Marshall University’s football program made a list.
Not a good one, either.
A compilation headlined “College football teams who were crushed by transfer portal losses this off-season” was compiled recently by the 247Sports website.
The Thundering Herd was ranked No. 6 among seven FBS programs that were the hardest hit.
The article written by Chris Hummer enumerated the Herd’s losses.
“Marshall lost one of the best players in the country when All-American offensive guard Cain Madden (Notre Dame) opted to transfer,” wrote Hummer. “That alone is a crushing blow.
“But it’s far from the extent of the Thundering Herd’s losses. Starting safety Derrek Pitts, arguably the most naturally talented defensive player on the roster, opted to leave for N.C. State. They also lost starting receivers Artie Henry (Virginia) and Broc Thompson (Purdue) in addition to promising 2020 signees C.J. McCray (Virginia Tech) and Devon King (East Carolina).
Most Marshall fans probably aren’t familiar with McCray and King. McCray is a 6-foot-3, 215-pound linebacker from Charlotte, North Carolina, who enrolled at Marshall on Feb. 26. But after going into the transfer portal, McCray signed with Virginia Tech.
King is a 6-0, 182-pound safety from Belmont, North Carolina. He enrolled at Marshall on Aug. 1, 2020, but transferred to East Carolina on April 14, 2021.
Other schools on 247Sports’ “Crush List” in order were Tennessee, which lost seven of its arguably 10 most talented players to the transfer portal. Next came Temple.
Then there’s the unusual situation involving the University of Buffalo. After defeating the Herd 17-10 in the Camellia Bowl, Bulls coach Lance Leipold accepted the head coaching job at Kansas in the Big 12. Then six starters left Buffalo and joined Leipold with the Jayhawks.
Next on the list were Tulsa, Clemson, Marshall and Nebraska.
One of the distinct ironies in this scenario is well-known Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has insisted on staying true to his “no transfers” philosophy. So, although Clemson has lost players to the transfer portal, Swinney has refused to sign any transfers.
Among hard-hit Group of Five members, other than Marshall, were Georgia State, Georgia Southern, UNLV, Utah State, Old Dominion and New Mexico State.
In truth, among Conference USA members, Old Dominion may have been harder hit than Marshall. The Monarchs lost all-conference edge rusher Keion White to Georgia Tech, All-C-USA defensive back Kaleb Ford-Dement to Liberty and all-conference defensive tackle Jeremy Meiser to Northwestern.
There are a few rays of sunshine, however, in Marshall’s transfer portal situation as noted by 247Sports.
“Unlike a few teams on this list,” noted Hummer, “Marshall is positioned to endure those departures with a strong roster remaining in place. Yet losses like Madden made a repeat for Marshall in the C-USA East all the more difficult, especially with a new coaching staff taking over.”
Maybe. Maybe not.
New Marshall head coach Charles Huff and his staff also have been active in the transfer portal. So far, the Herd has signed former Clemson defensive back LeAnthony Williams, 6-0, 175 pounds; former Penn State defensive end Shane Simmons, 6-3, 247; former Purdue defensive tackle Steven Faucheux, who will be converted to the offensive line; and former Austin Peay defensive tackle TyQuaze Leggs, 6-3, 328.
There is one distinct truism about college football during these highly transient days.
The transfer portal giveth and taketh away.