With the NCAA passing legislation recently to allow players who are first-time transfers to be granted immediate eligibility, college football and basketball players have flooded the transfer portal. It seems the majority are looking for more playing time, while others are leaving due to coaching changes or in some cases are looking to showcase their abilities at a higher level or on a winning team. Will look at some recent transfers that are likely to impact the teams they are transferring to as well as the teams they are leaving.
But first would like to mention the sad news coming out of Texas.
Last week the Indianapolis Colts selected Texas Quarterback Sam Ehlinger with the 218th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Ehlinger, 6’1” 220 lbs, started 43 games for Texas between 2017-2020. He threw for 11,436 yards and completed 62.5 percent of his passes with 94 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. Ehlinger also rushed 554 times for 1,907 yards with 33 touchdowns.
Yesterday, his younger brother Jack. a linebacker on the Longhorns team was found dead. No cause of death or other details were released. He joined the team as a walk-on in 2019, but did not play the last two seasons.
It is the second tragedy suffered by the family. Their father Ross Ehlinger, suffered a heart attack competing in the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in 2013 and died in the San Francisco Bay.
In the last week there were a number of transfers that could make an impact on their new teams. I will list a few.
Alabama 5/6 – WR Jameson Williams transferred from Ohio State. Although he had only nine catches for 154 yards playing six games for the Buckeyes last season,his biggest night came in the Sugar Bowl semifinal win over Clemson with 3-catches for 62-yards, including a 45-yard touchdown.
Alabama looking for help at receiver after losing it’s top 2 receivers in Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith as well as Jaylen Waddle who was picked in first roung of NFL draft ahead of Smith.
It seems Williams will have a better chance of making an impact at Alabama, then staying at Ohio State where playing time figured to be harder to come by.
The Vols linebacking corps took some big hits this off season. Starter Quavaris Crouch transferred to Michigan State. He had played in 23 games with 11 starts and posted 85 tackles the last 2 years
Starter Henry To’o To’o entered the transfer portal and Alabama could be the leader for his services. To’o To’o started two seasons at linebacker. He led team with 76 tackles in 2020.
Among other recent transfers to Tennessee are WR JaVonta Payton from Mississippi State, where he caught 19 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown in 2020
Also picked up QB Joe Milton who transferred from Michigan where he began last season as the starter before losing the job. The vols have a number of candidates vying for the starting QB job.
Former QB starter Jarrett Guarantano, who started seven games in 2020 and 32 games in his career, transferred to Washington State back on January 8.
Guarantano never showed the consistency needed at the position and was turnover prone, something that has been a problem throughout his career.
LSU 5/6 – QB TJ Finley who started five games for the Tigers as a freshman in 2020, is set to enter the transfer portal. Finley and three other quarterbacks competed during spring practice at LSU, but Myles Brennan and Max Johnson emerged as the likely leaders in the race to start.
Finley became the starter after Brennan suffered a season-ending injury after 3 games, and passed for 941 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions, as LSU went 2-3 during the stretch. But Johnson replaced him for the final 2 games and passed for 674 yards and six touchdowns in wins over Florida and Ole Miss.
Purdue 5/4- With the graduation of J.D. Dellinger, finding a reliable kicker became a priority. So Purdue signed Samford kicker Mitchell Fineran as a graduate transfer. He converted 43 of 56 field goals (76.7%) and missed two extra points in 130 attempts and also had 31 touchbacks on 54 kickoffs in his career.
Oklahoma 4/23- Former Arkansas receiver Mike Woods transferred in. Woods finished last season with 32 catches for career highs in receiving yards (619) and touchdown catches (5. ). Woods averaged 19.3 yards per catch in 2020, the highest mark among players with 10-plus receptions.
Memphis 4/15- Center Jakari Robinson will transfer from Cincinnati where he started his last 21 games at center.
Clemson 5/6- Defensive end Justin Foster, who announced in February that he was ending his football career because of long-haul COVID-19 symptoms, will be rejoining the team in June. Foster was diagnosed with COVID-19 last June. After he received his first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in mid- April and within a week of the shot, felt good enough to resume exercise. “It’s not often you get a call from a great player that you think is gone and he says he’s coming back, so just a great thing,” coach Dabo Swinney said in his statement. And it’s great for Clemson because that gives us seven guys that have started back on our defensive line.”
Washington 4/23- All-American outside linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui tore his left Achilles tendon in a scrimmage drill, and is expected to miss 6-10 months.
Tupuola-Fetui had 13 tackles, seven sacks, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery in just four games, leading the nation with 1.75 sacks per game in his first season as a starter.
Cal 4/16- Brett Johnson, who started all four games on the defensive line for Cal in 2020, was ruled out for next season. He underwent successful surgery to repair a broken hip suffered in an automobile accident this spring. Last season, Johnson provided a veteran presence on the defensive line and enjoyed his best year, tying for third place on the team in total tackles.
Other Spring Football Notes
South Alabama 4/27- Jake Bentley will enter the 2021 season as South Alabama’s starting quarterback, head coach Kane Wommack announced Tuesday.
Bentley, a graduate transfer from Utah, took most of the first-team reps for the Jaguars in the spring. He beat out incumbent starter Desmond Trotter, among others, for the position. “We’re very excited about what he brings to the table, he has a tremendous attitude and a phenomenal work ethic,” Wommack said of Bentley. “He’s done a great job learning what we do here, and taking ownership of our offense and team culture.”
The globe-trotting Bentley began his college career at South Carolina. After starting parts of four seasons with the Gamecocks, he transferred to Utah for the 2020 season.
Temple 4/27- QB D’Wan Mathis was named Temple’s starter. The Georgia transfer struggled during the 2020 season with the Bulldogs. In limited action, he completed 12 of 30 passes for 89 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. Not sure this guy is the answer to their QB situation.
Three-year starting QB Anthony Russo looking for greener pastures, transferred to Michigan State in December. Russo left Temple ranked in the top four in team history for passing yards (6,287), completions (536), attempts (899) and touchdowns (44).