Top Players in the College Football Transfer Portal After Championship Weekend

Morgan MoriartyDecember 6, 2022

Top Players in the College Football Transfer Portal After Championship Weekend

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    Devin Leary
    Eakin Howard/Getty Images

    The 2023 transfer portal officially opened on Monday, Dec. 5. Thanks to the NCAA's new relaxed transfer rules that allow players to transfer to another school without having to sit out a year, a ton of players are looking to find new schools.

    As of Monday afternoon, there were already over 500 FBS players in the portal, per Max Olson of The Athletic. That is obviously a lot of players, but we'll do our best to break down some of the biggest names entering the portal.

    It's still early in the cycle, and players can ultimately take their names out of it if they wish. But it seems that so far, the trend is that there are a ton of big-name quarterbacks that will be transferring. But there are plenty of offensive skill players and guys on defense on the market, too.

    Let's run through the top players currently in college football's transfer portal following championship weekend.

    All recruitment information courtesy of 247Sports Composite rankings.

Big-Name Quarterbacks Officially on the Market

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    DJ Uiagalelei
    Eakin Howard/Getty Images

    Devin Leary, NC State

    This one is a bit of a surprise, but Leary is one of the biggest names under center to hit the portal. He has spent the last five seasons at NC State, throwing for 6,807 yards and 62 touchdowns throughout his career.

    Leary's 2022 season ended after tearing his right pectoral muscle on Oct. 8 against Florida State. He reportedly could be ready to be fully healthy by potentially as early as March, per ESPN's Pete Thamel. Wherever Leary ends up, that team is getting a very productive quarterback.

    DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson

    This one is a bit less surprising, but Clemson's starter for the last two seasons is looking to play elsewhere. The news came a day after the Tigers' ACC Championship victory over UNC.

    Although Uiagalalei started in the contest, backup Cade Klubnik took over after the former opened the game with two three-and-outs. Klubnik put up a brilliant outing, throwing for 279 yards and a touchdown while completing 83.3 percent of his passes. He rushed for a touchdown, as well.

    Uigalelei struggled significantly in 2021, throwing for just nine touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Although his numbers improved a lot this season, finishing with 2,521 yards and 22 touchdowns with seven interceptions, he struggled with consistency.

    Uiagalelei is a former 5-star recruit from the class of 2020, and he was the No. 1 overall pro-style quarterback, so he'll likely have a robust market.

    Nick Evers, Oklahoma

    Evers is another former highly-touted recruit to hit the transfer portal. The true freshman is a former 4-star QB prospect who was the No. 9 QB prospect from the class of 2022. Sitting behind Dillon Gabriel for most of this season, Evers attempted just one pass all year. Gabriel will have a season of eligibility remaining in 2023, and the Sooners also have a 5-star QB prospect, Jackson Arnold, committed to their 2023 class.

    Brennan Armstrong, Virginia

    Armstrong has been a three-year starter for Virginia, dating back to the 2020 season. His best season for the Cavs came in 2021 when he threw for 4,449 yards and 31 touchdowns while rushing for another nine scores. In 2022, his numbers dropped significantly, throwing for just 2,210 yards and seven touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He took 34 sacks on the season, too.

    Kedon Slovis, Pittsburgh

    One of the biggest names that transferred last offseason is on the move again, as Slovis is in the portal as a graduate transfer. He spent the first three seasons of his career at USC, where he threw for 7,576 yards and 58 touchdowns with 24 interceptions.

    Slovis went 7-4 in his 11 games while throwing for 2,397 yards and 10 touchdowns with nine interceptions in 2022. He is not expected to play in the Panthers' upcoming game against UCLA in the Sun Bowl UCLA, per Thamel.

Big-Name Quarterbacks Officially on the Market, Continued

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    Spencer Sanders
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State

    Late on Monday afternoon, Sanders surprisingly hit the transfer portal. He has started for Oklahoma State for the last four seasons, throwing for 9,553 yards and 67 touchdowns with 40 interceptions. On the ground, he added another 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns.

    Sanders had his best year in 2021, throwing for 2,839 yards and 20 touchdowns during the Cowboys' 12-2 season. He capped his junior campaign with 496 total yards and four touchdown passes in a wild 37-35 comeback win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

    Hudson Card, Texas

    Unlike some of the other signal-callers, this one isn't too surprising. Card started in two games for the Longhorns last season, throwing for 590 yards and five touchdowns with one interception. He competed for the starting gig before the 2022 season but lost the battle to former Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers.

    He did see some playing time this season, thanks to Ewers spraining his left clavicle earlier in the year against Alabama. He threw for 928 yards and six touchdowns with one interception. In total, Card played in 22 games for the Longhorns. Card is a former 4-star QB prospect who was the No. 2 dual-threat QB prospect from the class of 2020.

    Jeff Sims, Georgia Tech

    The Yellow Jackets QB started in Atlanta for the last three seasons, throwing for 4,464 yards and 30 touchdowns with 23 interceptions. The sophomore rushed for another 1,155 yards and 11 touchdowns. Sims committed to Georgia Tech's class of 2020 as a 4-star prospect and the No. 10 dual-threat QB in the nation.

