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The Top Transfers Who Could Provide The Biggest Impact In 2021

How a Transfer Used To Work

I remember the days where if you transferred, you had to sit out a year unless the NCAA granted you a waiver. I can attest as someone who follows the sport of college football closely; it would be easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than to get the NCAA to approve a transfer. Your circumstances would have to be extreme and generally involved a sick parent, and even then, the NCAA had a rule that you had to transfer within a certain distance of that parent to get the waiver.

The New Transfer Rules And The Transfer Portal (AKA, CFB Free Agency)

In the fall of 2018, the NCAA introduced the transfer portal. The Student-athlete can now enter their name into the portal indicating their desire to transfer from their current school. The significant difference is that student-athletes can bypass seeking approval from their school and hop into the portal without question. The kicker, you get one free transfer year where you do not lose year eligibility or have to sit out a year. After you use that free year, you can still transfer as often as you want with the consideration of your remaining eligibility. Still, once you burn that free transfer year, you might need an NCAA waiver to avoid losing a year of eligibility while also sitting out a year.

When is The Deadline To Transfer?

You can transfer anytime during a calendar year, but if you want to use your free year, you have until May 1st (subject to change) to take advantage of not losing your free year and having to sit out for an entire year.

What About Those Pesky Transfer Destination Limitations The Old Ball Coach Used To Prevent A Student-Athlete From Leaving?

The rule that allowed your coach to place transfer restrictions on where you can go is no more. You are free to transfer anywhere you want, to any division, conference, etc., unless it is the University of Michigan where your credit hours cannot transfer because of the supreme academic overlords who believe Michigan is Harvard (sarcasm).

The Recent History of The Transfer Portal and Some Success Stories

When I think of the transfer portal, I think of Oklahoma who has had tremendous success landing QB's from other schools and turning them into Heisman contending players who also ascend to championship level QBs. It began with Baker Mayfield as walkon at Texas Tech, who left for Oklahoma back in 2013, followed by Kyler Murray, who left Texas A&M after Kyle Allen was named the starter. Then Jalen Hurts, the ultimate team player, a great leader who stayed the course at Alabama before transferring to Oklahoma in 2019. All three are going to be NFL starters in 2021. You also had Shea Patterson, who transferred from Ole Miss to Michigan back in 2018; he had to get waiver approval. Patterson had a successful two seasons in Ann Arbor. The other high-profile transfer player that comes to mind is Justin Fields, who transferred from Georgia to Ohio State and ascended into a Big Ten MVP, Heisman Trophy Finalist, and a National Championship contending QB. Not all transfer players have success, but we will try to pinpoint who we think will provide the most significant impact in 2021.

LB Henry To'o To'o, Alabama Crimson Tide

HS Star Rating (247 Sports Comp): 4 Star

Measurables: 6-2, 225lbs

Yr: SO

Old School: Tennessee Volunteers

Best Season: 2020, 76 tac, 10 TFL's, 1 Sack, 1 INT

Analysis: The 2019 freshman All-American racked up 76 tackles, ten tackles for loss, a sack, and an INT. The former 4-star recruit is considered one of the most talented LB recruits ever to don a Tennessee uniform and left the Alabama program. The Crimson Tide, who is never hard up for talent, added depth at LB, and they were able to procure a very good one via the transfer portal. To'o To'o should not need to learn much as he played in a similar system defensively under Jeremy Pruitt, a former Saban DC. His sideline to side speed, ability to cover backs, and his stout run stop ability will be a major asset in Tuscaloosa.

QB McKenzie Milton, Florida State

HS Star Rating (247 Sports Comp): 3 Star

Measurables: 5-11, 190lbs


Old School: UCF Golden Knights

Best Season: 2017, 4037 passing yards, 37/9 TD/INT Ratio

Analysis: Milton won 26 games as a starter at UCF, including two conference championships; he led the Golden Knights to an undefeated season in 2017. Milton has not played football in two years after dislocating his right knee and suffering ligament, nerve, and artery damage during a game in November 2018.

