College Football
College football post-spring transfer portal report: Who will make a big splash?
College Football

College football post-spring transfer portal report: Who will make a big splash?

Updated May. 9, 2024 9:55 a.m. ET

With spring football coming to an end and the latest transfer portal window now officially closed, it's time to take a step back and examine some of the top names who will have new homes in 2024.

Ole Miss, Oregon and Texas A&M brought in the top transfer hauls this offseason, according to, but what stands out about those classes? 

Which under-the-radar QB transfers should fans be watching this upcoming season, and who are the top non-QB names to keep an eye on? 

And finally, could there be a couple more big-name players switching schools in the upcoming weeks?


FOX Sports college football experts Michael Cohen, Laken Litman and RJ Young share their thoughts on these questions and more!

As the transfer portal begins to cool, what stands out about the highest-ranked classes in the 2024 cycle?

RJ Young: Colorado being ranked No. 7 stands out to me because it is the best example of how the rankings might not be indicative of what a good roster is going into the 2024 season. Given that they’ve added the third-string running back at Ohio State last year and an offensive lineman who did not play at all at Texas, I don’t think we should value the transfer portal rankings as highly as we once did.

Texas ranks No. 6 in the portal and Ohio State ranks No. 8, and both might beat Colorado by four touchdowns if they played today.

Colorado was the top-ranked team in the 247Sports Transfer Portal Rankings last year. Ole Miss finished second and USC finished third in the same metric in 2023. The Buffs finished 4-8 and are in the midst of a six-game losing streak. Last season, the Miami Hurricanes ranked No. 7 in the transfer rankings, yet Mario Cristobal’s squad finished 7-6 with an appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl.

This year, Ole Miss ranks No. 1, Oregon No. 2 and Texas A&M at No. 3. Only one of those teams — Oregon — feels like a national title contender. Ole Miss is coming off its best season in school history, and A&M is where Colorado was last year — new coach, new optimism, tough conference.

In 2024, my eyes will focus most on continuity, both on the roster and on the coaching staff.

Michael Cohen: Nearly 40 players from an Alabama team that lost in overtime to Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinals entered the transfer portal during the winter and spring cycles. Many of those decisions were, predictably, linked to the departure of legendary head coach Nick Saban, who announced his retirement on Jan. 10, and some of them involved very high-profile players: safety Caleb Downs (No. 1 S, No. 1 overall); wide receiver Isaiah Bond (No. 1 WR, No. 4 overall); and quarterback Julian Sayin (No. 1 QB, No. 6 overall) to name a few. In total, six of the top 50 players in the 247Sports Transfer Portal Rankings and 10 of the top 100 came from the Crimson Tide's roster.

An exodus involving such talented players spawned some negative headlines, but new Alabama head coach Kalen DeBoer deserves credit for the caliber of player he's brought in to augment the roster he inherited. Even though DeBoer wasn't hired until Jan. 12, and even though his presumed offensive coordinator — Ryan Grubb — reversed course to accept the same position with the Seattle Seahawks, the Crimson Tide have put together a transfer class ranked fourth nationally behind only Ole Miss, Oregon and Texas A&M. Four of Alabama's 12 newcomers played for DeBoer at Washington, headlined by former four-star quarterback Austin Mack. But DeBoer and his staff also succeeded in bringing starting offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor back to Alabama after a short-lived transfer to Iowa, plucked a starting safety from Michigan in Keon Sabb and held onto former five-star defensive back Domani Jackson from USC once Saban retired, among others.

All told, it was an impressive effort to replenish the roster.

Ohio State & Georgia in RJ Young’s winners in the transfer portal

Laken Litman: What stands out is that Ohio State isn't playing around. Ryan Day wants to win a national championship, and he wants to do it now.

After losing to Michigan for the third straight time and then watching the Wolverines win a national title, the Buckeyes got to work. Day added two quarterbacks, including Will Howard, considered to be the most experienced QB in the portal, as well as former five-star recruit Sayin, who fled Alabama after Nick Saban retired.

But that's not all. Ohio State also snagged a few more highly touted players from Bama that plenty of other schools wanted, like Downs and offensive lineman Seth McLaughlin, as well as former Ole Miss leading rusher Quinshon Judkins

Day already had a ton of talent returning, and he's added key pieces on both sides of the ball this offseason. But with these strong additions, it's clear it's national championship or bust in Columbus this year.

Which under-the-radar quarterback transfer will you be watching this season?

Michael: In a portal cycle that was dominated by the likes of Sayin (Alabama to Ohio State), Cam Ward (Washington State to Miami), Riley Leonard (Duke to Notre Dame), Dillon Gabriel (Oklahoma to Oregon) and Kyle McCord (Ohio State to Syracuse), one of the less-heralded moves involved a backup at Georgia who stayed in the SEC by transferring to Kentucky. Three years ago, Brock Vandagriff was a five-star prospect and the No. 4 quarterback in the 2021 recruiting cycle. The only quarterbacks ranked above him were Quinn Ewers, Caleb Williams and Sam Huard. Vandagriff, a Georgia native, held scholarship offers from nearly every blue blood across the country and chose to play for the Bulldogs.

But the storybook rise of two-time national champion Stetson Bennett (2021, 2022) and the emergence of Carson Beck as a highly talented heir (2023) kept Vandagriff on the bench for three seasons. He attempted just three passes as a freshman and sophomore combined before earning a bit more playing time last year in support of Beck. He logged 55 snaps and completed 12 of 18 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. At Kentucky, where Vandagriff is expected to be the starter, he'll be working with new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan, another new arrival. Hamdan held the same role at Boise State last season. 

