Top Transfers for 1st-Year Head Coaches in 2022 CFB Season

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2022

Top Transfers for 1st-Year Head Coaches in 2022 CFB Season

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    The intersection of chaos in the offseason is when a new coach arrives at a program. Since a group of players typically leave because of the coaching change, the incoming coach regularly utilizes the transfer portal to bolster the roster.

    New faces, new places andhopefullynew stars.

    Although the 2022 transfer cycle is not complete, there has already been plenty of movement for the 29 programs that are entering a first season under new leadership. And we're highlighting a top transfer who is joining each recently hired coach.

    The choices are subjective but feature a preview of potential high-impact players in 2022 and beyond.

American and Conference USA Teams

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    Florida International Golden Panthers (C-USA)

    One-time Colorado boss Mike MacIntyre is taking over at FIU, and the defensive-minded coach's marquee addition is a linebacker. Donovan Manuel was a three-year starter at East Tennessee State and just finished the 2021 campaign with 124 tackles.


    Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (C-USA)

    Sonny Cumbie spent much of the last decade coordinating offenses at TCU and Texas Tech. However, he also dipped into the FCS for a defender. Myles Brooks, a cornerback, tallied four interceptions and six pass breakups at Stephen F. Austin last season.


    SMU Mustangs (AAC)

    After catching 40 passes for 575 yards and six touchdowns for North Carolina in 2019, injuries have since limited Beau Corrales to only six appearances. But he should be a featured target as Rhett Lashlee, who successfully revamped Miami's offense over the last two years, returns to where he previously served as the offensive coordinator.


    Temple Owls (AAC)

    Well, nothing yet. Maybe soon! Longtime running backs coach Stan Drayton is still aiming for a first transfer commitment.

Independent and MAC Teams

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    Akron Zips (MAC)

    Though never a star, wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis was a regular contributor at Pitt. In his four seasons, he collected 83 catches for 1,010 yards and three touchdowns. Jacques-Louis also rushed for 190 yards, and that versatility will be a welcomed addition for former Oregon offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.


    Connecticut Huskies (Independent)

    One way or another, the prime transfer for Jim Mora and UConn should be a quarterback. The former NFL coach landed Cale Millen (from Northern Arizona, previously Oregon) and Ta'Quan Roberson (Penn State) in hopes of upgrading the QB room.


    Massachusetts Minutemen (Independent)

    Don Brown is looking to reclaim that success he enjoyed as UMass' head coach from 2004 to '08, and he'll be trying to unlock the potential of a former 4-star safety. Tyler Rudolph headed to Penn State as the No. 269 overall player in the 2019 cycle but accumulated only seven tackles with the Nittany Lions.


    New Mexico State Aggies (Independent)

    Ahmonte Watkins arrived at TCU as a 4-star talent in the 2021 cycle. After holding a reserve role in his freshman year, the running back could be a multiyear contributor for New Mexico Statewhich hired former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill.


    Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Independent)

    Brandon Joseph put together an All-American season in 2020, snatching six interceptions for Northwestern. He piled up 80 tackles and three picks last season and is the expected replacement for NFL-bound safety Kyle Hamilton at Notre Dame for head coach Marcus Freeman. 

Mountain West and Sun Belt Teams

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    Tory Horton
    Tory HortonJae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Colorado State Rams (MWC)

    Take your pick, really. Jay Norvell departed Nevada, and a host of players followed him to Colorado State. Wide receivers Tory Horton and Melquan Stovall combined to record 108 catches for 1,286 yards and six touchdowns with Nevada in 2021.


    Fresno State Bulldogs (MWC)

    Retaining quarterback Jake Haener was a massive win, but Fresno Statewhich brought back 2017-19 head coach Jeff Tedfordalso added an important defender via the portal. Cameron Lockridge was a key cornerback for Hawai'i, totaling 73 tackles and three interceptions during the last two seasons.


    Georgia Southern Eagles (Sun Belt)

    USC fired Clay Helton early in the 2021 season, and he's since landed at Georgia Southern. Helton secured a commitment from Kyle Vantrease, who threw for 4,755 yards and 25 touchdowns with 13 interceptions in 654 attempts over five seasons at Buffalo.


    Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors (MWC)

    Given that program legend Timmy Chang is now Hawai'i's head coach, it's only sensible the big-name newcomer is a quarterback. Cammon Cooper played sparingly at Washington State, but the former 4-star prospect will have a chance to compete for the starting job because Chevan Cordeiro transferred to San Jose State.


    Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns (Sun Belt)

    Billy Napier left for Florida, and Louisiana promoted offensive coordinator Michael Desormeaux as the replacement. But as several key players have exited via transfer, Desormeaux isn't diving into the portal. So far, the major addition is Michigan State backup offensive lineman James Ohonba.


