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NCAA Transfer Players to Watch in 2020

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The college football off-season is now in full swing, with coaches and recruiting staff working to add more talent to their rosters. Along with high school athletes and JUCO standouts, teams are also recruiting current NCAA student-athletes from the ever-growing transfer market.

In 2018, in an effort to streamline and standardize the student-athlete transfer process, the NCAA debuted the transfer portal, strengthening the importance of transfers in the player acquisition process.

The final 2019 standings for College Total Points (SIS's overall value metric that in college also adjusts for strength of schedule) show just how vital a transfer player can be to the success of their new team. The top 10 players in terms of Total Points were all quarterbacks. Of these 10, half were transfers. Furthermore, three of the four College Football Playoff quarterbacks were transfers (Joe Burrow, Justin Fields, and Jalen Hurts), along with each of the last three Heisman trophy winners (Burrow, Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield). 

2019 SIS College Total Points Leaderboard (all are QBs)

Bold indicates transfer player

Rank Name School Total Points Per 60 Plays*
1 Joe Burrow LSU 251 15.8
2 Anthony Gordon Wash St 180 12.2
3 Justin Fields Ohio State 170 11.5
4 Jalen Hurts Oklahoma 162 11.3
5 Sam Howell UNC 154 10.1
6 Trevor Lawrence Clemson 151 11.2
7 Shane Buechele SMU 148 9.0
8 Sam Ehlinger Texas 145 9.6
9 Justin Herbert Oregon 142 9.4
10 Bryce Perkins Virginia 140 9.3

*60 is about the average number of offensive plays in a game

The above examples are the best-case scenario, as transfer quarterbacks do not always live up to the hype. That being said, teams will continue to look to transfers in order to find success on the field.

Of the transfers completed this off-season, here are six quarterbacks (along with career Total Points statistics) to keep an eye on (all have been granted immediate eligibility): 

Name Prev School New School Total Points Per 60 Plays
D'Eriq King Houston Miami 163 9.6
K.J. Costello Stanford Miss St 141 7.8
Feleipe Franks Florida Arkansas 91 5.9
Jamie Newman Wake Forest Georgia 84 4.4
Collin Hill Colorado St South Car 47 5.3
Chase Brice Clemson Duke 35 5.6

Each of the above quarterbacks have seen the field and, with the exception of Duke's Chase Brice, have starting experience. All are entering their final season of eligibility, again with the exception of Brice, who has two seasons remaining (though Collin Hill is eligible to apply for a medical redshirt in order to gain an extra season of eligibility).

While some quarterbacks do see immediate success upon transferring (Fields, Hurts), others see greater returns following the initial year in their new program (Burrow, Bryce Perkins). It will be interesting to see which schools will be able to create an environment in which their transfer signal caller can thrive.

Interested in more college football analysis from SIS? Check out the 2020 SIS Football Rookie Handbook, available for preorder from Amazon or from ACTA Sports.


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