The transfer portal in college football has served a few purposes over the years. It gives players who are seeking playing time a chance to see the field, thus increasing an opportunity to make it to the next level.
For coaches, the ability to scour through thousands of players for an immediate roster flip is also intriguing. In the past two seasons, Michigan State and Southern Cal have used the portal to success, and the recent spotlight on Colorado and new head coach Deion Sanders will be another test for the portal’s ultimate success or failure.
Here are some of the top college football players that have entered the portal and could make an immediate impact on a new team.
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Devin Leary, QB, North Carolina State
Leary began the season on lists for a possible Heisman Trophy campaign, but only saw action in six games before being injured with a pectoral muscle. Although not prototypical in size, Leary has the arm strength to get the ball where it is needed and has enough speed to get out of jams under a heavy pass rush. He is an immediate plug-and-play for school’s needing a solid one-year fit.
Jaheim Bell, TE, South Carolina
Bell is a converted wide receiver and could return to the position depending on fit. Bell was used in a variety of ways at South Carolina, catching 25 passes for 231 yards and also carrying the ball in short yardage, with his 73 carries, which were second on the team. Bell has two years of eligibility remaining and will suit up for Florida State in 2023.
Grayson McCall, QB, Coastal Carolina
McCall is the rare player that will play in a bowl game before finding somewhere else to play. McCall is a three-time Sun Belt Player of the Year and has plenty of starting experience with 32 appearance in the last three years. His 2022 season included 24 touchdown passes with only two interceptions. Efficiency is what McCall brings, and in his four years at Coastal he has only eight interceptions in 780 passing attempts.
Fentrell Cypress, DB, Virginia
Cypress will play for Ohio State after breaking up 13 passes and registering 39 total tackles during 2022. He has made 14 starts over the past two seasons and brings help to struggling secondaries with coverage issues.
DJ Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson
To say Uiagalelei has had an up-and-down career would be an understatement. A former five-star recruit, he was figured to keep Clemson afloat after Trevor Lawrence took his talents to the NFL. Uiagalelei did throw for 2,521 yards and 22 touchdowns and cut down on his turnovers, but inconsistent play led to his benching in favor of Cade Klubnik.
Justin Wright, LB, Tulsa
If there was a play to be made on defensive for Tulsa, chances are Wright was nearby. Wright, a senior, recorded 101 tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss. He also had two interceptions, two sacks and forced two fumbles. Wright committed to play for Oklahoma State next season and fills a need as the Cowboys’ leading tackler in 2022 hit the portal.
Emory Jones, QB, Arizona State
Jones started seven games for the Sun Devils in 2022 after arriving from Florida. He enters the 2023 campaign as a graduate student transfer and will have one year of eligibility left. He threw for 1,533 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Jones would be a fit for an offense that has a scheme that allows dual-threat quarterbacks to operate in space.
Dorian Singer, WR, Arizona
Singer led the Pac-12 in receiving yards, setting career-high with 1,105 yards on 66 receptions and scoring six touchdowns, while earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors. Singer has offers from at least eight schools, including Mississippi State, Arkansas, Oklahoma and rival Arizona State.
Spencer Sanders, QB, Oklahoma State
Sanders had an outstanding 2021, throwing for 2,839 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with 668 rushing yards and six touchdowns, while leading the Cowboys to the conference title game. Sanders, the Big 12’s offensive freshman of the year in 2019, had an injury-plagued 2022 season. He played in 10 games while throwing for 2,642 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Dominic Lovett, WR, Missouri
Lovett, a sophomore, was the most productive Missouri wide receiver, working out of the slot even as the Tigers struggled with a consistent passing game. He had 56 catches on 76 targets for 846 yards and averaged 15.1 yards a reception. Teams would be wise to go out and scoop up Lovett for an upgrade to any wide receiver room.
Dasan McCullough, LB, Indiana
McCullough is on his way to Oklahoma after a freshman season with the Hoosiers, recording 49 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks. McCullough figures to have an impact immediately after the Sooners’ defensive struggles showed up in blowout losses to TCU and Texas. The Sooners also add defensive tackle Jacob Lacey from Notre Dame to help fortify that side of the ball.
Brennan Armstrong, QB, Virginia
The left-hander threw for 2,210 yards and seven touchdowns, but he also had 12 interceptions for Virginia after throwing for almost 4,500 yards the previous year. Armstrong is a three-year starter with 9,034 career passing yards and has one year of eligibility as a graduate transfer.