College Football Transfer Players Who Will Make a Big Impact in 2018

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2018

College Football Transfer Players Who Will Make a Big Impact in 2018

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    Recruiting is the principle way to acquire talent and build a college football program, but transfers occasionally make a major impact for teams.

    NCAA rules stipulate a player who switches schools must sit out for an entire season, so several of the top transfers in 2018 watched from the sideline last year. But thanks to the graduate transfer rule, athletes who have earned their degree are eligible immediately.

    Though more transfers could happen after spring practice, we're focused on the players and grads who will be factors in 2018and have announced where exactly they are headed.

         

    Note: Athletes who were available to play in 2017 (Kyler Murray, for example) and JUCO players are not included.

Honorable Mentions

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    Thomas Graning/Associated Press

    Ole Miss transfers: Shea Patterson (QB, Michigan), Van Jefferson (WR, Florida) and Deontay Anderson (S, Houston) are among six Ole Miss transfers waiting for a ruling. The NCAA must decide whether the underclassmen will be immediately eligible at their new location due to misconduct at their former school.

    Calvin Anderson, OT: A three-year starter at Rice, Anderson is looking to finish his college career at a major destination. Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma and Auburn are among his suitors, per Taylor Estes of 247Sports.

    Keller Chryst, QB: KJ Costello has taken control at Stanford, and Chryst isn't sticking around like Ryan Burns did in 2017. Chryst is one of the most experienced quarterbacks on the move.

    C.J. Fuller, RB: The emergence of Tavien Feaster and Travis Etienne has limited opportunities at Clemson. Fuller, who has six career touchdowns, will transfer after spring practice.

    Kiy Hester, S: Shortly after enrolling at Miami in 2014, Hester returned home and became a three-year starter for Rutgers. The aggressive safety has 18 career pass breakups and four interceptions.

    Madre London, RB: London earned the starting job as a freshman at Michigan State in 2015. However, an injury allowed LJ Scott to assume the No. 1 role, which he's retained for two-plus years. London, a graduate transfer, could be an immediate starter elsewhere.

    C.J. Sanders, WR/KR: With a 24-catch season and four career return touchdowns on his Notre Dame resume, Sanders should be a valued addition at his next destination.

    Wilton Speight, QB: Speight nearly led Michigan to a Big Ten Championship Game appearance in 2016, but poor performance and an injury last season led to the end of his tenure in Ann Arbor.

Dylan Klumph, P, Arizona

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    Glamorous? No. Important? Immensely.

    Jake Glatting and Josh Pollack shared punting duties at Arizona in 2017, and it went poorly. Their combined 35.5-yard average would've ranked 129th out of 130 teams, and a few other punts from teammates dropped the 'Cats below Ball State for the nation's worst mark.

    Thankfully for Arizona, Dylan Klumph is a major upgrade at the position. He ranked eighth in the FBS with a 44.8-yard average in 2016 and 39th last season, booting his kicks at a 43.0 clip.

Alex Thomson, QB, Marshall

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    Apologies to Alex Thomson for the unflattering picture, but it's the only available image in three different databases. Marshall hopes he'll change that over the next two years.

    The surprise NFL draft declaration of Chase Litton opened up the quarterback job, and Thomson is coming in from Wagner to fill it. He chose Marshall over Baylor and Tennessee, according to Grant Traylor of the Herald-Dispatch.

    A shoulder injury shortened his 2017, but Thomson threw for a combined 3,521 yards and 24 touchdowns to 11 interceptions in 2015 and 2016. He's drawn praise from a former NFL star, too.

    "He can play at any level," Phil Simms said, per Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports. "There's no question. If things fall right [in college], I definitely think he's a pro prospect. I don't even have to hesitate to say that."

Jalen Hurd, RB, and Jake Fruhmorgen, OL, Baylor

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    Matt Rhule needs to rebuild the Baylor program, and a couple of power-conference transfers should bolster the offense in 2018.

    Jalen Hurd amassed 3,127 yards from scrimmage and 26 total touchdowns as a running back at Tennessee. However, the 6'4", 220-pounder has switched to receiver. Though the transition isn't easy, he caught 67 passes while with the Vols and has been adjusting to the position for a year in Waco.

    In 2016, Jake Fruhmorgen started eight games for national champion Clemson. Shortly after choosing Florida, the tackle backed out and chose Baylor, where he is expected to secure a starting job on a retooling offensive line in 2018.

Jordan Cronkrite, RB, South Florida

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    Jordan Cronkrite collected 511 total yards and six touchdowns at Florida, but he left after spending two years in a rotational role. The Gators were leaning heavily on Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine, so Cronkrite sought and found a more favorable situation.

    And he's eligible at a perfect time for South Florida. In addition to losing star dual-threat quarterback Quinton Flowers, the Bulls need to replace Darius Tice and D'Ernest Johnsonwho combined for 1,739 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground last year.

    Cronkrite will be an important player on a USF team hoping to dethrone in-state rival UCF in the American Athletic Conference.

P.J. Mbanasor and Rodjay Burns, CB, Louisville

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    Louisville must replace a pair of starters at cornerback, but P.J. Mbanasor and Rodjay Burns ease that concern.

    Mbanasor, a 4-star prospect in the 2015 class, managed seven tackles and one pass breakup during his freshman year at Oklahoma. He took a redshirt in 2016, transferred last summer and is "eager to compete," per Jake Lourim of the Courier Journal.

    Burns, who returned an interception for a touchdown in his Ohio State debut two years ago, headed back home after one season with the Buckeyes. Louisville assistant Chris Klenakis recently praised Burns' combination of size, acceleration and speed.

    Along with Russ Yeast, Mbanasor and Burns will be called upon to fill the major voids in the secondary.

Chris Robison, QB, and Jovon Durante, WR, FAU

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    FAU's starting quarterback Jason Driskel had a season of eligibility remaining, but he unexpectedly retired this offseason. That has opened the door for a Big 12 transferwho might target another one quite often.

    Chris Robison enrolled at Oklahoma, but the former 4-star recruit was dismissed for a violation of team rules. He's a leading candidate to start, along with one-time West Virginia receiver Jovon Durante. The speedy wideout tallied 60 catches for 726 yards and seven scores in two years.

    Throw in JUCO transfer B.J. Emmonswho played for Alabamawith All-American running back Devin Singletary returning, and FAU has elite talent under an elite offensive mind in Lane Kiffin.

Jonathan Giles, WR, and Breiden Fehoko, DL, LSU

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    The Texas Tech-to-LSU pipeline will be on display this season.

    Jonathan Giles amassed 69 receptions for 1,158 yardsthe 23rd-most in the FBSand 13 touchdowns for the Red Raiders in 2016. Though LSU has highly recruited talent, no returning wideout has recorded more than 14 catches or gained 219 yards in a season.

    Additionally, defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko should compete for a starting job and at least be a rotational piece. He recorded 38 tackles with 7.5 stops for loss and two sacks in two years at Tech.

           

    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from NCAA.comcfbstats.com or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.