College football conference championships are wrapped. The College Football Playoff field is set. The final US LBM Coaches Poll of the regular season is out. We know the complete bowl schedule. Now, the college football transfer portal opens, with eyes on some of the top players who might enter and where they may go.
USA TODAY Sports will track the moves of all college football’s top players as they make decisions on where they will play next season. (Need a refresher on how the transfer portal works? We got you covered here.) Follow along.
When does the transfer portal open for football?
In the Football Bowl Subdivision, a 30-day window to enter the transfer portal begins Dec. 4. There is also a spring window from April 15-30. It’s worth noting that these windows restrict when an athlete’s name can be entered into the portal, not when they actually transfer to a different school.
When does the transfer portal close?
Taylen Green transfer portal
Boise State sophomore quarterback Taylen Green announced on X that he will be entering the transfer portal after two seasons with the Broncos.
“I love Boise State University, and I have truly enjoyed my time here,” Green wrote. “From the bottom of my heart, it has been an honor competing for this great University, and there is nothing I have taken more pride in than representing all of you when I took the field in the Blue and Orange every week.”
Green passed for 3,794 yards, 25 touchdowns and 15 interceptions the past two years. He added more than 1,000 rushing yards and 19 scores on the ground.
Baylor junior quarterback Blake Shapen has entered the transfer portal following a season during which he threw for 2,188 yards and 13 touchdowns as the Bears’ leading passer.
Baylor’s quarterback room now consists of junior RJ Martinez, sophomore Sawyer Robertson and freshmen Brayson McHenry and Cade Tessier.
Pittsburgh edge rusher Samuel Okunlola, who led the Panthers in sacks this season, has entered the transfer portal.
Okunlola just completed his freshman season and has three years of eligibility remaining.
- QB Tanner Bailey
- DB Kajuan Banks
- WR O’Mega Blake
- QB Colten Gauthier
- DL Felix Hixon
- WR Kylic Horton
- PK Mitch Jeter
- DL D’Andre Martin
- DL Xzavier McLeod
- OL JonDarius Morgan
- DB Isaiah Norris
- WR Landon Samson
- WR Zavier Short
- WR Antwane Wells
- DL Donovan Westmoreland
South Carolina senior Antwane “Juice” Wells Jr. enters the transfer portal as an intriguing option at wide receiving, and one with two years of eligibility remaining.
Wells went to South Carolina after spending his first two seasons at James Madison. He had 68 receptions for 928 yards and six touchdowns in 2022. He played in just three games in 2023 due to a foot injury he suffered during the preseason.
It’s important to understand that the NCAA transfer portal is merely a tool used by coaches and players to find new schools. What really changed the landscape of college sports, and allowed a sort of free agency frenzy, was the NCAA’s rule change on immediate eligibility.
It used to be that if athletes wanted to transfer, they had to sit out a year before suiting up for their new school. But in spring 2021, the NCAA voted to allow athletes to transfer once and become immediately eligible. (Athletes are allowed to transfer a second time without penalty if they’ve completed their undergraduate degrees and are enrolling in a graduate program.) Since that rule change, hundreds of athletes have entered the portal each offseason, though not all find what they’re looking for in their decision to switch schools.
Will Howard transfer portal
After an ugly start to his career upon being thrust into the lineup as a freshman, Howard developed into one of the most prolific and accomplished passers in Kansas State history. But the writing is on the wall: Avery Johnson is ready to take over as the Wildcats’ starter, making this a good time for Howard to hit the open market. As a veteran starter with a proven track record and noticeable year-to-year improvement, Howard should draw interest from some of the biggest programs in the country. Though his biggest suitors should come from traditional members Big Ten, Howard will draw interest from Notre Dame and Big Ten newcomers Oregon, Washington, UCLA and Southern California. — Paul Myerberg
Absolutely, though it’s somewhat rare in high-level college football. According to NCAA data, only 5% of FBS athletes who entered the transfer portal in 2020 or 2021 later withdrew and are assumed to be back at their original school.
Will Sheppard transfer portal
Vanderbilt senior wide receiver Will Sheppard announced on social media that he is entering the transfer portal.
