College football transfer rankings: top five teams that are better after using the portal to bring in new players

A year ago, Michigan State coach Mel Tucker responded to a 2-5 campaign by betting big on the transfer portal. Suddenly, the Spartans were 11-2, Peach Bowl champions and a model for every program hoping for an instant turnover.

After a tumultuous off-season, 36 FBS programs added 10 or more transfers to rebuild their rosters. Five of the top eight such classes were new coaches trying to put their own spin on a program. However, the sheer number of high-quality FBS contributors meant that programs could change by the fall.

Here are five college football programs poised to soar thanks to the transfer portal in 2022, ranging from national contenders to coaching staff that just need a few breaks.

Notable additions: QB Caleb Williams (Oklahoma), WR Jordan Addison (Pitt), RB Travis Dye (Oregon), LB Eric Gentry (Arizona State), CB Mekhi Blackmon (Colorado)

If there was any doubt USC has no interest in waiting to compete for the College Football Playoff after stealing Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma. The Trojans secured 19 transfers – four more than any other program – including two of the top four players in the class.

Quarterback Caleb Williams is the story after he followed Oklahoma’s Riley, but Biletnikoff-winning receiver Jordan Addison made headlines after joining the Trojans last week. The combination immediately rivals CJ Stroud and Jaxon Smith-Njigba as one of the best QB-WR combos in college football. Also, don’t think Riley skimped on the defense. Eleven defenders come to Los Angeles through the transfer portal.

USC’s roster was already undervalued after it collapsed following the resignation of Clay Helton. With the influx of talent en route to Heritage Hall, the Trojans will soon have hopes to challenge the Pac-12.

Notable additions: QB Jaxson Dart (Ole Miss), RB Zach Evans (TCU), EDGE Jared Ivey (Georgia Tech), TE Michael Trigg (USC)

The Rebels were ranked #2 in the 247Sports transfer rankings after bringing in nine prospects rated four-star transfer recruits or higher, trailing only Alabama and Texas in the average recruiting rating. Dart headlines the group as the #3 overall recruit and a worthy successor to NFL Draft pick Matt Corral.

In addition, the Rebels went hard on skill talent to provide Dart weapons. Running backs Ulysses Bentley IV and Evans played on both sides of the Battle for the Iron Skillet. Recipients Malik Heath, Jaylon Robinson and Jordan Watkins are proven merchandise.

Ole Miss won 10 regular-season competitions in 2021 for the first time in program history. The Rebels are in a transition year with so many new faces, but Lane Kiffin has Ole Miss ready to compete.

Notable additions: QB Casey Thompson (Texas), QB Chubba Purdy (Florida State), DL Stephon Wynn (Alabama), DE Ochaun Mathis (TCU)

The Cornhuskers went through the portal en masse, adding 14 transfers with possibly more on the horizon. Nine of the transfers were from Power Five institutions, including a few Alabama defenders in recent days.

Nebraska went offensively hard after an inconsistent unit cost them countless single-score games during a shocking campaign in 2021. Thompson should take the job below center, but FSU transfer Chubba Purdy gives Nebraska a long-term option. Recipients Trey Palmer and Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda team up with Omar Manning to give the exterior a new look.

The Cornhuskers have consistently struggled to generate the speed and separation needed to play Scott Frost’s dispersal system. Between the transfers and new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, Nebraska is better prepared to play competitive games.

4. Texas Longhorns

Notable additions: QB Quinn Ewers (Ohio State), WR Agiye Hall (Alabama), WR Isaiah Neyor (Wyoming), CB Ryan Watts (Ohio State), TE Jahleel Billingsley (Alabama).

The Longhorns have only added five transfers, but few teams will rely on their new signings like Texas. Ewers was the first perfect 10000 quarterback recruit since Vince Young and immediately changed the mood around a program that went 5-7 in 2021.

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian honed his skills after fielding 1,000-yard rusher Bijan Robinson and near-1,000-yard receiver Xavier Worthy in 2021. Neyor posted 878 yards and 12 touchdowns in Wyoming, while Hall and Billingsley both expected to contribute significantly. deliver to Alabama by 2022.

If Texas can make progress on the defense and offensive line — neither of which are guarantees — the Longhorns could emerge as the Big 12 favorite. However, every transfer must be hit.

Notable additions: QB Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma), S Devonni Reed (Central Michigan), WR Antwane Wells (James Madison), TE Austin Stogner (Oklahoma)

The Gamecocks sometimes surprised themselves in 2021 by turning a depleted roster and quarterback carousel into a promising 7-6 campaign. Fueling Florida and Auburn at the right time played a vital role, but South Carolina coach Shane Beamer turned the shocking success into real roster success.

Rattler was the presumed No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft en route to last season before a tumultuous Oklahoma season lowered his value. Rattler still boasts arguably the best overall arm talent in college football and should provide an incredible upgrade. Beamer did well to surround him with goals, adding James Madison’s 1,200-meter receiver Wells and Arkansas state’s 800-meter receiver Corey Rucker.

The SEC East will take another step forward with Tennessee and Kentucky poised for special seasons, but South Carolina could take another step to the top of the league if Beamer’s growth continues. To call the Gamecocks’ offensive talent transformed is an understatement.

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