Transfer Portal News and Notes
The transfer portal never stops and this week it is on fire following the big bowl games. Here’s some news and notes including some rumors about QB Caleb Williams.
Let’s start with Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams. His favorites out of high school were LSU and Oklahoma mainly for Joe Brady and Lincoln Riley respectively. He obviously chose OU but Riley is now at USC and Brady is long gone from LSU and likely not coming back to college football if he can land a job in the NFL. Clemson was also high on his list but with DJ Uiagalelei back I doubt they pursue very hard. Lane Kiffin is intriguing at Ole Miss, Georgia is always in play, UCLA and Chip Kelly have come up and Texas A&M is also interesting to think of. But you have to assume USC. Why? Name, Image and Likeness is going to play a large role here and LA has a lot to offer in addition to the QB developer he wanted in Riley. Yes they have Jaxson Dart and some others but Williams would start right away for the Trojans. The question is, how is his relationship now with Riley now that he left the Sooners abruptly? This is also where UCLA comes in as a low key dark horse because the quarterback situation is open and the offense is perfect for him and it's in a big city where he could play against Riley if he desired. But can he cash in without a USC helmet on in LA? That’s a very good question. Georgia was mentioned very early and that would be interesting with Brock Vandagriff there. Remember that Vandagriff was initially committed to Oklahoma before he de-committed to stay home at Georgia and then Williams slid into his spot. And I hear UGA is high on his list as I dig further but what would that do to Vandagriff and 2023 No. 1 Arch Manning who wants to play as a true freshman and is leaning UGA from what I hear? All of this is speculation of course right now and OU is still in the mix but the commitment of Dillon Gabriel makes me think they know they are out. Others schools could obviously emerge and this will come down to comfort with the offense and NIL and Los Angeles seems to be the epicenter early.
Could Williams and fellow 2021 five star Mario Williams (no relation) be a package deal to one school? I’m hearing if they are it would be UCLA and not USC. But Williams hails from Florida and the SEC and ACC will be all over him as well so we will see. Williams committed to OU early and was rumored to be looking at schools like LSU, Georgia, Alabama and Florida before staying with his pledge. You can bet all will offer.
Keep an eye on Tulsa DT Jaxon Player as he announced a final five of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Arkansas and TCU this week. The 6-foot-0, 300 pounder had 15 tackles for a loss this past season and has won AAC honors for two years. He hails from Waco so that might give Baylor an edge but keep an eye on Arkansas as well with a Barry Odom leading the charge. He’s also come to grow fond of the state of Oklahoma so the Sooners and Cowboys are in the mix and his former teammate Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson was talking TCU and he has many friends there. He’s expected to decide sometime next week and will be a plug and play guy for someone. He wants to take a few visits before he decides but that appears doubtful.
— Albany DE Jared Verse is expected to decide soon from more than 25 offers and many feel it will come down to Florida State or Tennessee. Verse visited both before the dead period and while Miami is in the mix as well it looks like Noles or Vols. I’m hearing Jermaine Johnson’s success at FSU could be the factor here.
— Wyoming wide receiver Isaiah Neyor blew up on the portal when he entered and will visit USC, Tennessee and Texas it appears. Keep an eye on the Longhorns here as he hails from Texas and they have new wide receiver coach Brennan Marion who coached Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison this past season at Pitt. They were later than the rest to offer but with a WR Coach in place now they could be the team to beat.
— UCF has emerged as the favorite for Ole Miss wide receiver and former quarterback John Rys Plumlee with Indiana and others mentioned as well. Plumlee is an outstanding baseball player and wants to play QB again like he did at Ole Miss prior to Lane Kiffin’s arrival so those will be key factors.
— A few huge recent gets from the portal that I like are LB Terrence Lewis for UCF and LB Braden Jennings for Kansas State. Both left Maryland and were heavily recruited out of high school. Lewis is recovering from a knee and shoulder injury but I’ve been told he’s 100-percent and ready to go be just needs to bulk up a bit. Jennings was solid as a freshman for Maryland and should push for a staring role at Kansas State immediately.