03 May

Alabama, Colorado headline college football transfer portal winners, losers after one week of spring window

College football’s spring transfer portal window has been open for a week and, with one week left until the portal closes May 1 to undergraduates for the rest of this athletic year, there are some teams that have already impressed — and some that seem to be falling behind in the early going. Whatever the case may be, there’s already been enough action to determine some “Winners” and “Losers” from the last seven days.

Colorado is an enigma. On one hand, the Buffaloes are up to their usual business of making a splash via the portal, but there’s also been a notable exodus from Boulder that’s hard to discount. Roster flips are nothing new for Deion Sanders, but this same sort of overhaul led to a 4-8 record last season.

Elsewhere, SEC teams like Alabama and Ole Miss are loading up on talent at positions of need. Both the Crimson Tide, helmed by first-year coach and former Washington boss Kalen DeBoer, and Rebels are hoping to make a run for the expanded College Football Playoff in 2024.

On the other side of the spectrum, Arizona State, which is making a move to the Big 12 in 2024, has had a sour start to the spring thus far. So has Louisville, fresh off its run to the ACC Championship Game in coach Jeff Brohm’s first year leading the program.

Here are the winners and losers from the first week of the spring transfer window.

Winner: Colorado
Though it should come as no surprise to those that have paid attention to what Sanders is doing in Boulder, Colorado is off to a hot start in the spring transfer window. The Buffaloes had a huge weekend and parlayed impactful visits into a flurry of commitments from players at positions of need. Pittsburgh edge transfer Dayon Hayes, one of the best pass-rushers on the market, and Ohio defensive line transfer Rayyan Buell will add some much-needed disruption along Colorado’s defensive front. Texas offensive line transfer Payton Kirkland may not be a plug-and-play starter, but he’s got four years of eligibility remaining and will have a shot at establishing himself in a relatively thin room. Former Ohio State running back Dallan Hayden had a phenomenal freshman campaign but fell behind in a loaded running back room the past couple years; he’ll have an opportunity to shine in Colorado. Overall solid work, and there could be more on the way if Colorado’s visit schedule is any indication.

Loser: Colorado
How can Colorado be listed as both a “winner” and a “loser,” by this article’s definition? While it’s true that the Buffaloes have had more impactful additions than any other school during the spring window, they’ve also lost over 17 players to the portal thus far. Whether those that have left are worthy of a starting role or not, as Sanders has called into question, established and consistent depth is important for a team that’s trying to build off of three straight losing seasons. And some of those departures have almost certainly been more than depth pieces. The killer so far is running back Dylan Edwards, who flashed as a freshman and has a longstanding relationship with Sanders. Edwards had four touchdowns in Colorado’s rousing opening win vs. TCU.

Offensive lineman Savion Washington started at right tackle, playing 660 snaps, and was a lone bright spot on an otherwise lackluster offensive line last season. He was one of three linemen to enter the portal from a unit that so desperately needs depth and an injection of talent.

Former five-star cornerback Cormani McClain has some questions off the field, but his talent is undeniable. Former Cincinnati tight end Chamon Metayer, a four-star transfer from the winter window, re-entered the portal after going through spring practice. Even if they’re mere second-stringers, there’s some quality pieces that Colorado lost.

Colorado 2024 Transfer Portal Tracker

Winner: Alabama
Although Kadyn Proctor’s return to Tuscaloosa was telegraphed, it’s still a huge that coach Kalen DeBoer and Co. were able to seal the deal and return the Crimson Tide’s former and now future starting left tackle. To briefly recap the Proctor saga: he entered the transfer portal in January following Nick Saban’s retirement, quickly ended up at Iowa (his home-state school), told Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz in March (a day before Iowa started its spring practice slate) that he’d be returning to Alabama, and confirmed the move back to the Crimson Tide the day the spring transfer window opened. To make a long story short, Proctor — a Freshman All-SEC selection in 2023 — is entering his second year as Alabama’s starting left tackle. Though it’s overshadowed by the Proctor news, credit to Alabama for nabbing Miami (OH) kicker Graham Nicholson out of the portal. The former Lou Groza Award winner will replace Will Reichard, one of the Crimson Tide’s most impactful offseason losses.

Alabama 2024 Transfer Portal Tracker

Loser: Arizona State
It hasn’t been the best week for second-year coach Kenny Dillingham. Two days after the portal opened, news broke that former starting quarterback and top-50 overall prospect Jaden Rashada would be entering the portal. Though he struggled at times during an injury-riddled true freshman season, and Michigan State transfer Sam Leavitt pushed for the starting job during spring practice, losing a player of Rashada’s caliber is a blow. Leading receiver Elijhah Badger, who had 1,640 yards and 10 touchdowns receiving in three years as a Sun Devil, and tight end Bryce Pierrer, Arizona State’s only returning scholarship player at the position, quickly followed. On Monday, 247Sports reported that starting cornerback Ed Woods is expected to transfer out of the program.

Arizona State 2024 Transfer Portal Tracker

Winner: Ole Miss
Following the departure of star Quinshon Judkins to Ohio State, Ole Miss’ staff had running back highlighted, circled and underlined at the top of its list of transfer needs. So far, the Rebels have hit it out of the park in that department. Former New Mexico rusher Jacory Croskey-Merritt, who had 1,190 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing last season, committed on April 19. Miami running back Henry Parrish Jr., who initially signed with Ole Miss out of high school and spent two years in Oxford, followed suit by announcing his return to the Rebels Monday. He had at least 600 yards rushing in each of his two seasons with the Hurricanes. Those two will form quite a formidable stable with the returning Ulysses Bentley IV as Ole Miss uses a by-committee approach to replace Judkins’ production.

Ole Miss 2024 Transfer Portal Tracker

Loser: Louisville
Louisville’s defense has taken its fair share of hits in the early going. A pair of starters in linebacker Jaylin Alderman and defensive lineman Jermayne Lole are leaving the program. Lole has battled through injuries throughout his career but has NFL upside if healthy and is a particular blow. The Cardinals have also had a string of players that transferred in during the winter window decide to look elsewhere as the spring has played out. That includes four-star running back transfer and former Toledo star Peny Boone, who was named the 2023 MAC Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns, and former Tennessee starting safety Wesley Walker. Offensive line depth, with former Houston transfer Reuben Unije and 6-foot-8 tackle Luke Burgess entering the portal, has also taken a significant hit.

Louisville 2024 Transfer Portal Tracker

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