The topic of athletic transfers is expected to be relatively hot on Tuesday.
The reason: The NCAA Division I Council is scheduled to forward legislation to its Board of Directors, which would give transferring student-athletes a bit more freedom in the process. Rather than seeking approval from schools, athletes would simply notify programs of their intent to leave. Their names would then be placed in a database for all other schools to see.
It’s but a step in what many foresee as an ongoing process. Undergraduates in five sports – baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, football and hockey – still have to sit out a year unless they transfer from an FBS school to an FCS school. (There are other exceptions as well.) In sum, it should be a day of debate.
What can’t be debated, however, is transfers will have a large impact on the upcoming Big 12 football season.
Many know what former Florida transfer Will Grier has meant to WVU’s football program. Keep in mind Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray moved from Texas A&M in 2015.
Yet take a look at this coming season’s infusion of transfer talent. Almost all Big 12 teams have imported help.
In predicted order of impact:
Baylor – Coach Matt Rhule certainly hit the transfer circuit hard. The most recognizable name to join the Bears is Jalen Hurd, a one-time starting running back at Tennessee. At BU, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Hurd is a receiver/hybrid.
Rhule also welcomed ex-North Carolina State quarterback Jalen McClendon. He isn’t expected to beat out Charlie Brewer, but competition at the position certainly was ratcheted.
In addition, Baylor added cornerback Derrek Thomas from Temple. Thomas might be an instant starter with some speed, height (6-3) and ranginess.
Perhaps most important, though, was the signing of left tackle Jake Fruhmorgen, who was rated a Top 10 position player in 2015. He started nine games at Clemson, left the program with a shoulder injury, planned to go to Florida and ended up at Baylor.
WVU – The Mountaineers addressed a gaping need at defensive line and may end up with a strong front – if former USC lineman Kenny Bigelow returns to form. He had two ACL tears in his right knee and retired before being granted a sixth year of eligibility. West Virginia also landed Clemson defensive lineman Jabril Robinson, who many believe would have started for almost any other team except the Tigers. Alabama transfer T.J. Simmons is expected to start at receiver after sitting out a year.
The Mountaineers are also awaiting UCLA transfer Denzel Fisher, a defensive back. Too, keep an eye on walk-on transfer receiver Mason Rutherford from Delaware State.
Texas – The Longhorns added a pair of important puzzles pieces in grad transfers Calvin Anderson, formerly of Rice, and Tre Watson, formerly of California. Anderson, an offensive tackle that started three years, was a big-time get for coach Tom Herman. Watson has the potential to lift UT’s running backs room.
Kansas – Coach David Beaty seemed to do a nice job adding transfers. Offensive tackle Kevin Feder, 6-9, 303 pounds, left Ohio State after foot and depth issues. Athletic tight end Marvin Saunders, a grad transfer, left Florida State for Lawrence. Also, former VMI linebacker Brian Lipscomb led the Southern Conference in tackles for loss and sacks.
TCU – If there was one Big 12 head coach you’d bet on to pluck a hot defensive commodity from the grad transfer market, it would be Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson. And, indeed, he landed ex-Northern Illinois linebacker Jawuan Johnson, who had 98 tackles, 18 for loss, with five forced fumbles and five interceptions last season. It was an area of need for TCU.
The Horned Frogs are also taking a long look at 6-foot-5 Penn transfer Michael Collins, a strong quarterback who sat out last season.
Oklahoma State – The Cowboys are looking from improvement this year from former LSU transfer Tyron Johnson, a receiver with big-play ability. And helping with that might be quarterback Dru Brown, a graduate transfer from Hawaii who has thrown for 5,273 yards, 37 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Mike Gundy also has highly rated freshman Spencer Sanders in the fold, but Brown might be the man to replace Mason Rudolph for this season.
Texas Tech – The Red Raiders signed a couple transfers that might have impact. Wide receiver Seth Collins moved over from Oregon State after making 48 catches last season for 548 yards. He has two seasons after receiving a waiver from the NCAA. Also, Tech added defensive tackle Preston Gordon from Rice. He had 17.5 tackles for loss.
Kansas State – The Wildcats signed 6-3, 270-pound Jordan Mittie, a defensive tackle from Texas State. Looking to replace standout Will Geary, the coaches apparently turned to their women’s basketball coach, who happens to be Mittie’s father, Jeff.
Oklahoma – The Sooners’ recruiting effort has been terrific, but the coaches did lose Notre Dame senior defensive lineman Jay Hayes, a grad transfer. After committing to OU via Twitter, he flipped to Georgia.