Laken: Leonard at Notre Dame.

While he only played seven games last season at Duke due to a nagging ankle injury, Leonard was certainly one of the best dual-threat QBs to come through the portal this offseason. And he could be the piece that helps lead the Fighting Irish back to the College Football Playoff this season.

Leonard was considered one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC. He has a strong arm, good pocket awareness and is an accurate passer. And while he is a dual-threat, Leonard could be throwing the ball more often under new offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock, who returns to Notre Dame after a stint at LSU where he coached No. 2 overall NFL Draft pick Jayden Daniels.

So, a healthy Riley should be in good hands in South Bend.

Takeaways from the transfer portal

RJ: Minnesota graduate transfer quarterback Max Brosmer. At New Hampshire last season, Brosmer threw for 3,459 yards and 29 TDs, was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award — given to the nation’s top offensive player in FCS — and was a first-team All-America selection by the AFCA.

He threw for 300 or more yards in six games last year, including 493 with four TDs against Central Michigan.

The Gophers have been looking for a steady and productive quarterback since they won 11 games and the Big Ten West title back in 2019. Brosmer might be the man to lead them back in the most competitive year the Big Ten Conference has seen.

Which non-quarterbacks can make huge splashes with their new teams?

Laken: Wide receiver Isaiah Bond, who transferred from Alabama to Texas.

The Longhorns have a big year ahead as they join the SEC as a national championship contender. And after losing some key offensive weapons like Xavier Worthy, Adonai Mitchell and Ja'Tavion Sanders, Bond has an opportunity to make an immediate impact as Quinn Ewers' go-to target.

The rising junior led Alabama last year with 48 catches, 668 yards and four receiving touchdowns, and perhaps most notably was the receiver who caught the famous fourth-and-31 touchdown pass to beat Auburn.

Bond is fast, elusive and talented, which should work out nicely in Steve Sarkisians' offense.

RJ: Jeremiah Smith at Ohio State.

As I wrote three weeks ago, Buckeye strength coach Mickey Marriotti called Smith the most impressive player he's seen as a freshman since former Florida great Percy Harvin. In the broadcast on FOX, former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer relayed that general manager Mark Pantoni is calling Smith the best first-year player he's ever seen.

"He's got a chance to be special," Day said of Smith. "He really does ... He's talented, disciplined and skilled."

Michael: The first name that comes to mind is Bond, who was one of the primary targets for Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe last season. Intermittent contributions early in the year gave way to increased steadiness down the stretch, as Bond caught at least four passes in five of the Crimson Tide's final six games. Included in that run was a five-catch, 79-yard effort against Georgia in the SEC Championship game to help propel Alabama into the College Football Playoff against Michigan.

Bond should immediately step into a starting role at Texas, which bid farewell to Worthy (75 catches for 1,014 yards and 5 TDs), Mitchell (55 catches for 845 yards and 11 TDs), Sanders (45 catches for 682 yards and 2 TDs) and Jordan Whittington (42 catches for 505 yards and 1 TD) via the NFL Draft. Worthy was selected in the first round by the Kansas City Chiefs. Mitchell was a second-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts. Sanders was chosen in the fourth round by the Carolina Panthers. And Whittington was a sixth-round pick by the Los Angeles Rams. Together, their production accounted for 75.3% of the Longhorns' total receiving yards last season.

There should be plenty of passes thrown Bond's way in 2024.

Of the players who remain uncommitted entering the summer, which transfer would you be most interested in adding before fall camp?

RJ: Cormani McClain — a reclamation project with tremendous upside.

McClain was the No. 2-ranked player in the 2023 recruiting class and No. 1 at his position when he flipped his commitment from Miami to Colorado. He has since entered the transfer portal after starting in four games and playing in nine.

Among Florida high school players, McClain was his own no-fly zone. If a coach and staff can succeed with him, there’s little question he could be one of the most dominant corners in the sport.

Michael: Former Syracuse and Ohio State safety Ja'Had Carter is an interesting name to watch. Carter earned Freshman All-America honors for the Orange in 2020 after finishing second on the team in tackles (67) and demonstrating a nose for the football with two interceptions, three pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He remained at Syracuse for two more seasons, in 2021 and 2022, before entering the transfer portal and committing to Ohio State ahead of the 2023 campaign. At the time, Carter was viewed as one of the more coveted defensive backs in the portal.

But his career never quite kicked into gear with the Buckeyes, for whom he played only 124 defensive snaps last season. Injury issues and a crowded secondary room left Carter as the odd man out behind fellow safeties Josh Proctor (625 snaps), Sonny Styles (543 snaps) and Lathan Ransom (486 snaps) during his only season at Ohio State. With Ransom returning and the addition of All-American safety Caleb Downs through the transfer portal, Carter saw the writing on the wall. He re-entered the transfer portal in late April and remains uncommitted.

Laken: Former Oklahoma quarterback General Booty. One of the more recognizable names in college football — his uncles Josh and John David played quarterback at LSU and USC, respectively — is on the market as of last week.

Booty threw for 3,410 yards with 27 touchdowns in one year at Tyler Junior College before transferring to OU. He played sparingly behind Dillon Gabriel (now at Oregon) and Jackson Arnold (the Sooners' next starter). The Texas native is currently uncommitted and could add solid depth and experience to another quarterback room.

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Michael Cohen covers college football and basketball for FOX Sports with an emphasis on the Big Ten. Follow him on Twitter at @Michael_Cohen13.

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of "Strong Like a Woman," published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast "The Number One College Football Show." Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to "The RJ Young Show" on YouTube.


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