Ten uncommitted graduate transfers to watch
While most of the college programs around the country are knee-deep in spring practices, plenty of talented players are changing locations this offseason via graduate transfer. Over the past two weeks we looked at players who have already found new homes and figure to have a major impact this fall, but there are still plenty of players yet to announce their new homes for next year.
Today we look at 10 more uncommitted graduate transfers and analyze the potential impact they will have on the 2018 season.
As a recruit: Dawkins collected a few offers after his junior year, but he didn’t stay on the open market long, committing to Arizona over Notre Dame, Utah and NC State in the summer prior to his senior season.
As a Wildcat: Dawkins redshirted his first year on campus and then worked his way into the lineup as a backup during his redshirt freshman season in 2015. In 2016, he took over as the team’s starter, appearing in 10 games and throwing for 1,348 yards while running for another 944. He began 2017 as the starter, until an injury forced him out of the lineup, opening the door for Khalil Tate to take the job and never give it back. For his career, Dawkins has 2,418 yards passing with 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and 1,582 yards rushing with 20 touchdowns. Dawkins has one year of eligibility remaining.
Farrell’s Take: Dawkins had a high ceiling and a lot of potential coming out of high school, although he was very raw and erratic at times. We had him as a high three-star for that very reason – a lot of potential but a big bust factor, as well. He remains that way today, a player with excellent potential who also does a few things that make you scratch your head.
As a recruit: A three-star prospect in the class of 2015, Hines committed to Wake Forest after impressing the Demon Deacons coaches at an on-campus camp. He had other offers from Duke, Appalachian State and Charlotte.
As a Demon Deacon: Hines made an immediate impact in Winston-Salem, playing in 12 games as freshman and catching 32 passes for 366 yards. His production went up every year thereafter, as he caught 38 passes for 447 yards in 2016 and 53 for 683 and seven touchdowns in 2017. Hines announced his intention to transfer earlier this year and will have one year of eligibility remaining.
Farrell’s Take: Lightly recruited out of high school mainly because of a lack of size, Hines has been a productive receiver in college and could be a great pickup, especially in a wide-open offense. He was one of the smaller players in the class of 2015 who was still a surefire FBS prospect.
As a recruit: One of the top players regardless of position in the 2014 class, Harvey had offers from all over the country. He made a commitment to Texas A&M following his senior season and stuck with the Aggies despite official visits to both Oklahoma and Texas.
As an Aggie: Harvey wasted no time making an impact in College Station, appearing in nine games as a true freshman in 2014. The following season he appeared in 13 games, recording 29 tackles and four pass breakups. But his career truly took off in 2016, when he started 12 games at cornerback, making 66 tackles while breaking up 10 passes and intercepting another. Harvey missed all of 2017 while recovering from a knee injury and has one year of eligibility remaining.
Schools in the mix: South Carolina
Farrell’s Take: Harvey was a bit sawed off as a safety prospect, but he could do everything from cover to hit to play the football, which is why he was so highly rated. I remember Harvey well from the camp circuit as a kid who covered a ton of ground and had the skills to play cornerback but could also be a rangy safety. He’s done well in college with those skills and could be a great get.
As a Cardinal: Alexander made an immediate impact with the Cardinal, appearing in 13 games as a true freshman. His best season came as a sophomore in 2015, when he recorded 30 tackles and played in 14 games during Stanford’s run to the Rose Bowl. In 2016, Alexander again appeared in 13 games and was set to for a major role in 2017 before suffering a season-ending injury in the school’s season-opener against Rice. He was granted a medical redshirt and has one year of eligibility remaining.
Farrell’s Take: A small but heady and fast cornerback, Alexander was a high three-star coming out because of his natural coverage skills and his ability to overcome his lack of size. He was also a willing tackler and tough kid. He was always very smooth and had a great football sense. He could be an instant leader wherever he lands.
As a recruit: A four-star in the class of 2015, Sanders started his high school career in Tennessee before moving to California for his senior year. Despite a national list of offers including Georgia, Ohio State and many others, Sanders made an early commitment to Notre Dame and never wavered from his pledge.
As an Irish: Sanders quickly worked his way onto the field as a true freshman, serving as Notre Dame’s primary punt and kick returner in 2015. The following season his role expanded to include more opportunities on offense, including seven starts. He finished that season with 24 catches for 293 yards and two touchdowns. But in 2017 he was limited to mostly kick returns, and he caught just one pass on offense. Sanders is among the Notre Dame career leaders in several kick return categories, including yards (2,019), average (23.5) and touchdowns (3).
