The transfer portal can change a program for the better, but which teams have best managed to master the incredibly difficult numbers game this cycle?
Over 2,000 college football players have entered the portal during the current cycle starting Aug. 1. Not every player will find a new home, and teams rarely fill every empty roster spot because of scholarship limitations. The NCAA has offered a reprieve in 2022, but it’s not a perfect cure. The organization is allowing programs to add seven players out of the transfer portal in addition to the 25 players those teams are allowed to sign out of the high school and JUCO ranks. The programs, however, must also remain at or below the limit of 85 scholarships. So, at most, teams can offer 32 scholarships to new players — even if they have 40 or more spots available.
The math rarely matches in the ledgers. Also attempting to compare a team with seven additions via the transfer portal after losing 20 players can seem like a daunting exercise. In an effort to simplify the problem and better evaluate teams as we exit the first of two big waves in the portal (the next coming in April and May), let’s evaluate where each Power Five team stands. To do so, 247Sports will take the average rating of the players leaving each program — ratings via the 247Sports transfer rankings team — and compare it to the average rating of the players entering the program. The gross difference in players are not factored into the evaluations. Instead, the average player rating is all that matters, and we simply distill that number to reach a net gain or net loss via the 247Sports rating system.
Departures: 14 (84.75)
Newcomers: 4 (93)
Net rating gain: +8.25
Signing the second-best quarterback out of the transfer portal has a way of lifting an incoming class. Quinn Ewers, with a perfect 100 rating, is on campus and so, too, is Wyoming receiver Isaiah Neyor, who garnered a grade of 90 after his breakout performance in 2021 (44 catches for 878 yards and 12 touchdowns) for the Mountain West team. The Longhorns also added former Alabama tight end Jahleel Billingsley, giving them three players with a plus-90 rating.
Notable departures including former starting quarterback Casey Thompson (Nebraska) and tight end Jared Wiley (TCU). Despite the discrepancy in incoming and outgoing numbers, chalk up this offseason as a win for the Longhorns in the portal.
2. KANSAS STATE
Departures: 11 (82.95)
Newcomers: 5 (86.6)
Net rating gain: +3.65
Kansas State loves veteran quarterbacks, so the Wildcats went looking for another at the end of sixth-year senior Skylar Thompson’s final season and landed him in longtime Nebraska signal-caller Adrian Martinez. He completed 63.5% of his passes for 8,491 yards and 45 touchdowns, and provides the Wildcats the type of dual-threat runner we’re accustomed to seeing in Manhattan.
The Wildcats also added a pair of linebackers in Branden Jennings (Maryland) and Will Honas (Nebraska) to help replace the loss of super senior Cody Fletcher. Jennings is the best portal prospect signed by the Wildcats, according to 247Sports’ ratings. The addition of Virginia defensive back Josh Hayes was a great move, too.
Departures: 4 (87.03)
Newcomers: 1 (90)
Net rating gain: +2.97
It’s quiet in Waco, and that’s a good thing following a fantastic second season under Dave Aranda’s leadership. Baylor has only added one player – two-time All-AAC defensive tackle Jaxon Player – from the transfer portal after losing four in this current cycle. Player led Tulsa with 15 tackles for loss last season. Receiver RJ Sneed (87), a second team All-Big 12 player, is the only former Bear to land at a Power Five program (Colorado).
4. TEXAS TECH
Departures: 7 (82.5)
Newcomers: 8 (84.25)
Net rating gain: +1.75
Did the early hiring of Joey McGuire in November curb departures and give the Red Raiders the opportunity to offset numbers earlier than others? The Red Raiders lost only seven players in the cycle (so far) and have added eight. The primary focus is along the offensive line, an area McGuire is concerned about heading into his first season. The Red Raiders have added seven offensive linemen this offseason, including three from the transfer portal. The top three additions from the portal are all linemen.