Over the last few years, the college football transfer portal has become just as important as having a top recruiting class. It is like free agency in the NFL; and with the combination of name-image-likeness deals and your team's reputation, getting a former four-star or five-star recruit could change the outcome of a program as early as the upcoming season. We saw this last year, as quarterback Caleb Williams followed his head coach from Oklahoma to USC and got the Trojans just one game away from a spot in the College Football Playoff. And the 2023 transfer portal season looks to be just as impactful with the players who have made the move from their old program to their new home. So let's take a look at 10 of the most impactful transfers that have occurred this offseason.
QB DJ Uiagalelei: From Clemson to Oregon State
A former five-star recruit, DJ Uiagalelei struggled to find his footing after stepping in as starting quarterback for the Clemson Tigers. In the last two seasons, he passed for 31 touchdowns but also threw 17 interceptions. This is a situation where a good player probably just needs a change of scenery, and with that came the decision for Uiagalelei to move across the country to the Northwest to play for the Oregon State Beavers, who are coming off their first 10-win season since 2006. Uiagalelei should be a huge help to an offense that struggled last year in the passing game.
QB Devin Leary: From NC State to Kentucky
The NC State Wolfpack were the 49ers of the 2022 college football season, as they were decimated at quarterback due to injuries — and their luck does not get much better as Devin Leary leaves to join the Kentucky Wildcats this offseason. Leary, who has thrown for 62 touchdowns to just 16 interceptions in his career, replaces Will Levis, who is off to the NFL. And he takes over a Kentucky offense that has now made a splash at the most important spot on the field. The Wildcats could possibly see an improvement in their air attack with the addition of Leary.
CB Denver Harris: From Texas A&M to LSU
Denver Harris, a former five-star recruit, was ranked as the 23rd best overall prospect in the 2022 recruiting class. Harris got off to a hot start his freshman year for Texas A&M, making 14 tackles and having three pass deflections in his first five games. But following an incident in the locker room, Harris and two other teammates were suspended indefinitely, and Harris would never put on his Aggie uniform again. Harris joins an LSU team looking for a fresh start, and he is looking to become a difference maker on a team that surprised many last year in winning the SEC West.
WR Dante Cephas: From Kent State to Penn State
Penn State has offered Kent State WR, Dante Cephas. The Penn Hills native had totaled 2,139 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns as a member of the Golden Flash program. pic.twitter.com/fVffeoCKyL
— Dear Old State (@_DearOldState) December 5, 2022
K.J. Hamler. Jahan Dotson. Parker Washington. Those players have been the three big names to come out of Penn State at the wide receiver position. And Dante Cephas looks to add his name to that list. Although he is coming from the Mid-America Conference, Cephas has recorded 130 receptions for 1,984 yards and nine touchdowns in the last two seasons. Cephas becomes the second receiver coming from a Group of Five school in as many years, as Mitchell Tinsley joined Penn State last season after transferring from Western Kentucky.
LB: Ernest Hausmann: From Nebraska to Michigan
When a coach recruits you and then either gets fired or leaves for a new job, your chances of staying with your current school usually go down. Linebacker Ernest Hausmann, who had 54 total tackles and one sack in 2022, leaves after just one year at Nebraska. Hausmann joins the Michigan Wolverines, who already have one of the best defenses in the country. This is where the "rich get richer" saying comes in. Hausmann has a knack of finding the ball carrier and is going to be an X-factor and potential leader on that defense in year one.
WR Dominic Lovett: From Missouri to Georgia
Despite winning a second national championship, the Georgia Bulldogs could use another threat in the passing game. Tight end Brock Bowers and wide receiver Ladd McConkey are both returning in 2023, but the next two leaders in their air attack were a running back and another tight end. Wide receiver Dominic Lovett makes the move from Missouri to Georgia, bringing three years of eligibility after having a good sophomore season with 56 catches for 846 yards and three touchdowns. Whoever is QB1 for the Bulldogs in 2023 is going to have plenty of weapons.
LB Dasan McCullough: From Indiana to Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Sooners had one of their worst seasons in a very long time, finishing seventh in the Big 12 with a 6-7 record. However, the Sooners started to come alive late in the season, and 2023 should be a bounce-back year in what is Oklahoma's last year in the Big 12. A good way to make sure that happens is improving their defense, and bringing in linebacker Dasan McCullough from Indiana is a great first step to make that happen. As a freshman, McCullough recorded 48 tackles, four sacks and three pass deflections.
WR Dorian Singer: From Arizona to USC
In the 2022 transfer portal, the USC Trojans were the team making the biggest splashes, with quarterback Caleb Williams and wide receiver Jordan Addison. But Addison declaring for the NFL leaves competition open for QB1's new favorite target. And while there are names on the current roster that will be vying for the coveted WR1 spot, transfer Dorian Singer of Arizona will look to throw his name into the hat. Singer had a breakout sophomore year, catching six touchdowns on 66 receptions that went for 1,105 yards.
QB Sam Hartman: From Wake Forest to Notre Dame
Is Sam Hartman a good quarterback? Or a system quarterback? Can Notre Dame make the jump with their best quarterback to line up under center since Brady Quinn? Those questions will be answered in 2023 as Hartman heads to South Bend to put on the hand-painted golden helmet for his last year of college football. In his career at Wake Forest, Hartman threw for just under 13,000 yards and 110 touchdowns, with a career rating of 144.9. If he proves to not be a system quarterback, Notre Dame is going to be very dangerous next season.
WR/DB Travis Hunter: From Jackson State to Colorado
A former five-star recruit, Travis Hunter shocked nearly everyone last year when he flipped his commitment to go play at Jackson State for Deion Sanders. But with Sanders' move to Boulder, Colorado, to coach the Colorado Buffaloes, Hunter has decided to follow his coach to continue his play as the difference maker on Coach Prime's defense and an offensive weapon on the other side of the ball. In a split role in 2022, Hunter had 18 receptions for 190 yards and four touchdowns; and on defense, had 19 tackles, two interceptions and a fifth touchdown off one of those interceptions.
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