Farrell’s Take: A thick and sneaky strong slot receiver, Sanders could also do a ton of work on the outside and on special teams out of high school. He had sure hands and was a kid we liked enough to have as a four-star outside our Rivals250. We thought he’d make more of an impact as a receiver, but he has a chance to not only be an impact return man but also use those receiving skills wherever he lands.
As a recruit: Ranked as a two-star safety in the class of 2014, Johnson initially committed to Charlotte before flipping to Northern Illinois just prior to the start of his senior season.
As a Husky: After redshirting and moving to linebacker, Johnson worked his way into the lineup in 2015, playing in 11 games and recording 31 tackles. After injuries limited his playing time in 2016, Johnson broke out with a huge season in 2017. He finished the year with 98 total tackles, including 18 for loss, while also intercepting five passes and scoring two defensive touchdowns. Johnson announced his intention to transfer last month and will have one year of eligibility remaining.
Farrell’s Take: A big safety out of high school, Johnson wasn’t heavily recruited and was a bit of a ‘tweener because he didn’t have elite speed at his position. Now he’s proven to be a legit linebacker and stat stuffer who could make a huge impact for a team his final year.
As a recruit: Fisher was high on the list of several Pac-12 and Mountain West schools as a recruit and committed to UCLA at the start of his senior season. He would later take official visits to Utah and Washington State, but elected to stick with his commitment to the Bruins.
As a Bruin: Fisher redshirted his first year on campus and played mostly as a backup during his next three seasons at UCLA, with his best season coming as a redshirt freshman in 2015. He finished his UCLA career with 31 total tackles and four pass breakups. Fisher announced his intention to transfer last month and will have one year of eligibility remaining.
Farrell’s Take: A high three-star with great size out of high school, we had Fisher listed as a cornerback, but knew he might move to safety because of his size and length and a lack of great hips. He hasn’t played up to his potential yet and he has always had a higher ceiling than he played to, but he has a chance to be a key defensive back for someone in his final year.
As a recruit: A sleeper recruit in the class of 2014, Robinson committed to Clemson during the summer prior to his senior season. The Tigers were his only offer.
As a Tiger: After redshirting his first year on campus, Robinson cracked the lineup as a reserve and played sparingly in 2015 and 2016. He saw an uptick in playing time in 2017, appearing in eight games and recording 17 total tackles. He announced his intention to transfer in January and will have one season of eligibility remaining.
Schools in the mix: West Virginia
Farrell’s Take: An undersized yet quick defensive tackle out of high school, it was a bit of a surprise when Clemson went on him, considering the level at which the Tigers were recruiting. He never cracked the lineup consistently for many good reasons, but could impact someplace down the line.
As a recruit: Johnson had a national list of offers, including Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and Ohio State, but his recruitment didn’t play out long, as he committed to Clemson during the spring of his junior year.
As a Tiger: Johnson never really cracked the playing rotation on the deep Clemson defensive line, making occasional appearances after redshirting in 2015. His best season came in 2017, when he recorded 10 total tackles and two sacks. He announced his intention to transfer earlier this year and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Farrell’s Take: Johnson was a big name in recruiting circles because of his offer list and I believe another site made him a five-star somehow. I remember when I first saw him how disappointed I was in how high he played and how easily he was moved. His size and frame alone made him a middling three-star, but based on his technique I didn’t see him becoming a star - and that certainly hasn’t happened. I’m not sure how much he can impact unless he’s a completely different player technique-wise.
As a Wolverine: Speight’s career with the Wolverines saw many twists and turns. He redshirted in 2014 and saw spot playing time in 2015 before earning the team’s starting job in 2016. That season he had a very good run, completing nearly 62 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,538 yards and 18 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. Speight began 2017 as the Wolverines' starter before being injured early in the year. He announced his intention to transfer in November, but he has left the door open to return to Michigan should Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson not be eligible to play this season.
Schools in the mix: TBD
Farrell’s Take: I was never a big Speight fan after a bad injury mid-way through his high school career, and was stunned when he was selected to the Under Armour All-America Game. I’m actually surprised he had as much success as he had at Michigan because I never felt he was a FBS starter, but he’s shown some talent and potential, and should help someone out.