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Transfer portal breakdown: The key transfer for each Big 12 team

Mike Huguenin06/20/22
Article written by:On3 imageMike Huguenin

MikeHuguenin

DillonGabrielOklahoma
Dillon Gabriel worked with new OU offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby at UCF, and their reunion should yield big numbers for the Sooners. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

This is a slow period in the transfer portal, and the current portal lull is a good time to do a league-by-league re-examination of the transfer portal comings and goings. Today, we’ll examine the key newcomer for each Big 12 team. Tuesday, we’ll look at how each league team will replace its key departure.

And over the next two weeks, we’ll continue the transfer portal series with a look at the Pac-12, as well overviews of the Group of 5 leagues and independents.

We’ve already looked at the key incoming and outgoing transfers in the ACC Atlantic, the important incoming and outgoing transfers in the ACC Coastal, the key incoming and outgoing transfers for SEC East teams, the key incoming and outgoing transfers in the SEC West, the key incoming and outgoing transfers in the Big Ten East and the key comings and goings in the Big Ten West.

Baylor

Player: DT Jaxon Player, from Tulsa
The skinny: Player is a Waco, Texas, native who was a three-year starter and two-time All-AAC honoree for the Golden Hurricane. Player was a second-team selection in 2021, when he was second in the league with 15 tackles for loss. He was a first-team All-AAC pick in 2020. He had 32 TFL in his Tulsa career. At the least, he figures to be an important rotation piece for Baylor. At the best, he is a disruptive force like fellow DT Siaki Ika. Baylor’s defensive line should be a top-flight unit in 2022, and Player’s addition is a reason.

Iowa State

Player: LB Colby Reeder, from Delaware
The skinny: If nothing else, the Cyclones have added a ton of experience: Reeder will be a seventh-year senior this fall. He was part of Delaware’s 2016 signing class and ended up being a four-year starter for the Blue Hens. Reeder was the CAA’s defensive rookie of the year as a redshirt freshman in 2017 and a third-team all-league pick last season. He went through spring ball with the Cyclones and fit nicely in a defense looking to replace two starting linebackers.

Kansas

Player: S Marvin Grant, from Purdue
The skinny: Kansas has a lot of roster issues, but Grant’s addition is a big step in helping solve a problem at safety. Grant would’ve started for Purdue this season. He started all 13 games for the Boilermakers last season, when he was second on the team with 75 tackles and added three pass breakups. He will line up next to Kenny Logan Jr. at safety for the Jayhawks. Logan was a second-team All-Big 12 pick last season, when he was KU’s best defensive player. Grant and Logan give the Jayhawks two more-than-capable starters for the back end of the defense.

Kansas State

Player: QB Adrian Martinez, from Nebraska
The skinny: Martinez fills a hole for sure for the Wildcats at quarterback. He is a legit dual-threat quarterback with big-play capabilities. Still, while Martinez was a four-year starter for the Huskers, he never truly played like a veteran quarterback even though he set the school career record for total offense. He was mistake-prone as a freshman in 2018 and he was mistake-prone as a fourth-year starter in 2021, finishing his Huskers career with 30 interceptions and 18 lost fumbles. It’ll be up to new K-State coordinator Collin Klein to try to smooth off Martinez’s rough edges.

Oklahoma

Player: QB Dillon Gabriel, from UCF
The skinny: Oklahoma lost QBs Caleb Williams and Spencer Rattler to the transfer portal, but Gabriel will be a great fit in OU’s new offense. The biggest reason for the great fit: OU’s new offensive coordinator is Jeff Lebby. Lebby held the same role at UCF in 2019, when Gabriel threw for 3,653 yards, 29 TDs and seven picks as a true freshman. In 2020, Gabriel led the nation in passing at 357.0 yards per game; he threw 32 TD passes and just four interceptions. Gabriel throws a nice deep ball and has good mobility. Lebby was not the play-caller at UCF, but he held that role at Ole Miss the past two seasons and will add pieces of both offenses to find what best suits Gabriel.

Oklahoma State

Player: OT Casey Collier, from USC
The skinny: Unlike most of its league brethren, Oklahoma State didn’t find a sure-fire starter in the transfer portal. But Collier could end up starting on a line looking to replace three starters. While he barely played in his two years at USC, he has impressive size (6 feet 7, 300 pounds) and a nice upside. At the least, he figures to be an important depth piece. The same goes for two other linemen snagged from the portal: Jason Brooks from Vanderbilt and Prince Pines from FCS member Sam Houston State.

Texas

Player: QB Quinn Ewers, from Ohio State
The skinny: There are high expectations for Ewers, who skipped his senior year of high school in the Dallas suburbs to enroll a year early at Ohio State. (The extent of his playing time last season was two handoffs in a rout of Michigan State.) Ewers was the nation’s top overall prospect in the 2021 class in the On3 Consensus and possesses a big-time arm and solid athleticism, but he hasn’t taken an important snap in almost two years. Texas has big-time weapons in RB Bijan Robinson and WRs Xavier Worthy and Isaiah Neyor (a transfer from Wyoming). And coach Steve Sarkisian’s offense is quarterback-friendly. Can Ewers take advantage?

TCU

Player: S Mark Perry, from Colorado
The skinny: Perry was second on the Buffs with 66 tackles in 2021; he added three interceptions and three pass breakups. He had a strong spring for a Horned Frogs defense that was shredded last season. Outside of CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, no Horned Frogs DB played all that well last season. Perry adds a veteran presence; he played a lot as a reserve in each of his first two seasons at Colorado before becoming a starter in 2021. TCU is moving from a 4-2-5 defense to a 3-3-5 set, and Perry will be one of the starting safeties.

Texas Tech

Player: OT Cole Spencer, from Western Kentucky
The skinny: Spencer arrived from Western Kentucky, where he was a 2021 first-team All-Conference USA selection, along with new offensive coordinator Zach Kittley. Spencer started 46 career games for the Hilltoppers and was a full-time starter at left tackle for the past three seasons. He started the final five games at right tackle as a true freshman in 2017, then the first three games of the 2018 season on the left side before suffering a season-ending injury. Spencer also was an honorable mention all-conference selection in 2020. He is a high-level pass protector and has the ability to also play guard. His experience, talent and versatility will be important for Kittley as he re-shapes the Red Raiders’ offense.

West Virginia

Player: QB J.T. Daniels, from Georgia
The skinny: WVU coach Neal Brown is on the hot seat entering the season, and one reason is that the Mountaineers’ offense has been relatively pedestrian during his three years in charge. Enter a new coordinator (Graham Harrell) and new quarterback. Daniels didn’t decide on WVU until mid-April, so he needs to get adjusted quick during summer camp. That is something to watch: He hasn’t been a fulltime starter since his freshman season at USC – in 2018. Daniels began the 2019 season as the Trojans’ starter, but was injured in the season-opener and missed the rest of the year. He transferred to Georgia in 2020 but didn’t see any action until the final four games of the season. Daniels opened the 2021 season as the starter, but was injured and eventually lost his job to Stetson Bennett. Daniels attempted 363 passes at USC in 2018; he has thrown 247 since.