RB Eric Gray, Oklahoma Sooners

HS Star Rating (247 Sports Comp): 4 Star

Measurables: 5-10, 205lbs

Yr: JR

Old School: Tennessee

New School: Oklahoma

Best Season: 2019, 772 rush yds, 4 Rush TD's, 30 rec, 254 yds receiving, 2 TD's

Analysis: The Sooners are getting a very good player via the portal. Gray entered the college football scene as the nation's 3rd rated all-purpose back according to 247 sports. His playstyle will fit well in the Big 12 conference, and in the Lincoln Riley offense, a player like Gray can flourish as a receiver out of the backfield. He possesses good speed and athleticism. Kennedy Brooks and Eric Gray's one-two combo will give Big 12 defenses a lot to think about in 2021. As if they wouldn't already have a lot to deal with when facing the Sooners.

OT Wanya Morris, Oklahoma Sooners

HS Star Rating (247 Sports Comp): 5 Star

Measurables: 6-5, 320lbs

Yr: JR

Old School: Tennessee

Best Season: 2020, played in 9 of 10 games for the Volunteers, allowed two sacks, and surrendered three penalties.

Analysis: A long-limbed athlete from the 2019 recruiting cycle, Morris was a 5-star recruit. If morris reaches his potential at Oklahoma as a left tackle, he could place himself in 1st round 2022 NFL Draft discussions.

QB Charlie Brewer, Utah Utes

HS Star Rating (247 Sports Comp): 3 Star

Measurables: 6-1, 210lbs

Yr: SR

Old School: Baylor Bears

Best Season: 2019, 3161 yards passing, 21/7 TD/INT ratio, 344 yds rushing, 11 TD's

Analysis: Charlie Brewer was a four-year starter at Baylor who amassed over 10K total yards and 65 passing TD's. He brings experience, leadership, and good athletic ability to the QB position for the Utes.

CB Derion Kendrick, Georgia Bulldogs

HS Star Rating (247 Sports Comp): 5 Star

Measurables: 6-0, 190lbs

Yr: SR

Old School: Clemson

Best Season: 2019, 43 Tac, 2 INT's

Analysis: Derion Kendrick arrived at Clemson as a WR; he transitioned over to the defensive side and took off in his first season as a DB. He progressed more in 2020, improving all facets, man, press, and zone coverage. With room to grow, he will be on NFL team radars in 2021.

TE/WR Arik Gilbert, Georgia Bulldogs

HS Star Rating (247 Sports Comp): 5 Star

Measurables: 6-5, 248lbs

Yr: SO

Old School: LSU

Best Season: 2020, 35 rec, 368, 2TD's

Analysis: Gilbert is a physical player who will play WR in Athens but could transition to an off-ball H-Back style TE at the NFL level. Gilbert should provide instant versatility to the Georgia offense in 2021.

WR Wan'Dale Robinson, Kentucky Wildcats

HS Star Rating (247 Sports Comp): 4 Star

Measurables: 5-10, 185lbs

Yr: JR

Old School: Nebraska

Best Season: 2019, 793 Yds From Scrimmage, 5 Total TD's

Analysis: The versatile Robinson was hard to defend while at Nebraska. He can play WR and return punts and kicks if needed. He brings a unique versatility to the Wildcats offense and will have a great opportunity to show NFL scouts that he can play at a high level in the SEC.

DL Antonio Shelton Florida Gators

HS Star Rating (247 Sports Comp): 3 Star

Measurables: 6-2, 325lbs

Yr: SR

Old School: Penn State

Best Season: 2020, 13 tac, 4 sacks, 1 FF

Analysis: Florida needed a solid interior defender, and they landed one with Penn State transfer Antonio Shelton. He provides a big body in the middle for the Gators and is a capable pass rusher who can get after opposing QB's.

LB Mike Jones JR., LSU Tigers

HS Star Rating (247 Sports Comp): 4 Star

Measurables: 6-0, 220lbs

Yr: SO

Old School: Clemson

Best Season: 2020, 26 tac, 1 sack, 1 FF

Analysis: Jones played in 29 games with the Clemson Tigers and started 7. The former 4-star recruit from the 2018 class brings experience to the LSU LB core. He reportedly transferred to LSU for a shot to play inside linebacker, reportedly what LSU brought him in to do. He possesses good athletic ability, which LSU fans have grown accustomed to seeing in recent years at the LB position.


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