Over the years, the transfer portal in college football has served several functions. It allows players looking for playing time to see the field, increasing their chances of making it to the next level.
The ability to sift through thousands of players for an instant roster swap is also appealing to coaches. Michigan State and Southern California have used the portal to success in the last two seasons, and the recent spotlight on Colorado and new head coach Deion Sanders will be another litmus test for the portal’s ultimate success or failure.
Here are some of the top college football players who have entered the portal and have the potential to make an immediate impact on a new team.
North Carolina State quarterback Devin Leary
Leary began the season on Heisman Trophy watch lists, but he only played in six games before being injured with a pectoral muscle. Despite his small stature, Leary has the arm strength to get the ball where it needs to go and the speed to get out of jams in the face of a heavy pass rush. He is an instant plug-and-play for schools looking for a solid one-year fit.
Jaheim Bell, South Carolina tight end
Bell is a converted wide receiver who may return to the position if he is fit. Bell was used in a variety of ways at South Carolina, catching 25 passes for 231 yards and also carrying the ball in short yardage, finishing second on the team with 73 carries. Bell still has two years of eligibility left and will play for Florida State in 2023.
Grayson McCall, quarterback, Coastal Carolina McCall is a rare player who will play in a bowl game before moving on to another team. McCall is a three-time Sun Belt Player of the Year who has appeared in 32 games over the last three years. His 2022 season featured 24 touchdowns and only two interceptions. McCall brings efficiency, and in his four years at Coastal, he has only eight interceptions in 780 passing attempts.
DB Fentrell Cypress, Virginia Cypress will play for Ohio State after intercepting 13 passes and totaling 39 tackles in 2022. He has made 14 starts over the last two seasons and provides assistance to struggling secondary coverage units.
Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei
To say Uiagalelei’s career has been up and down would be an understatement. He was a former five-star recruit who was expected to keep Clemson afloat after Trevor Lawrence left for the NFL. Uiagalelei did throw for 2,521 yards and 22 touchdowns while reducing turnovers, but his inconsistent performance led to his benching in favour of Cade Klubnik.
Tulsa’s Justin Wright is a linebacker.
If Tulsa needed to make a defensive play, Wright was probably nearby. Wright, a senior, had 101 tackles, including 10.5 for loss. He also had two interceptions, two sacks, and two fumbles forced. Wright has committed to play for Oklahoma State next season, filling a need as the Cowboys’ leading tackler in 2022.
Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones
Jones made seven starts for the Sun Devils after arriving from Florida in 2022. He enters the 2023 season as a graduate student transfer with one year of eligibility remaining. He threw for 1,533 yards, seven touchdowns, and four picks. Jones would be a good fit for an offence that allows dual-threat quarterbacks to operate in space.
Arizona WR Dorian Singer
Singer led the Pac-12 in receiving yards with 1,105 yards on 66 receptions and six touchdowns, while also earning first-team All-Pac-12 honours. Singer has received scholarship offers from at least eight different schools, including Mississippi State, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and rival Arizona State.
Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders
Sanders had an outstanding 2021 season, throwing for 2,839 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions while leading the Cowboys to the conference championship game. Sanders, the Big 12’s offensive freshman of the year in 2019, had a troubled 2022 season due to injuries. He appeared in ten games and threw for 2,642 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Dominic Lovett, Missouri Wide Receiver
Lovett, a sophomore, was Missouri’s most productive wide receiver, working out of the slot while the Tigers struggled to find a consistent passing game. He had 56 catches on 76 targets for 846 yards and averaged 15.1 yards a reception. Teams would be wise to pursue Lovett as an upgrade to any wide receiver room.
Indiana’s Dasan McCullough, LB
McCullough is on his way to Oklahoma after a freshman season in which he recorded 49 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks for the Hoosiers. McCullough is expected to make an immediate impact after the Sooners’ defensive struggles were exposed in blowout losses to TCU and Texas. The Sooners also add Notre Dame defensive tackle Jacob Lacey to help strengthen their defence.