Nearly 30% of top-100 recruits since 2021 have entered transfer portal

Nakos updated headshotby:Pete Nakos01/17/24


Alabama's Caleb Downs Plans To Hit Transfer Portal | Uga, Ohio State Top Contenders | Inside Scoop

News broke on Wednesday that Alabama defensive back Caleb Downs and offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor are expected to enter the transfer portal.

They’re just the latest pair of former five-star recruits to transfer out of the program they committed and signed with coming out of high school. Thanks to the NCAA’s one-time transfer rule, the top prospects in the nation now have the option to leave after their first year on campus and play immediately at a new schools. Even if they don’t leave after their first year, they can hit the portal at any point during their college career.

With so much talent hitting college football’s free agency in the last six weeks, On3 decided to crunch some numbers to quantify the amount of top-100 prospects who have hit the portal in the last three recruiting cycles.

Combining the 2021, 2022 and 2023 recruiting classes, 29.7% of top-100 recruits have entered the transfer portal. In total, 89 of the top 100 prospects in those three classes have decided to enter the portal. These statistics were compiled using the On3 Industry Ranking, a weighted average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies.

Breakdown of each recruiting class

The 2021 class has seen 21 of its top 50 prospects and 43 of its top 100 recruits leave for a new school in their college career. Some of the top transfers from that class saw the top-ranked quarterback leave Ohio State for Texas, offensive lineman Tommy Brockermeyer transfer out of Alabama and land at TCU and quarterback Caleb Williams follow Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma to USC after the 2021 season.

The top two ranked recruits in the 2022 cycle have both transferred, with Travis Hunter following Deion Sanders from Jackson State to Colorado a year ago and Walter Nolen leaving Texas A&M this offseason and landing at Ole Miss. In total, 34 of the top-100 prospects in that class have moved on from their original schools and found new homes. Four of the top 10 recruits in the cycle have transferred.

The 2023 class has seen some major movement, too. Downs and Proctor are set to be the two biggest names available in the portal. Plus, quarterbacks Dante Moore and Malachi Nelson have both relocated after just one year at UCLA and USC, respectively. Former LSU offensive tackle Zalance Heard also entered the transfer portal and is down to Oklahoma and Tennessee. Twelve of the top-100 recruits from the 2023 cycle have entered the portal