Does the NCAA Transfer Portal help or hurt small schoolers?
This year has been really crazy when it comes to FCS players transferring to play in the FBS. I cannot remember a year where so many players from the FCS transferred up to the FBS. According to Hero Sports, 19 players have already transferred to the FBS, and the players above in the photo have not even been added to the list yet.
The Transfer Portal has really become a recruiting tool for players, but is it going to benefit them?
Here is what I have learned, many players at small schools never really had the true recruiting feel when they were coming out of high school. Many had one or two offers, but were not considered the cream of the crop top prospect. So, many players are graduating and instead of staying in school, they are entering the transfer portal for their senior year and exploring their options.
I am not saying it cannot be done, but the decks can be stacked against a player. Many players have to come in and compete with FBS players right away. You are basically getting a clean slate. You are not just penciled in a starter when you get to the new school. You have to compete and the D1 school is going to play the best players at the position. I guess sometimes the unknown is better than the known. At a small school, these players are already studs. They are already penciled in the starter. They are the star of their schools as well. Then they transfer to a new school and have to become a star in just one year. The unknown is scouts only get to watch you play against one or two major colleges throughout the year. So if you perform well in those games you are graded by scouts on those two big games. When you leave to play at the FBS level, you have to perform in every game. So the cards are stacked against you in a way. Sometimes FCS players do not realize it, they are in a better position than many FBS players, because of this.
For example, then you leave and go to an All-Star game against the best players. If you have a good couple practices you hear your name called in the NFL Draft. The problem is, many players think they can compete at the highest level, and are confident in their play. I agree and understand that, but what kills me is the success rate.
Transfer Portal lands some quality prospects
This year, four of the top players in the FCS have already put their names in for a transfer. Youngstown State defensive end Justus Reed, Jabril Cox the hard hitting linebacker from North Dakota State, VMI RB Alex Ramsey and now UNI tight end Briley Moore all recently entered the transfer portal.
These were considered draftable prospects from the FCS in our opinion going into the year. So now, many of these players will try to transfer up, but how has that worked out for players recently?
I wanted to go back and look at players who were at the FCS level and were considered draftable in our opinion that recently transferred. Guys like Gabe Sherrod, Cole Tracy and Dee Delaney are a few that come to mind.
Gabe Sherrod was one of the most athletic pass rushers I ever covered in college football. He was a freak, a star basketball player in high school and a converted quarterback who went on to dominate at Delaware State. After a monster junior year, he decided to leave college early and go to the FBS. Many schools called him. Arkansas, Syracuse and even Michigan State came calling. Sherrod picked Michigan State. If Sherrod would have stayed at Delaware State, we had him projected as a 6th round pick. Sherrod would end up going undrafted after his year with Michigan State where he rarely played. This transfer always bothers me because he is one of the nicest kids you could ever meet.
Dee Delaney is another one that comes to mind. At the Citadel, he was considered a top cornerback in his conference and shoot even the FCS. I had him rated as the top FCS cornerback in the 2018 NFL Draft. Delaney would end up transferring to Miami to play for the Hurricanes, and he would end up going undrafted. He was able to get on the field at Miami, but I still feel if he stayed at the Citadel he would have been a 3rd round pick.
Cole Tracy the kicker from Assumption was one of the best kickers in the draft and was the Fred Mitchell Award winner in 2017 as the best kicker. The 5110 kicker was one of the surest things when it came to field goals at Assumption. He decided to leave and go to LSU his senior year. Do not get me wrong, he was a dog for LSU too, but he would end up going undrafted and signing with the XFL.
These are just three cases, there are many more, but these three guys were the highest guys in my opinion to transfer for their final year. There have been some guys though who transferred from small schools to the FBS and made it, but there is a difference.
Ryan Ramczyk was a player who transferred from Wisconsin-Stevens Point that would go to Wisconsin. The thing is Ryan sat out a year, learned the offense, then was named the starting left tackle in 2016. He would end up getting drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Another player who was drafted after leaving a small school was Rock Ya Sin. Ya-Sin was at Presbyterian and would leave to go to Temple. He played more than one year at Temple before entering the NFL Draft and getting selected in the second round.
You see, there is a trend here. If you transfer and play more than one year at the FBS school your chances of getting drafted are high. If you transfer and trying to go for one year, it usually ends up biting you in the butt.
We will get to see how this plays out for several top rated players in the FCS this year. We currently have Justus Reed of Youngstown State as a 5th round pick, Briley Moore the tight end from Northern Iowa as a 6th round pick, Jabril Cox from North Dakota as a 4th round pick and Alex Ramsey of VMI as a 7th round pick. We feel all these guys could be drafted from the FCS, with a solid senior year. Their film speaks for itself.
So here is the question, will these players help their stock or hurt their stock? That is the biggest question. We shall see.