Skip to main content

Your favorite team signing a top-50 recruit? Recent history says about a third of them will transfer

Mike Hugueninby:Mike Huguenin12/20/22


Congratulations are in order if your favorite team is set to sign an On3 Consensus national top-50 recruit during the early signing period (or on National Signing Day).

But be warned: Going by recent history, almost one-third of the players of that stature end up in the transfer portal. And a lot of those are five-star prospects.

We looked at the On3 Consensus top-50 recruits in the signing classes of 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, and found that 64 have transferred at least once (that’s 32 percent). There were 21 from 2018, 18 from ’19, 13 from ’20 and 12 from ’21.

Almost 61 percent of those who have transferred (39 of 64) were five-star prospects (it’s actually 60.9 percent). And given that there are 32 five-star recruits a year, that means a bit more than 30 percent of the five-star signees in those four classes have moved on from their original school.

The reasons for leaving are varied: coaching change, looking for a better fit, lack of playing time, being urged to move on. That doesn’t change the figures, though.

The transfers have had varying levels of success. Caleb Williams won the Heisman this season. Justin Fields was the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Drew Sanders was a first-team All-SEC pick this season and is projected by some to go in the first round of the 2023 draft. Zach Charbonnet, Jayden Daniels and Bo Nix put up big numbers this season. For the most part, though, the majority of the transfers have become role players at their new schools. And there have been a handful of these transfers who haven’t done anything.

As for the 2022 class – you know, the one that just finished its true freshman season – four already have entered the transfer portal.

Here’s a breakdown by class; five-star recruits are marked with an asterisk.

2021 (12)

Rank, playerThe transfer
3. QB Quinn Ewers*Ohio State to Texas
6. OT Tommy Brockermeyer*Alabama to undecided
7. QB Caleb Williams*Oklahoma to USC
20. OT Kingsley Suamataia*Oregon to BYU
23. DL Keeshawn Silver*North Carolina to undecided
26. LB Clayton Smith*Oklahoma to undecided
33. WR Mario WilliamsOklahoma to USC
37. WR Agiye HallAlabama to Texas
40. RB Camar WheatonAlabama to SMU
41. EDGE Tunmise AdeleyeTexas A&M to undecided
42. QB Jaxson DartUSC to Ole Miss
44. WR JoJo EarleAlabama to TCU

2020 (13)

Rank, playerThe transfer
5. TE Arik Gilbert*LSU to Georgia
6. LB Justin Flowe*Oregon to Arizona
12. QB D.J. Uiagalelei*Clemson to undecided
13. RB Zach Evans*TCU to Ole Miss
18. CB Eli Ricks*LSU to Alabama
19. CB Tony Grimes*North Carolina to undecided
21. RB Demarkcus Bowman*Clemson to Florida to UCF
23. WR Demond Demas*Texas A&M to undecided
27. LB Drew Sanders*Alabama to Arkansas
33. OL Myles HintonStanford to Michigan
35. CB Demorie TateFlorida State to undecided
43. WR Jordan JohnsonNotre Dame to UCF to undecided
46. RB MarShawn LloydSouth Carolina to undecided

2019 (18)

Rank, playerThe transfer
3. WR Jadon Haselwood*Oklahoma to Arkansas
9. DL Antonio Alfano*Alabama to Colorado to junior college
10. RB Trey Sanders*Alabama to undecided
15. QB Spencer Rattler*Oklahoma to South Carolina
16. OT Logan Brown*Wisconsin to Kansas
18. OL Clay Webb*Georgia to Jacksonville State
19. WR Bru McCoy*USC to Texas to USC to Tennessee
20. OT Wanya Morris*Tennessee to Oklahoma
23. WR Theo Wease*Oklahoma to Missouri
28. LB Marcel Brooks*LSU to TCU
32. QB Bo Nix*Auburn to Oregon
36. CB Tyrique StevensonGeorgia to Miami
37. OL Devontae DobbsMichigan State to Memphis
39. OL Pierce QuickAlabama to Georgia Tech
41. CB Chris SteeleFlorida to USC
42. RB Zach CharbonnetMichigan to UCLA
43. WR Frank LadsonClemson to Miami
50. QB Jayden DanielsArizona State to LSU

2018 (21)

Rank, playerThe transfer
2. QB Justin Fields*Georgia to Ohio State
3. EDGE Eyabi Okie*Alabama to UT-Martin to Michigan
7. WR Justin Shorter*Penn State to Florida
14. QB JT Daniels*USC to Georgia to West Virginia to undecided
16. EDGE Brenton Cox*Georgia to Florida
17. S B.J. Foster*Texas to Sam Houston State
18. LB Palaie Gaoteote IV*USC to Ohio State
22. OL Cade Mays*Georgia to Tennessee
24. DB Tyreke Johnson*Ohio State to Nebraska
25. CB Derion Kendrick*Clemson to Georgia
27. RB Lorenzo Lingard*Miami to Florida to undecided
28. RB Ricky Slade*Penn State to Old Dominion
31. WR Devon Williams*USC to Oregon
33. DB Bookie Radley-HilesOklahoma to Washington
35. LB Teradja MitchellOhio State to undecided
36. S Jaiden Lars-WoodbeyFlorida State to Boston College
38. RB Jaelen GillOhio State to Boston College
40. DB Jalen GreenTexas to Mississippi State
44. CB Kelvin JosephLSU to Kentucky
46. QB Joey GatewoodAuburn to Kentucky to UCF to undecided
49. TE Luke FordGeorgia to Illinois

Note: Okie was known as Eyabi Anoma until this year.

The four 2022 top-50 recruits who already are in the portal: No. 2 ATH Travis Hunter (transferring from Jackson State); No. 23 CB Denver Harris (Texas A&M); No. 24 WR Chris Marshall (Texas A&M); and No. 36 WR Aaron Anderson (Alabama to LSU). The first three were five-star prospects.