense. The other offer that stands out is his most recent one, Washington St. Eric Morris, who runs the air raid system, has been hired as the cougar’s offensive coordinator and is bringing along with him his quarterback from incarnate word, Cameron Ward. Ward has excited the CFF player base with his possibilities, but the question remains “who he’s throwing to?” With leading receivers Travell Harris and Calvin Jackson Jr. moving onto the NFL, receivers De’Zhaun Stribling and Renard Bell, who was out last year with injury, seem like the next duo up. However, a dynamic receiver like Corey Rucker entering that room could change the whole equation, and if Rucker succeeds in becoming the go-to guy in Morris’ offense, there is no ceiling for him in CFF this year. Additionally, Rucker reuniting with former quarterback and good friend, Layne Hatcher, at Texas St feels like a recipe made to produce. Overall, Rucker is easily one of the more intriguing prospects to enter the portal and his landing spot will give us a great deal of insight into how high his potential can reach for CFB fantasy purposes this year.
Additional Transfers Worth Mentioning:
Dematrius Davis, QB: Auburn → ???
It’s always interesting when a former 4-star quarterback enters the portal after only one season with the program he chose out of high school, and that’s where we find ourselves with quarterback Dematrius Davis. Davis was the #24 QB coming out of high school and has had comparisons made to D’Eriq King. In his freshman season with the Auburn Tigers, Davis did not see the field, despite injury to Bo Nix and inconsistent QB play from TJ Finley. Even when Finley was clearly injured in the Iron Bowl, Davis was still not asked to come in. Lack of opportunities like this likely lead to Davis’ portalling. Whenever you have a rushing QB with a pedigree like Davis’, it’s always something to keep an eye on for CFF purposes, especially if he were to land a G5 school. In terms of potential landing spots, Davis had previously committed to Virginia Tech before going to Auburn, but with their recent additions in Jason Brown and Grant Wells, I doubt they’ll be looking for a 3rd QB to add. Look for Davis to land comfortably at a G5 if he’s looking for starting minutes, or a mid to lower P5 if he’s not looking for immediate playing time. For CFF purposes, keep him on your watchlist, but no need to invest draft capital in any format, no matter how deep.
Brandon Campbell, RB: USC → ???
Similar to Davis, Campbell is another true freshman who is looking for a change in scenery after just one year with the program he signed with. However, this comes on the heels of a major coaching change for USC. Normally, having one’s head coach go from being Clay Helton to Lincoln Riley would make a player very happy. However, the former 4-star and #22 RB in the 2021 class did not appreciate that Riley was bringing in transfers such as Travis Dye and Austin Jones, taking away his year 2 opportunities. With that, Campbell entered the portal and is likely looking for an immediate opportunity with his new landing spot. Campbell seems to have been a USC lean for much of his recruitment, without any other major players, thus it makes it difficult to understand where he may land. He may follow his old head coach to Georgia Southern, where the running back room is quite thin, or he could follow his old offensive coordinator, Graham Harrell to West Virginia. Campbell is also from Texas, so it’s possible he could transfer home to a Texan school such as Baylor, who just lost their top two running backs to the draft. Regardless, Campbell is definitely a name to keep an eye on, especially if he looks to go somewhere where he has prior connection to the coaching staff.
Noah Whittington, RB: Western Kentucky → Oregon
It was beginning to look as though Byron Cardwell was going to be the only running back Oregon could really stand to use this upcoming season, given that their only other options were Sean Dollars, who has been in and out of the portal, and true freshman Jordan James. However, Noah Whittington looks to be following his old running back coach, Carlos Locklyn, over from Western Kentucky. In the pass-heavy Western Kentucky offense, Whittington wasn’t able to flourish, carrying the ball 101 times for 617 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, Whittington was able to show off his explosiveness during the bowl game against Appalachian St, where he exploded for 150 yards and a touchdown on only 7 carries. I would still expect Byron Cardwell to be the main back at Oregon, however, given that Whittington is a year older and has a prior relationship with Locklyn, I wouldn’t be surprised if Whittington becomes a clear RB2 here, if not a 1B to Cardwells 1A. He’s definitely a wrinkle to what many thought was a settled situation at Oregon.
Jamious Griffin, RB: Georgia Tech → Oregon St
Similar to Whittington and Oregon, many thought they were getting a good idea as to how the running back situation at Oregon State was shaping out. Deshaun Fenwick seems like he’ll be the main back when he returns from injury and in the meantime, Trey Lowe and true-freshman Damien Martinez would step up. The latter had many CFB fantasy analysts excited, given that if Martinez could capture carries early, he could be a multi-year starter for CFB fantasy purposes. However, the landscape never sits still, and Oregon St saw fit to add Jamious Griffin from Georgia Tech. Last season, Griffin carried the ball for Georgia Tech 7 times, gaining 23 yards and 0 touchdowns. Given that it was the former 4-star’s 3rd season in Atlanta and that was the limited load he was seeing, it was clearly time for a change in venue. Expect Griffin to contribute as a nice depth piece at Oregon St, getting a larger load than he did at Georgia Tech, but nothing you’d want on your fantasy teams. The biggest impact this has on CFB fantasy is that this’ll likely delay Martinez’s growing role in the Beavers offense.
Jake Bailey, WR: Rice → ???
As a sophomore, Jacob Bailey finished the 2021 season with 56 receptions, 714 yards and 2 touchdowns, good enough to lead the Rice University Owls in receiving, with his best performances coming in the final two games of the season, where he logged 143 yards in each. Over the last 5 games of the season, Bailey averaged 6.6 receptions per game. He’s shown an ability to perform as an alpha wide receiver, even on a team that couldn’t get quarterback settled throughout the entire season. It’s difficult to determine where Bailey could land, but given he is from the California area, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him move closer to home. Group of 5 schools like Fresno St, San Diego and San Jose St seem like the most likely landing spots assuming this. However, keep an eye out for UCLA to pull him, given they’ve lost Kyle Phillips, Greg Dulcich and Chase Cota from 2021 and are looking to replace that receiver production. Landing spot will be key, but Bailey could be a fun very-late round flier for CFF purposes.
George Takacs: Notre Dame → Boston College
Not many TE transfers are noteworthy, but this one did manage to catch my eye. George Takascs is a former 4-star TE from the 2018 class who could never really find his role in the Notre Dame offense. Last year he put together a campaign that consisted of 3 catches for 36 yards and a touchdown. Now, he’s transferred and followed former teammate, Phil Jurkovec to the Boston College Eagles, a program known for utilizing the TE in recent years under head coach, Jeff Hafley. Starting TE, Trae Barry started off 2021 strong before Phil Jurkovec’s injury and his own injury hampered him the rest of the way. The year before that, in 2020, Hunter Long posted 57 receptions for 685 yards and 5 touchdowns. If Takacs can take over as the starting TE, he’ll make a very nice late TE addition for any CFF roster, with plenty of upside in a system shown to utilize TEs.
Top Available Transfers:
- JT Daniels: Georgia →???
- Emory Jones: Florida → ???
- Aaron McLaughlin: NC State → ???
- Baylor Romney: BYU → ???
- Dematrius Davis: Auburn →???
- Camar Wheaton: Alabama →???
- Brandon Campbell → ???
- Wayne Tualapapa: Virginia → ???
- Andrew Van Buren: Boise St → ???
- Knowledge McDaniel: Marshall → ???
- Corey Rucker: Arkansas St →???
- Jacob Bailey: Rice → ???
- Deion Smith: LSU →???
- Bru McCoy: USC → ???
- Cam Johnson: Vanderbilt → ???