While the excitement of LSU's national championship will continue in Louisiana, college football teams have moved on to the offseason. But other than the 2020 recruiting cycle ending, nothing will draw more attention than the transfer portal.
The name is a bit dramatic for an online spreadsheet listing those who have decided to transfer. But, as Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields showed in 2019, the portal can be extremely valuable.
Now, an important point to remember is players who decide to transfer won't necessarily find another FBS home. Coaching staffs must weigh the opportunity cost: Is a player with limited eligibility enough of an upgrade to not pursue a high school prospect in the current or next recruiting cycle?
Although a healthy roster isn't built through transfers, they can solidify a contending team.
More players will announce their intentions to switch schools, yet the portal already has a good number of impactful talents.
Florida is an early winner in the transfer department, pulling in a pair of former 5-star prospects from rival schools in running back Lorenzo Lingard (Miami) and rush end Brenton Cox (Georgia). Even if neither one is immediately eligible, that's a whole lot of talent coming to Gainesville.
Dan Mullen's squad is about to lose Feleipe Franks, who missed most of 2019 because of an ankle injury. Florida should be comfortable with its remaining depth at the position, but Franks is among the most experienced quarterbacks available.
For now, the prized option in the portal is Houston quarterback D'Eriq King. He accounted for 50 touchdowns in 2018 but took a redshirt in 2019 to preserve his final year of eligibility.
Other notable starters who entered the portal are Stanford's K.J. Costello, Wake Forest's Jamie Newman (Georgia), South Carolina's Jake Bentley (Utah), Boston College's Anthony Brown and Texas Tech's Jett Duffey.
Previous top recruits who haven't played much include Auburn's Joey Gatewood (transferred to Kentucky), Notre Dame's Phil Jurkovec (Boston College), TCU's Justin Rogers and USC's Jack Sears (San Diego State). They were all 4-stars in their respectively classes.
And then there are the 5-stars.
In addition to Lingard and Cox, several other players with top billing as recruits are seeking different homes. Or, in the case of offensive lineman Cade Mays, returning home.
Ranked 22nd in the 2018 class, Mays attended Knoxville Catholic and went to Georgia, but he's transferring to Tennessee. The same cycle featured wide receiver Justin Shorter, the No. 8 prospect overall who is leaving Penn State.
Alabama defensive end Antonio Alfano (No. 5 in 2019) left the team in October and is headed to Colorado.
Mays started 18 games, but the other 5-stars are mostly unproven. Perhaps the most accomplished transfer, though, is Temple defensive end Quincy Roche.
In 2019, the edge-rusher tied for 10th nationally with 19 tackles for loss and seventh at 13 sacks to earn AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Roche totaled 39.5 stops in the backfield and 26 sacks in three productive seasons at Temple.
Roche will be immediately eligible as a grad transfer, which is a considerable draw for several other quality players.
UCLA receiver Theo Howard posted a pair of 50-catch seasons but is bound for Oklahoma. Indiana left tackle Coy Cronk (40 starts), Vanderbilt left tackle Devin Cochran (32) and Maryland right guard Terrance Davis (31) all have plenty of experience and will be available to play right away in 2020.
Grad transfers are low-risk additions because they usually provide a rapid fix.
A few programs stand out as ones that should be looking for some.
Tennessee ended 2019 with a six-game winning streak but isn't close to the level of a national contender just yet. Along with Mays, the Vols have added USC receiver/returner Velus Jones Jr. and Nebraska wideout Miles Jones this offseason.
Miami, meanwhile, needs to improve a messy offensive line.
Andrew Ivins of 247Sports reported Roche visited the school and Manny Diaz has contacted both Cochran and Davis. Plus, the Canes landed FIU specialist Jose Borregales after kicking issues directly impacted four losses in 2019.
New Boston College coach Jeff Hafley and new/old Rutgers boss Greg Schiano—both former Ohio State defensive coordinators, incidentally—have good reason to use the portal.
Hafley made a splash with Jurkovec, while Greg Schiano is capitalizing on his Ohio State connection. Rutgers has added Buckeyes linebacker/safety Brendon White and UCF defensive tackle Malik Barrow, who started his career in Columbus.
Baylor quarterback Peyton Powell has also picked Rutgers.
Although the offseason isn't as busy, transfer news can happen at any moment. In the process of writing this primer, there were reports that Boise State defensive end Kukea Emmsley and Duke offensive tackle Jaylen Miller decided to transfer.
Things, as you see, change quickly on the glorified spreadsheet that is the transfer portal.