College football’s transfer portal reopens. Who stands to gain? Plus, underrated draft QBs

College football’s transfer portal reopens. Who stands to gain? Plus, underrated draft QBs


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The spring transfer portal window opens today. Stay up to date with the latest moves here.

Portal Moves to Watch

Which teams will be most active?

The spring window opens at an interesting time because many college programs are still in the middle of spring practice. That could mean less of an ambush of players entering the portal on opening day and more fluidity throughout the window as spring games are played and depth charts are solidified. Here are three teams that could be the most active this time around:

1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide are under the scholarship limit, and the spring window will give coach Kalen DeBoer his first true chance to bring in players of his choice since being hired in January. Kadyn Proctor, the former Alabama tackle who transferred to Iowa but has since informed the Hawkeyes he plans to re-enter the portal, is the player to watch. Proctor has said he plans to return to Tuscaloosa. Needs: Offensive line, cornerback

2. Washington: Speaking of DeBoer, the Huskies’ portal activity is another result of a later-than-usual coaching change. Jedd Fisch takes over a Washington team that competed for the national championship but has plenty of rebuilding to do with key pieces off to the NFL or in the portal. As it stands, this roster is young, so it’s probable the Huskies go shopping for some experience. Needs: Offensive line, running back, tight end

3. Miami: Mario Cristobal faces what feels like a make-or-break third season in Coral Gables. Former leading rusher Henry Parrish Jr. plans to transfer, so the Canes surely will search for his replacement in the portal. Expectations are high with Washington State transfer Cam Ward leading the offense, and Miami will want to use this portal window to ensure he has all of the tools he needs around him. Needs: Running back, receiver, edge, linebacker

The Until Saturday podcast sets up the rest of the portal with more programs and players to watch.

Portal Predictions

Multi-time transfers, more QB moves

The average Power 5 program already has taken more than 10 scholarship transfers this offseason. But the spring transfer window is sure to include its fair share of drama. Here are a few predictions from The Athletic staff on what to expect:

Yours truly: The quarterback sweepstakes are not over. Ohio State has five QBs on its roster; at least one will enter the portal. There’s no clear starter at Michigan, so Sherrone Moore will go shopping.

Max Olson, senior writer: Last year, nearly 650 FBS scholarship players transferred during the spring window, including more than 300 from Power 5 schools. It’s reasonable to expect we’re going to see more players become available in this year’s cycle since this is sort of a free-for-all with the NCAA’s one-time transfer rule currently suspended. What that’s going to lead to, and we’re already seeing it early on, is a lot of repeat transfers and even players who are going back in the portal after joining a team in January. Most of the contenders I’ve checked in with the past few weeks say they don’t need much this spring barring some surprise attrition, but the expanded Playoff is going to motivate more top-25 caliber teams and their NIL collectives to be post-spring buyers looking for upgrades or depth at certain positions.

Chris Vannini, senior writer: There will be several notable players who transfer for the second time this offseason. Because unlimited transfers are now legal, some players who transferred in the winter will be on the move again. It could be because they don’t like their new home, but it could be because they already want to renegotiate a larger NIL package and could find that elsewhere. Teams need to hang on to some players who just joined the team. Having two transfer windows and unlimited transfers has created a second free agency within teams.

Daniel Shirley, editor: There will be news, for sure, and a lot of it, but the flood of names or news won’t be as strong as it was in the winter window, at least for the first day. It will come slower and more consistently throughout this window.

Underrated QBs in Draft

Two who shined in college

In today’s edition of underrated NFL prospects, Jacob Robinson, author of our NFL newsletter, Scoop City, and I debate two quarterbacks who over-produced in college but are falling in draft evaluations. Jacob joins us with the full NFL scouting report for the players and where they might land at the next level. For my full summary of their college careers, read today’s Scoop City.

(Check out our evaluations of three edge rushers here.)

1. Sam Hartman, Notre Dame

Jayna: A Wake Forest transfer, Hartman slightly underwhelmed at Notre Dame, but he still leaves college football as the ACC’s leader in TD passes thrown.

Jacob: Hartman’s 116 TD passes across the past three seasons rank behind only Caleb Williams in this class. Still, Dane projects a sixth- or seventh-round pick for Hartman, who has “average velocity and drive power in his arm but his feel for accuracy when he makes the right read is what makes him effective” (see below). The expectation here is a No. 2 or No. 3 QB in the NFL, potentially as a seventh-round Packers pick.

2. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland

Jayna: The Big Ten’s all-time passing leader holds Maryland records for career completion percentage and passing TDs, among others.

Jacob: Given the depth at his position, this draft class is not a favorable one for veteran prospects who struggle under pressure, like Tagovailoa. As Brugler’s 18th-ranked QB, Tagovailoa has an undrafted grade. Like Tank Dell, Tagovailoa’s size (5 feet 11, 200 pounds) is a concern as Brugler notes a “lack of top-tier physical traits will make it tough for him to overcome inconsistent decision-making in the NFL.”

Still, I expect this mobile passer to find his way onto a roster by camp.

Quick Snaps

Even more on the transfer portal. Not all teams use it in the same way. From the big spenders to the denier, Max Olson outlines the five different approaches to the portal.

Georgia got some early portal news when RB Andrew Paul said he plans to transfer. Still, the Bulldogs are above the scholarship limit and have the most depth at receiver and defensive back, meaning players at those positions could be likely to hit the portal.

Penn State’s No. 1 wide receiver, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, entered the portal as a graduate transfer yesterday. Speculation mounted during the weekend when he wasn’t in attendance at the Blue-White game.

Manny Navarro’s North Carolina all-state team includes a tough decision at quarterback: Drake Maye or Hendon Hooker?

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(Photo of Kalen DeBoer: Gary Cosby Jr. / USA Today)


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