    Nevada Wolf Pack (MWC)

    Sometimes, you take a shot on talent. Darion-Green Warren rarely played for Michigan over the last two seasons, but the cornerback ended the 2020 recruiting cycle as the nation's No. 190 prospect. He's a worthwhile addition for Ken Wilson, who previously spent 24 seasons as an assistant coach or associate athletic director at Nevada before holding roles at Washington State and Oregon since 2013.


    Troy Trojans (Sun Belt)

    Jon Sumrall, who served as Troy's assistant head coach from 2015 to '17, has returned to the Sun Belt program. RaJae' Johnson-Sanders is joining him. The former junior college All-American caught 23 passes for 394 yards and a touchdown at UAB last season.

ACC Teams

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    Thomas Graning/Associated Press

    Duke Blue Devils

    No, a long snapper isn't glamorous. Yes, the Blue Devils figure to be active in the portal in the coming weeks. But, hey, if UMass transfer Evan Deckersthe lone commitment to dateis a reliable special teamer, that's a win for Mike Elko and Duke.


    Miami Hurricanes

    USC defensive tackle Jake Lichtenstein fills a position of need for Mario Cristobal, but Ole Miss running back Henry Parrish is a more dynamic addition. As part of the Rebels' rotation in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons, he scampered for 814 yards and five touchdowns and caught 28 passes for 232 yards.


    Virginia Cavaliers

    Unfortunately for UVA, the portal has depleted the depth of the offensive line this offseason. Tony Elliott, a longtime assistant at Clemson, needs to rebuild the unit, and adding Georgetown transfer Mac Hollensteiner is a necessary first step.


    Virginia Tech Hokies

    Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry left for Virginia Tech, and Temple wide receiver Jadan Blue did the same. He'll be trying to reclaim his previous form. After amassing 95 catches for 1,067 yards in 2019, Blue managed 71 receptions for 556 yards in 14 appearances since then.

Big 12 Teams

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Oklahoma Sooners

    Under the expectation Caleb Williams leaves the Sooners, having a proven quarterback will be a luxury for Brent Venables. The former OU and longtime Clemson defensive coordinator swiped Dillon Gabriel, who initially committed to UCLA after deciding to transfer. The left-hander had 8,037 passing yards and 70 touchdowns to only 14 interceptions in 26 games at UCF.


    TCU Horned Frogs

    Former top recruit Zach Evans headed to Ole Miss, but Sonny Dykes-led TCU restocked the backfield with Louisiana transfer Emani Bailey. The second-year player assembled a promising season in 2021, rushing for 642 yards and eight touchdowns while catching 15 passes for 153 yards.


    Texas Tech Red Raiders

    Following an excellent run as a high school coach, Joey McGuire spent five seasons as a Baylor assistant. His big break is at Texas Tech, and Cade Briggs is basically hoping for the same. The left tackle quietly put together two decent years at New Mexico and will compete for a spot on the Big 12 stage in the fall.

Pac-12 Teams

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Oregon Ducks

    So far, Oregon has lost a whole lot more talent to the portal than it's gained. But if Auburn quarterback Bo Nix settles the position, Ducks fans will be thrilled. He reconnected with Kenny Dillingham, who coordinated Auburn's offense in Nix's freshman year (2019) and accepted the same position under Dan Lanning in Eugene.


    USC Trojans

    While we await the decision of Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams and anticipate him picking USC, the Trojans' current top transfer is a 2021 teammate of his. Mario Williams posted 35 receptions for 380 yards and four touchdowns in his true freshman season, and he's followed Lincoln Riley to the West Coast.


    Washington Huskies

    With a nod to Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr., cornerback Jordan Perryman is a major addition to UW's defense under head coach Kalen DeBoer. The transfer from UC Davis registered 63 tackles with one interception, 12 pass breakups and two fumble recoveries last season.


    Washington State Cougars

    Starting quarterback Jayden de Laura left for Arizona, but Washington State replaced him with Incarnate Word star Cameron Ward. He reunited with head coach Eric Morris, whom Jake Dickert hired as Wazzu's offensive coordinator. Ward racked up 4,648 passing yards and 47 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions in 2021.

SEC Teams

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    Florida Gators

    Might as well mention them together, right? Napier brought two key offensive players along with him from Louisiana. Right guard O'Cyrus Torrence earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors, and running back Montrell Johnson landed second-team recognition.


    LSU Tigers

    Hey, same thing for LSU. Both cornerback Greg Brooks Jr. and safety Joe Foucha left Arkansas and chose the Tigers. They combined for 122 tackles with 10 for loss, two interceptions and nine pass breakups last season and both grabbed two picks in 2020. Brooks and Foucha are strong additions to former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly's fahmuhly in Baton Rouge.


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


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