College football has become fully entrenched in the transfer portal. Teams have begun to build their roster and rely on the portal to help transform teams in a single season. Schools look to the portal to find instant help rather than wait for recruits to develop. New coaches are able to bring players in who help fit the system they want to run. No matter your opinion of the transfer portal, it is here to stay. Each year we see numerous transfers make impactful changes to their new program. We are here to list five transfers we believe will have the biggest impacts.
Travis Hunter WR/DB (Colorado) – We could not start this list without putting the number one recruit in the 2022 class on this list. Hunter played on both sides of the ball at Jackson State during his freshman season. He registered 19 tackles, eight passes defended, two interception and one defensive touchdown. As a wide receiver he totaled 18 receptions for 190 yards and four touchdowns. Hunter was expected to enroll at Florida State before a last second flip to Jackson State where he joined Deion Sanders. When Hunter entered the transfer portal he was expected to follow Sanders to Colorado. The talent for Hunter is unquestioned. One of the main concerns is his ability to play both sides of the ball. How will his body handle playing the majority of the game and will playing offense take his focus away from the defensive side of the ball?
Sam Hartman QB (Notre Dame) – Notre Dame’s quarterback situation was not bad last season but they clearly had room for improvement. Tyler Buchner started the season as quarterback but was injured in the second game of the season against Marshall. Drew Pyne was serviceable for the season but entered the transfer portal immediately following the end of the regular season. Sam Hartman is a more talented and accomplished quarterback who instantly improves Notre Dame’s chances for the 2023 season. Hartman has registered 77 passing touchdowns to just 26 interceptions over the past two seasons. Notre Dame has a difficult schedule with games against Ohio State, Clemson, USC and NC State this fall. Hartman will provide the Fighting Irish their best quarterback in the past decade.
Dasan McCullough LB (Oklahoma) – The Oklahoma Sooners were able to secure a Freshman All-American to help them on defense. Dasan McCullough was the highest rated recruit to ever attend Indiana but chose to transfer after just one season. McCullough’s father was originally hired by Indiana but after Notre Dame chose to hire him away after just one season, the younger McCullough chose to look at his options in the transfer portal. McCullough was productive registering 49 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks in his freshman season. He should be an instant starter on Brent Venables defense with his versatility and playmaking ability. McCullough flashed in the Oklahoma spring game finishing with three tackles and a pass broken up before an injury which held him out the rest of the game.
Cade McNamara QB (Iowa) – If Kirk Ferentz is going to find a way to bring his offense into the 21st century, it feels like it needs to be this season. Brian Ferentz has a performance clause in his contract for scoring more than 25 points per game. The last three years with Spencer Petras has been a nightmare for Iowa fans. Cade McNamara gives the Hawkeyes an established quarterback who can help the offense move forward. Iowa has also recruited in the transfer portal for offensive playmakers but without a solid quarterback they would all go to waste. McNamara started the entirety of the 2021 season for Michigan before losing the job to JJ McCarthy in 2022. He comes into 2023 looking to bring Iowa back to the Big Ten championship.
Carson Steele RB (UCLA) – Carson Steele is the best running back the country fans have not heard about. Steele played the last two seasons at Ball State rushing for over 2,600 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is a tough downhill runner who can help UCLA move the chains especially with a new quarterback under center. The Pac-12 is going to be one of the most competitive conferences this fall and UCLA needs playmakers on both sides of the ball. Steele will not be a consistent home run threat as he lacks the straight line speed to beat our defenders once he reaches the second level. He will know how to move the chains and help UCLA move down the field.