The least-busy schools in the transfer portal in the past two years

Mike Hugueninby:Mike Huguenin01/30/23


A lot of the attention with the transfer portal is on the schools (and coaches) who use it often. Well, let’s go the other way today: Here’s a look at the Power 5 programs who have used the portal the least in the past two cycles.

The transfer portal “season” opened December 5 and closed January 18. While players no longer can enter unless they are a grad student, choosing a new school out of the portal can happen at any time. Another portal window opens May 1; that one lasts 15 days.

For a look at all the players in the portal, go to On3’s transfer portal wire, which is updated continuously as players go into – and leave – the portal. In addition, there are position rankings of those already in the portal.

Clemson: 2

This cycle: 1. Last cycle: 1.
The buzz: Dabo Swinney and his staff have brought in two way-down-the-depth-chart quarterbacks – Hunter Johnson (Northwestern) last year and Paul Tyson (Arizona State) this year. While Clemson has a deep roster, the idea that there wasn’t a wide receiver in the portal who could’ve helped in each of the past two cycles is folly.

Stanford: 2

This cycle: 1. Last cycle: 1.
The buzz: Stanford’s academic requirements make accepting transfers difficult. S Patrick Fields (Oklahoma) – a grad student – was the transfer last year. LB Gaethan Bernadel (FIU) is the transfer this cycle, and he is the first undergrad transfer in Stanford football history.

Georgia: 3

This cycle: 3. Last cycle: 0.
The buzz: Not dipping into the transfer pool certainly hasn’t hurt the Bulldogs. But Kirby Smart and his staff did bring in three guys this cycle – all from other SEC schools. Deyon “Smoke” Bouie (Texas A&M) figures to be in the rotation at cornerback. WR Dominic Lovett (Missouri) gives Georgia a proven SEC deep threat. WR Rara Thomas (Mississippi State) is talented but has legal issues, and his status for the fall is unknown.

Ohio State: 3

This cycle: 1. Last cycle: 2.
The buzz: S Tanner McCalister (Oklahoma State) was one of the two transfers last year, and he was a starter this past season. S Ja’Had Carter (Syracuse) is the transfer this cycle and was one of the best safeties available. He almost certainly will start this fall.

Texas A&M: 5

This cycle: 3. Last cycle: 2.
The buzz: QB Max Johnson (LSU) was the “big name” transfer in last year’s group and he started three games in 2022. This year’s group includes potential starters in WR Tyrin Smith (UTEP) and CB Tony Grimes (North Carolina), while S Sam McCall (Florida State) seems likely to be a rotation guy. The Aggies underwent a lot of roster churn in this cycle and it was needed, considering they may have been the nation’s biggest disappointment in ’22.

Iowa: 6

This cycle: 5. Last cycle: 1.
The buzz: Kirk Ferentz has not been a big portal guy, but he and his staff did jump in the pool this cycle. QB Cade McNamara and TE Erick All (both Michigan) are the headliners. WR Seth Anderson (Charleston Southern) is an interesting addition; he was a productive FCS receiver (42 receptions, 612 yards, seven TDs in 2022) and plays a position of desperate need at Iowa. In addition, he has good bloodlines: His dad, Willie “Flipper” Anderson, was a longtime NFL receiver.

Iowa State: 6

This cycle: 3. Last cycle: 3.
The buzz: Coach Matt Campbell generally has been very matter-of-fact about the transfer portal – both guys coming in and leaving. The three arrivals last year – DE MJ Anderson (from Minnesota), LB Colby Reeder (Delaware) and WR Dimitri Stanley (Colorado) – each saw appreciable time. This year’s group doesn’t look quite as good, but WR Jayden Higgins (a 6-4, 215-pounder from Eastern Kentucky) is one to watch.

Oregon State: 6

This cycle: 4. Last cycle: 2.
The buzz: Jonathan Smith has made good use of the portal in his five seasons with the Beavers. Oregon State is a developmental program, and Smith and his staff have used the portal to patch certain holes (starters and key backups) in the lineup as their recruits develop. This year’s group includes a likely starting offensive tackle (Grant Starck, from Nevada), an interesting “reclamation project” of sorts (QB D.J. Uiagalelei, from Clemson) and a tight end with an upside (Jermaine Terry, from California). It wasn’t a heavy dip into the portal but it was a helpful one, nonetheless.

Alabama: 7

This cycle: 2. Last cycle: 5.
The buzz: Last year’s group included the Tide’s leading rusher (Jahmyr Gibbs, from Georgia Tech), the starting left tackle (Tyler Steen, from Vanderbilt) and a key receiver (Jermaine Burton, from Georgia). The two this year are a starting tight end (CJ Dippre, Maryland) and a presumptive starting linebacker (Trezman Marshall, Georgia). There could be one or two more in the spring portal period. Nick Saban’s use of the portal seems to be the one that would be preferred by most coaches – a few transfers who can plug specific holes now.

Vanderbilt: 7

This cycle: 1. Last cycle: 6.
The buzz: Vandy’s academics are such that the school has to be selective in the portal. Still, the last cycle provided the Commodores with three starters and two rotation players, which is a good hit rate. The lone transfer this year is EDGE Aeneas DiCosmo, who was a part-time starter at Stanford in 2022 and figures to play a lot.

Wake Forest: 7

This cycle: 3. Last cycle: 4.
The buzz: The Demon Deacons hit it big with DT Kobie Turner (from Richmond), their best interior lineman, in 2022. And Wake still has high hopes for LB Eldrick Robinson II (Georgia Southern), who was injured and played in just four games this past season. The three this cycle should play roles of varying importance in 2023: WR Walker Merrill (Tennessee), EDGE Bryce Gainous (Villanova) and LB Jacob Roberts (North Carolina A&T). But losing star QB Sam Hartman to Notre Dame overshadows everything.