Predicting Landing Spots for Top Names in the Transfer Portal

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2021

Predicting Landing Spots for Top Names in the Transfer Portal

0 of 7

    Casey Thompson
    Casey ThompsonChuck Burton/Associated Press

    Bowl season will provide the main headlines into early January, but the transfer portal will be zapping impact players all over the country throughout the postseason.

    We've seen big-name quarterbacks like Spencer Rattler leave Oklahoma for South Carolina, Dillon Gabriel depart UCF for UCLA and Quinn Ewers exit Ohio State in favor of Texas. Star cornerback Eli Ricks shifted from LSU to Alabama too.

    And the transfer market shows no signs of slowing down.

    For several months, new names will enter the portal each day. Using the most accurate list as of this writing, though, we're checking out potential landing spots for well-known players and former top recruits.

Marcus Banks, CB

1 of 7

    Alika Jenner/Getty Images

    After arriving as a 4-star cornerback in the 2019 class, Marcus Banks never cracked the Alabama rotation. In Tuscaloosa, he primarily contributed on special teams.

    But a few programs hope to see Banks jump into their defense.

    Since entering the portal, the defender has officially visited Maryland, Miami and Mississippi State. Paul Jones of 247Sports noted Houston is also "in the mix" because Banks is from the area. It's safe to expect he's received other interest too.

    Miami is a logical spot for Banks, who would provide much-needed depth in a secondary that desperately needs it. This season, the 'Canes surrendered a 61.9 completion percentage with 21 touchdowns allowed and only eight interceptions.

Zach Calzada, QB

2 of 7

    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Shortly before Texas A&M landed LSU transfer Max Johnson, starting quarterback Zach Calzada hit the portal.

    Haynes King initially won the competition, but a leg injury created an opportunity for Calzada. He played reasonably well, managing 2,185 yards with 17 touchdowns to nine interceptions while leading the Aggies to a massive upset of top-ranked Alabama.

    However, he managed just 6.7 yards per attempt and would've faced a major offseason competition with King and Johnson. Calzada will instead take his multiple years of eligibility elsewhere.

    Given his experience, a team that needs to replace a quarterback in 2022 is a reasonable place to start. Cincinnati and Pitt fit the description, and both programs offered him a scholarship as a recruit. Recent social media activity has connected him to the Panthers too.

    Pitt is our front-runner for Calzada.

Zach Evans, RB

3 of 7

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Two years ago, Zach Evans picked TCU in a wild recruitment. Georgia released him from a national letter of intent, and the running back ultimately made his decision in May.

    Perhaps it won't be so dramatic this time around. The suitors, however, are a familiar group.

    Evans chose TCU over a group that included Ole Miss and Tennessee, and both are interested in him again. He recently visited Ole Miss and, per Ryan Callahan of 247Sports, met with UT offensive coordinator Alex Golesh and running backs coach Jerry Mack.

    Since he went to Knoxville as a high schooler, a Tennessee commitment is a possibility. Still, in recruiting, where a player has visited consistently shows the options to take seriously.

    That's Ole Miss for Evans.

Jahmyr Gibbs, RB

4 of 7

    Mike Stewart/Associated Press

    Jahmyr Gibbs put together a strong freshman year at Georgia Tech, tallying 968 all-purpose yards with seven total touchdowns. In 2021, he scampered for 746 yards, caught 36 passes for 470 yards, posted 589 kick-return yards and again scored seven times.

    Whichever team secures Gibbs will add a versatile playmaker who should contribute in 2022.

    Early in his transfer recruitment, there isn't a clear favorite. Hank South of 247Sports noted to expect "due diligence" from Alabama, which has dealt with a string of injuries at running back. Texas has not been linked to Gibbs, but on Saturday, the Longhorns hired Tashard ChoiceGibbs' primary recruiter and position coach at Georgia Tech.

    Another school to watch is Michigan State, considering its success with Wake Forest transfer Kenneth Walker III. He declared for the NFL draft Thursday.

    Nevertheless, if Alabama comes calling, it's tough to imagine Gibbs passes up that opportunity.

Cameron Ward, QB

5 of 7

    Bo Nix confirmed contact with Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin on Friday, but the Auburn transfer and one-time 5-star prospect chose Oregon. Kiffin probably isn't done QB-hunting, though.

    Kiffin has overseen prolific offenses at Alabama, Florida Atlantic and Ole Miss in the last half-decade, so Matt Corral's departure leaves an interesting vacancy. The Rebels may be peering into the Football Bowl Subdivision to fill the void.

    Incarnate Word quarterback Cameron Ward threw for 2,260 yards and 24 touchdowns in the six-game spring season. This fall, he shredded defenses for 4,648 yards and 47 scores.

    Ole Miss rapidly brought in Ward for an official visit, beating the dead-period cutoff.

    Ward told David Johnson of 247Sports he might not have a decision until early January. But it's clear Kiffin and the Rebels have made Ward a priority.

Kedon Slovis, QB

6 of 7

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Kedon Slovis burst onto the national scene in 2019. When a knee injury sidelined quarterback JT Daniels for the season, USC turned to Slovisthen a true freshmanto lead the offense. He responded with 3,502 yards and 30 touchdowns to only nine interceptions.

    Unfortunately for both him and the Trojans, that was the peak. Slovis struggled in the shortened 2020 season and again in 2021, averaging a combined 7.3 yards per attempt in those two years.

    It's time for a fresh start.

    According to Scott Wolf of Inside USC, Slovis is looking at Arizona, Cal and Nebraska. The most intriguing option is Arizona, a program in Slovis' home state and in dire need of a QB. This year, the Wildcats ranked 118th nationally with 6.1 yards per throw and had 12 touchdowns to 18 interceptions.

    Barring a surge in interest from other suitorswhich is plausibleArizona is an enticing pick for Slovis.

Casey Thompson, QB

7 of 7

    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    Casey Thompson started most of the season for Texas, but the position is unsettled. Not only did the Longhorns add Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers, but they also signed 4-star quarterback Maalik Murphy. Hudson Card, who initially won the competition in 2021, is expected to return next year too.

    Given the stocked QB room and Thompson's impending graduation, it's a logical time for a change of scenery.

    And he shouldn't be thin on landing spots.

    Texas finished 5-7, yet Thompson threw for 2,113 yards and 24 touchdowns to nine interceptions. While much of that production came in three gamesTexas Tech, Oklahoma and Kansasthose performances showed the high end of his ability.

    Nebraska coach Scott Frost should be chasing Thompson, an Oklahoma native, after Adrian Martinez transferred to Kansas State.


    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from, or B/R research. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.