Is the wealth being spread, and we’re just not seeing it yet?

I’ve mentioned before that the transfer portal is one means by which the lack of parity in college football can be addressed.  There are something like a thousand players in the portal now, which means there’s a ton of roster upheaval being processed, on both the losing and receiving ends.

That being said, Bud Elliott suggests there may even be a secondary consequence.

The best schools are still loading up on the best high schoolers. But for programs who are outside the current top five recruiting classes, it can be a bit of a different story. Some are leaving a lot of spots open for transfers. That’s because transfers, just like recruits, count against the cap of 25 new players a school may bring in in a given year. And this year, transfers are immediately eligible.

“If it is a borderline recruit for us, we’d rather take a transfer who we know can cut it physically at the college level,” said one staffer.

Many coaches and recruiting personnel have echoed those sentiments. Their thought is this: Why not take a transfer player who can be OK for two years and get that scholarship back quickly to use on a future recruit as opposed to risking a four-year mistake on a borderline high school prospect you’ve never worked out or seen in person? Coaches think the bust rate in this 2021 high school class might be much higher than normal due to the lack of evaluation and development time.

Take Oklahoma, North Carolina, Penn State and Florida State, which only signed an average of 16 players in the early cycle. Oklahoma has three transfers as of this writing. Penn State has four, while FSU has eight already.

With so many schools signing five or more fewer high schoolers than they normally would, doesn’t that mean the talent will likely trickle down? If the top 25 or so schools leave an average of two extra spots open for transfers, that’s 50 high school prospects who would otherwise not be available for some lesser programs to sign who are suddenly available.

“There’s no doubt,” a scouting director said on Monday. “If you are at a G5 school and you know your athletic director will be patient with you, there is absolutely an opportunity to sign some prospects who would normally be signed as flyers by P5 programs. It should trickle down to FCS schools, too.”

Sometimes the law of unintended consequences can have a positive outcome.  It’ll be interesting to look back on the 2021 and 2022 classes in a couple of years to see if this is a recruiting trend that has real legs.


Filed under Recruiting, Transfers Are For Coaches.

11 responses to “Is the wealth being spread, and we’re just not seeing it yet?

  1. silvercreekdawg

    I’ll hedge the bet and say it depends.

    It depends on how quickly some sense of “normalcy” (however you define the term) returns. If we have another year or two of how things are now, then yes, I’d say this will become a popular option. If we get back to something close to the way things were pre-pandemic, then I’d say it was an on-off anomaly.


  2. Won’t it be the kid who went to Gof5 school and has proven himself will want to go to a Bama, UGA, Clemson, etc.? I imagine the QB at North Dakota State would have been more than happy to transfer to a top Power 5 school with immediate eligibility.

    The best talent is still going to go to the best schools.


    • amurraycuh

      Statistically speaking, its more likely that an athlete is going to move “down” in classification than an athlete is going to move “up.”


  3. theotherdoug

    I think mid tier P5 team that struggles to get 4 stars or a top tier (fsu) team can get some solid talent through the portal, but I don’t see a lot of elite starters transfering. The guys leaving UGA and Bama are almost always leaving because of playing time, and that’s because there are better guys at UGA. Even when a Justin Fields transfers he transfers to Ohio State where the team around him is elite.

    For all the talk about the Portal Master his success last year was from 2 McEleain recruits (Trask and Pitts) and 1 (Toney) of his own HS recruits. He’s plugging holes with guys that are decent but not great through the portal. Isn’t that what Kirby does too?


  4. Ran A

    Yup. If you have a coach who is consistently recruiting top 3 classes, then you are not going to be as excited about this. Logic says that you are going to bleed some talent over to others. But I think it is fair. In fact, I think they should go one more step. If your coach is fired, I think you should be able to leave the program anytime within the next 365 days and be eligible and not lose your ‘one-time’ transfer. If your coach leaves for another program, I think the same rule applies, with one exception – you cannot go to the school the coach went to. That prevents say a UT from ‘buying’ the entire North Carolina program – for example.

    They mentioned Oklahoma. They have at least 3, maybe 4 of UT’s best players transferring to them. That’s taking advantage of the new system of a program that has done basically everything wrong. The NCAA will punish the Vols – the new system insures it. (And anyone else that breaks their rules). It’s an enforcement arm that they did not understand that they were getting when they implemented this new rule.


  5. MGW

    The wealth is certainly being spread, just not in a way that’s going to make the playoffs quit consisting of Bama, Ohio State, and Clemson most years. Georgia and Oklahoma are geared to challenge, but beyond that… the tier two programs like UF/Auburn/USC/Tennessee, etc., however, are not going to benefit enough to make up the ground they’ve lost against the tier one programs. They actually just seem to be facing stiffer challenges from below; from teams they never really had to worry about before.


  6. Ozam

    When it comes to NCAA the law of unintended consequences reigns supreme!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    So cfb is even more like baseball’s minor league system. Kids on the bubble can start out in the lower levels, and if successful, transfer up to a P5 school. Kids who don’t make it at the P5 level get sent down via the portal.

    I agree this will really entrench the top programs. They can pick and choose to fill specific needs. Fortunately, we have the master of roster management as HC.


  8. My first thought is there are quite a few pretty darn good players that may can improve their situation personally, which helps both them and their new colors. Which should bring a little balance to the force. Our guy going to Miami hurt us a little and helps Miami a lot.

    I think an elite player going to an elite school ala Fields is a very rare thing, and is likely only a QB thing mostly. Burrows left OSU for LSU. I think this is the rarest of the rare. But Franks going to Arky helped a lot. Maybe also rare, but it helped Franks play and Arky get better.

    Liked by 1 person