    Drew Pyne, Notre Dame

    The Fighting Irish's starter for most of the 2022 season is on the move. Pyne came off the bench and stepped in for Tyler Buchner, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 2. Pyne put together a good season for 8-4 Notre Dame, recording 2,021 passing yards and 22 touchdowns with six interceptions, adding 108 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

    Austin Reed, Western Kentucky

    Reed has had quite the journey as a quarterback. He started his career at Southern Illinois, then spent two seasons at D-II West Florida. In 2019, he led the Argonauts to a D-II national title. Following his 2021 season there, Reed transferred to Western Kentucky.

    He then had a remarkable season in his first in the FBS, throwing for 4,247 yards and 36 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. His passing yards are second in the nation, behind Washington's Michael Penix, Jr. Whoever ends up with Reed is getting a prolific passer.

    Author's note: Michigan's Cade McNamara and Boston College's Phil Jurkovec have already landed at Iowa and Pitt, respectively.

Talented Skill Players Have Hit the Portal

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    Dorian Singer
    Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    RB Nay'Quan Wright, Florida

    Wright struggled to get significant reps in a crowded running back room in Gainesville. Playing mostly behind true freshman Trevor Etienne and Montrell Johnson Jr., the redshirt sophomore rushed for just 190 yards on 47 carries with two touchdowns. Wright came to campus as a former 4-star recruit and the No. 16 running back prospect in the class of 2019.

    WR Dorian Singer, Arizona

    Singer has had a prolific second year in the desert, averaging 16.7 yards per catch and ranking second in the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game at 92.1. He has also scored six touchdowns on the season. The talented wideout committed to Arizona's class of 2021 as a 3-star prospect.

    WRs Dont'e Thornton and Seven McGee, Oregon

    The Ducks have a couple of receivers hitting the portal this offseason. Thornton finished the season as Oregon's No. 4 receiver, catching 17 passes for 366 yards and just one touchdown. He was the seventh-ranked wideout in the class of 2021.

    McGee had a much less productive season than his teammate, Thornton. He had just 11 receptions for 67 yards and no touchdowns in seven games.

    WR De'Zhaun Stribling, Washington State

    We've seen a lot of Pac-12 players on the move so far, huh? Washington State will have to replace its leading receiver from this season, as Stribling led the Cougars with 51 receptions, 602 yards and five touchdowns on the season, averaging 11.8 yards per reception.

Talented Skill Players Have Hit the Portal, Continued

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    Jimmy Horn Jr.
    Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    RB Kobe Pace, Clemson

    Pace was Clemson's No. 2 running back last season behind Will Shipley, rushing for 641 yards and six touchdowns. But as Shipley's load grew in 2022, Pace's output drastically decreased. This season, he rushed for just 77 yards on 30 carries with three touchdowns.

    WR Traeshon Holden, Alabama

    Holden was a 4-star prospect from Alabama's class of 2020 and the No. 22 prospect out of California that year. Over the last two seasons with the Tide, Holden accounted for 46 receptions for 570 yards and seven touchdowns.

    TE Erick All, Michigan

    One of Michigan's captains from this season is heading elsewhere. All played in Michigan's first three games of the season but missed the rest of the year after undergoing an undisclosed surgery in October.

    In 2021, All finished with 38 receptions for 437 yards and two touchdowns. This year, he had just three catches for 36 yards.

    WR Elijah Spencer, Charlotte

    Spencer led the 49ers in receiving yards this season, recording 943 yards and nine touchdowns. As a true freshman in 2021, he had 381 yards with six touchdowns.

    WR Jimmy Horn Jr., USF

    Per 247Sports, Horn is a top-20 prospect in this year's transfer portal. Over the last two seasons with the Bulls, Horn accounted for 959 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 14.3 yards per reception. He has reportedly set his focus on Colorado, where Deion Sanders was just hired as the Buffaloes new head coach, Houston, Penn State and Texas A&M.

Big Names on Defense Transferring

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    Dasan McCullough
    James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    OLB Dasan McCullough, Indiana

    McCullough was one of the most talented prospects in the class of 2022. The pass-rusher was a 4-star prospect and the No. 2 overall prospect in Indiana.

    The true freshman lived up to the hype. McCullough ranked seventh on the team with 48 total tackles and tied for first with four sacks. 247Sports predicts that McCullough will play for Oklahoma in 2023.

    CB Fentrell Cypress II, Virginia

    One of Virginia's most talented cornerbacks will play elsewhere in 2023. Cypress accounted for 39 total tackles this season. He also finished tied for fourth overall in passes defended in the ACC in just nine games, with 13 on the season.

    CB JQ Hardaway, Cincinnati

    Thanks to head coach Luke Fickell accepting the Wisconsin head coaching job, there will likely be other players from Cincinnati leaving the program. Hardaway was the second-highest-rated player in Cincy's recruiting class of 2022, coming in as a 4-star prospect and the No. 15-ranked safety in the nation.

    DL Tunmise Adeleye, Texas A&M

    Adelaye played his first season as a redshirt freshman in 2022. He finished with six total tackles, including four solos in just two games after suffering a knee injury. Adeleye was the ninth-ranked defensive lineman prospect in the country and the eighth-ranked player in Texas.

    LB Mason Cobb, Oklahoma State

    Cobb was the leader of Oklahoma State's defense this season after racking up a team-high 96 total tackles and 13 tackles for loss. The junior added two sacks, one interception and one forced fumble. In his 2020 and 2021 seasons, he had 10 total tackles, so this season was a breakout one for Cobb.