Sheppard has pulled in 2,067 yards and 21 touchdowns over the past three seasons with the Commodores.
This week, Nebraska coach Matt Rhule said the price for a Power Five-caliber starting quarterback is “$1 million to $1.5 million to $2 million right now.” That’s for a transfer portal class that is currently deep in experience but devoid of a transcendent passer.
But programs in the Bowl Subdivision will pay the cost, and sometimes the investment will pay off. Bo Nix and Jayden Daniels were not seen as game-changing transfers when they joined Oregon and LSU, respectively, and the pair head into Saturday as the overwhelming favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. is a third former transfer in the mix for postseason hardware.
Coaches are looking at three different types of quarterbacks: one-year rentals looking to cash in a final year of eligibility, plug-and-play starters with more than one season on campus, and high-ceiling but inexperienced players who transfer as redshirt freshmen or sophomores.
Paul Myerberg gives you the full rundown of best available quarterbacks here.
What does entering the transfer portal mean?
Because the transfer portal is really just an online database, entering it just means that an athlete’s name is uploaded to the database. When an athlete decides they want to explore transferring to another school, they have to notify their current school’s compliance office. And the compliance office then has two business days to put that athlete’s name in the portal.
Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel announced Monday that he will be leaving Norman with a social media post that thanked Sooner Nation.
“My time in the palace was a game time experience I will never forget,” Gabriel wrote. “Sooner Nation, you held me accountable and I am better for it.”
Gabriel is a redshirt senior and could decide to enter the NFL draft, but he also has one more year of eligibility remaining. He played his first three seasons at UCF before transfer to Oklahoma in 2022. He threw for a career-best 3,660 yards with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions last year, and also posted a career-best 172.0 passer rating.
Freshman Jackson Arnold would likely become the front-runner to take over for Gabriel. Arnold was a five-star recruit who got playing time in a handful of games, throwing for 202 yards on 18 of 24 passing with two touchdown passes and another TD on the ground.
Who are the top transfer portal players?
Here are the best quarterbacks available: Washington State’s Cam Ward, Oregon State’s DJ Uiagalelei, Kansas State’s Will Howard, UCLA’s Dante Moore, Duke’s Riley Leonard, Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall, Arizona State’s Drew Pyne, Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke, Texas Tech’s Tyler Shough, Ohio State’s Kyle McCord, New Hampshire’s Max Brosmer and Holy Cross’ Matthew Sluka. — Paul Myerberg
How does the transfer portal work?
The transfer portal is not a shortcut for the rest of the recruiting process. Coaches still have to recruit. Athletes still have to ensure they’re eligible to compete at a new school. The portal is simply a way to help the two sides connect more easily, and earlier.
Kyle McCord transfer portal
Ohio State junior quarterback Kyle McCord, who started all 12 of the Buckeyes games in 2023, has put his name in the portal, according to the Columbus Dispatch, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.
In his debut season as a starter, McCord threw for 3,170 yards with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions and received third-team All-Big Ten recognition last week. But his status as the starter moving forward was unclear.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day was noncommittal about McCord remaining the starting quarterback as a senior next season or even for the Cotton Bowl at the end of this month as he met with reporters at a news conference Sunday.
“We’ll just kind of see how practice goes,” Day said.
Day mentioned all of the passers would have opportunities to compete for reps ahead of the matchup against Missouri on Dec. 29. Ohio State has three other scholarship quarterbacks on the roster with sophomore Devin Brown, as well as graduate student Tristan Gebbia and Lincoln Kienholz. — Columbus Dispatch
What is a transfer portal in college football?
A 2019 article on the NCAA’s website describes the transfer portal as a “compliance tool to systematically manage the transfer process from start to finish.” Put more simply: It’s a database. The NCAA made this database in an attempt to simplify the first step in the transfer process. In the pre-portal days, athletes would have to ask their coach for permission to contact other schools, then find ways to get the word out that they were available. Coaches, meanwhile, would have to use their connections and word-of-mouth referrals to identify transferring athletes. Now, it’s all just there in one spot.