Antelope Valley Press

Portal has had a major impact on QB and other positions


All the attention surroundin­g quarterbac­ks who switch schools has overshadow­ed how the transfer portal has affected the way colleges try to stockpile talent at other positions.

The Associated Press measured the impact of the transfers by tracking the top 20 prospects at every position each year from 2019-22, as rated by composite rankings of recruiting sites compiled by 247Sports.

As expected, the most impacted position was quarterbac­k. Nearly two-thirds of those 80 quarterbac­ks already have switched schools or are currently in the portal. But about 55% of the cornerback­s and about half of the safeties, running backs, wide receivers and inside linebacker­s also have either transferre­d or are in the process of doing so.

All that movement is having a trickle-down effect on high school recruiting that has become apparent heading into Wednesday’s start of the December signing period. Since teams have a chance to fill holes in their roster with more proven players, high school prospects don’t have the same choices as they might have enjoyed before the 2021 NCAA policy change enabling athletes to transfer one time as undergradu­ates without sitting out a season.

“There are more kids signing probably a level down than probably ever before,” said Andrew Ivins, the director of scouting at 247Sports. “You can go through state by state, and you’ll come across kids who in previous years they’d be probably going to a Power Five program, and now they’re at the Group of Five level.”


Four of the top five finishers in the Heisman Trophy balloting were quarterbac­ks who had transferre­d at one point in their college careers. The last two Heisman winners are quarterbac­k transfers: LSU’s Jayden Daniels (formerly at Arizona State) and Southern California’s Caleb Williams (Oklahoma).

A majority of the 133 Football Bowl Subdivisio­n programs this year had a transfer quarterbac­k who either started at least half the team’s games or led the team in passing.

“I had a Group of Five program tell me they’re never going to sign a high school quarterbac­k again because they know there’s going to be a ton of transfers every single year,” Ivins said.


There’s also plenty of movement elsewhere. In many cases, players aren’t needing more than one or two years before moving on.

Three of the top five cornerback­s from 2022 already have transferre­d, headlined by Travis Hunter’s decision to follow coach Deion Sanders from Jackson State to Colorado. Three of the top six receivers from 2022 and five of the top seven wideouts from 2021 also have moved on.

“In college football now, you literally have added a whole other department in what’s the equivalenc­y of a pro personnel department in the NFL,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. “Because you have to now scout other colleges and be ready if a guy goes in the portal, you have to know what your opinion is. So now we scout every single position, just like we do high school prospects.”


Some positions don’t have quite as much movement.

Looking at the 247Sports composite’s top 20 prospects at each position from 2019-22, just over one-quarter of the offensive tackles have entered the portal. About 70% of the interior offensive linemen and interior defensive linemen remain at the schools that initially signed them out of high school.

“Why there are more skill guys than there are bigger guys (in the portal), I don’t know,” Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell said. “I think the nature of the beast, it’s pretty easy to evaluate if you don’t get a lot of balls, if you don’t catch a lot of balls, obviously sometimes it probably looks like the grass is greener on the other side.”

Ivins said schools might not be as concerned if one of their own running backs or receivers transfers because it’s easy to find a potential replacemen­t in the portal. But if a school lands a quality lineman or pass rusher out of high school, Ivins noted those teams are “going to try to hold on to them as much as they can.”

“NFL teams, you start looking at the really good teams -- where do they spend their money? Where do they allocate their resources?” Auburn director of player personnel AK Mogulla said. “It’s O-line, D-line. This day and age, you’ve got to have a premier shutdown type of corner. That’s where it’s going. It’s just trickling down from the NFL, down to the college level now. That’s all it is. It’s just now become free agency. That’s what we are in.”


Although transfers at all positions have college experience, Fickell says recruiting from the portal has its own challenges.

“The reality is the transfer portal, to me it’s a bigger crapshoot than a high school kid,” Fickell said. “Now, there are some that aren’t. There are some guys out there that have 50-6070 catches, that aren’t as much of a crapshoot. But they’re still leaving for a reason.”

The challenge is that colleges often don’t know the players they get out of the portal as well as the high school recruits they’ve been following for years. Fickell said that when he recruits from the portal, he gravitates toward players he might have recruited from high school or who might have some connection with his staff.

Even then, there are risks. “Does somebody really know why they’re leaving?” Fickell said. “Are there good reasons to leave? I’m sure there are. But they’re still walking away. I think we’ve just got to be careful. There’s a lot of really good kids out there who can fit into some good situations, but it’s an educated guess.”

It’s a guess coaching staffs are making more and more. And that has made the recruiting process more challengin­g for those prospects still in high school.

“It feels from my perspectiv­e and my vantage point, there are a lot of programs out there that three weeks before signing day, they were not looking at the high school ranks,” Ivins said. “It’s quickly pivoted all to the transfer portal, and that’s going to leave a lot of talented athletes without a chair when the music stops.”

 ?? Associated Press ?? LSU quarterbac­k Jayden Daniels throws the ball during the first half of an NCAA football game against Mississipp­i on Sept. 30 in Oxford, Miss. Daniels transferre­d to LSU from Arizona State and won the Heisman Trophy this season,
Associated Press LSU quarterbac­k Jayden Daniels throws the ball during the first half of an NCAA football game against Mississipp­i on Sept. 30 in Oxford, Miss. Daniels transferre­d to LSU from Arizona State and won the Heisman Trophy this season,

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