I have been getting calls all week on kids deciding whether or not to enter the transfer portal. It has become a phenomenon lately, and who can blame a kid for chasing a bag? I get it, there is a lot of money being thrown around right now by NIL collectives, but college football has become more interesting than the NFL for some.
Yesterday alone, I spoke to seven kids that were deciding on what to do with their future. To be honest, it is not an easy decision. You have players that are really torn between the NFL and college football. I wanted to talk about several situations and my personal thoughts on the matter. I think it is very important to understand everything, but let’s have some fun here.
Last year, hundreds of players entered the transfer portal to try to get more exposure, and play on the field. The transfer portal saw many small schoolers leave their schools to attend other colleges, and many amazing players leave their schools as well. Let’s look at a specific example, Spencer Sanders from Oklahoma State had a draftable grade last year, but decided to enter the transfer portal. He along with 22 others ended up at Ole Miss. Sanders would end up getting beat out by Jaxson Dart and not getting on the field. On the year he has 278 yards passing and three touchdowns, compared to four previous 2,000 plus yard passing seasons. Did Sanders help himself? Sure if he can get another year of school.
Sanders right now has an priority free agent grade. I am not saying he does not have the tools to play at the next level but his stock definitely took a hit by transferring.
There are many other players who decided to leave school early chasing a bag. I will not get into specifics, but I wish I had a total number of players from last year’s draft that transferred up to a college with one year left, played at that school and was drafted. I would like to believe that number you can count on your hand.
Leaving with one year left to go to a bigger school is not always the best option. This year many players from the IVY League with draftable grades decided to put their names in the transfer portal. They have been getting tons of offers too. I do not blame them for trying, but the long game is what is important in this business. College football and the portal and money can only last a few years. Then what?
Players that are struggling to make the decision need to think about the situation they are in. If you have a draftable grade right now or are considered a priority free agent, CAN YOU IMPROVE YOUR STOCK?
Of course we are going to believe we can improve our stock, we all will, but if you are a sixth year player how the hell can you improve your stock if you couldn’t do it in six years?
Remember the NFL wants younger guys, they do not want 25 year old college kids, they would much rather have a 21 year old college kid.
In one year can you really improve your stock? The answer is YES! But there are factors too. YOU HAVE TO PLAY AND BE ON THE FIELD THE ENTIRE TIME AND MAKING PLAYS! Many kids will transfer from a small school and go up a division. They get there and they realize that the coach loves a player he recruited more than them. They end up getting put on the bench and their stock drops. This happens every year.
Look around college football.
There are also many guys that would be better off if they stayed at their own school. So if you are a player that was starting all year and scouts have been talking about you, why would you leave? Look at an NFL roster, they are all not from Power 5’s. You may actually shock yourself when you see some of the schools these players attended.
It is okay to be the big fish in a small pond. It is actually a lot easier to be picked when you are the man at a small school. Wherever you attend and whatever you do, you want to be the man. If that school is bringing in 5 star players left and right and you were a transfer, remember this, it is a lot easier to bench you than lose the 5 star who has 4 to 5 years left. Who do they want to make mad? You who has one year or the guy they promised the world to?
Every year players will make a decision and it will either benefit them or crucify them. My advice is simple, PRAY ON IT, because the NFL pays a lot of money too. Many are thinking about the quick cash and not the long future.