Under-the-Radar Transfers to Know for 2022 College Football Season
Between the transfer portal and one-time immediate eligibility, keeping track of every Football Bowl Subdivision team's roster has become a major challenge.
And, hey, it's the offseason. You might be watching other sports or simply checking in occasionally for the latest college football news. Throughout the last six months, however, thousands of players have entered the portal and found a new school.
Naturally, then, you could've missed some notable moves—transfers that don't command the attention of Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison to USC or Quinn Ewers to Texas, for example.
The list is subjective, but every player highlighted is outside of the top 100 in 247Sports' transfer rankings.
Mitchell Agude, Edge, Miami
Miami has collected an impactful group of transfers once again. The prized addition is Akheem Mesidor, a defensive tackle who left West Virginia and is likely to play a key role.
Alongside him, though, the 'Canes will likely be relying on former UCLA edge-rusher Mitchell Agude.
In two seasons (19 games) with the Bruins, he amassed 78 tackles with 15.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks. Agude, a 6'4", 245-pound edge-rusher, also forced seven fumbles.
Miami's top returning players at the position—Jahfari Harvey and Chantz Williams—each recorded 2.5 sacks last year. Agude has an excellent opportunity to both earn a starting job and immediately become a leading contributor for the Hurricanes.
Jacoby Windmon and Aaron Brule, LB, Michigan State
Transfers fueled Michigan State's rise in 2021, and the Spartans have returned to the portal with seven additions.
Shortly before the New Year, they picked up two linebackers: UNLV's Jacoby Windmon and Mississippi State's Aaron Brule. Windmon registered 119 tackles with 11.5 for loss and 6.5 sacks last season, while Brule tallied 53 stops and eight TFLs.
That experience is valuable enough, but their production became even more important in April.
Star linebacker Quavaris Crouch—whom MSU pulled from the portal last offseason and notched 75 tackles in 2021—entered the transfer portal again. His departure means Windmon and Brule should be fixtures of the linebacker rotation with Cal Haladay.
Azizi Hearn, CB, UCLA
The portal was largely unkind to Wyoming, which lost a handful of top players to power-conference schools. Wide receiver Isaiah Neyor attracted some headlines with his move to Texas, but UCLA swiped a gem in cornerback Azizi Hearn.
The expectation, based on UCLA's returning personnel, is he'll likely start this season.
"Azizi is great," teammate Logan Loya said, per Eric He of the Los Angeles Daily News. "I think he's an outstanding player, and I think he's going to be a force to be reckoned with this year."
Dylan McDuffie and Hassan Hall, RB, Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech lost its superstar to the portal.
The program's fifth-best signee in 247Sports history, Jahmyr Gibbs gathered 968 all-purpose yards and totaled seven scores as a true freshman in 2020. He followed that campaign with 1,805 all-purpose yards and six more touchdowns last season.
No single player can replace the Alabama-bound back, but the Yellow Jackets nabbed two runners to bolster the unit.
In 2021, Dylan McDuffie scampered for 1,049 yards, caught 14 passes for 123 yards and totaled 12 touchdowns. He's the most versatile option and should be a regular contributor. Hassan Hall rushed for nearly 1,300 yards in four seasons at Louisville, also serving as the primary kick returner each year.
McDuffie and Hall quickly turned a position of need into a moderate strength for Georgia Tech.
Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida
The most recent transfer on the list, Ricky Pearsall announced his commitment to Florida on Saturday.
And the Gators desperately needed a wideout like him. They lost leading receiver Jacob Copeland (Maryland) and tight end Kemore Gamble (UCF) to transfers, and pass-catching backs Malik Davis and Dameon Pierce both headed to the NFL.
Immediate success isn't guaranteed, but Pearsall is instantly one of the Gators' most proven targets. He paced Arizona State with 48 catches, 580 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Pearsall and Justin Shorter—who transferred from Penn State a few years ago—should be Florida's primary receivers in 2022.
Jaylon Robinson, WR, Ole Miss
Ole Miss brought in quarterback Jaxson Dart (USC), running back Zach Evans (TCU) and tight end Michael Trigg (USC), and they're expected to headline the offense in 2022.
Don't overlook Jaylon Robinson, however.
Shortly after spring practice, the former UCF wideout shifted to Oxford. He was a first-team All-AAC selection in 2020 when he secured 55 receptions for 979 yards and six touchdowns. Despite missing about half of 2021 with a knee injury, Robinson still managed 18 catches for 322 yards—an explosive 17.9 per catch—and two scores.
Given that Ole Miss must replace key target Dontario Drummond along with Braylon Sanders and Jahcour Pearson, Robinson is a much-needed piece for the receiving corps.
Tayvion Robinson, WR, Kentucky
Kentucky struck gold with Nebraska transfer Wan'Dale Robinson, and they're hoping the surname brings another jewel.
Tayvion Robinson held an important role in all three seasons at Virginia Tech. After snaring 31 passes for 404 yards as a freshman in 2019, he tallied 38 receptions for 592 yards in 2020 and 44 catches for 559 yards last year. He has nine career touchdowns.
Sure, those numbers don't scream superstardom. But the UK offense has exactly zero returning players who mustered even 15 receptions or 200 yards last season.
Robinson and Alabama transfer Javon Baker—an unproven yet talented arrival—have enormous shoes to fill in Lexington.
Mekhi Garner, CB, LSU
Louisiana coach Billy Napier accepted the Florida job in December, and a mini-exodus followed his departure.
But as most attention focused on the players who followed him to Gainesville—offensive lineman O'Cyrus Torrence, most notably—a rival of the Gators snatched a terrific defender.
Mekhi Garner, a two-year starter for the Ragin' Cajuns, transferred to LSU. He earned third-team All-Sun Belt recognition last season. And in 2020, he allowed the lowest passer rating in the nation among cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus.
Replacing first-round NFL draft pick Derek Stingley and Alabama-bound Eli Ricks is practically impossible. Garner certainly removes a portion of the sting for LSU, though.