Three-Point Stance: Big 12 transfers, NFL Combine, coach fits
Rivals national columnist Mike Farrell is here with the best transfer classes in the Big 12, five players who made big money at the NFL Combine and the five perfect coaching fits in college football.
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1. RANKING THE BIG 12 TRANSFER CLASSES
Continuing on I take a look at the top teams in order from the Big 12 in the transfer portal.
Total additions: 10
Headliners: Dillon Gabriel (UCF), Jeffery Johnson (Tulane), McKade Mettauer (Cal)
A huge class for first-year coach Brent Venables in the portal, but that was very necessary after losing a ton of guys from last season's roster. Gabriel comes in as the presumed QB1, and will be given every opportunity to start. A name to watch out for here though is Johnson, who is a beast at defensive tackle and has potential as an All-Big 12 selection next season. Mettauer can play either center or guard, and should be a starter.
Total additions: 4
Headliners: Quinn Ewers (Ohio State), Jaleel Billingsley (Alabama), Isaiah Neyor (Wyoming)
Not a huge class, but Steve Sarkisian picked up three guaranteed starters. Ewers was one of the most highly recruited quarterbacks in history coming out of high school, and bringing him back to his home state of Texas for what should be his true freshman year (he reclassified in 2021 to enroll early at Ohio State) will bring a ton of expectations for him. If he's the guy we thought he was coming out of high school the Longhorns could be back very quickly to conference title contention. Billingsley was a great get after he looked good for Alabama at times and Neyor is a gem from the Group of Five and could be the best of the bunch.
3. Kansas State
Total additions: 5
Headliners: Branden Jennings (Maryland), Will Honas (Nebraska), Adrian Martinez (Nebraska)
One of the top recruits in the country in 2021, Jennings is a huge steal for Chris Klieman and staff and is a guy who should be able to start right away. Martinez showed flashes during his four years at Nebraska but never quite put it all together for an entire season. However, he definitely has the potential to be an upper-echelon quarterback in the conference. Honas is a tough-nosed, sound tackler who will fit right in with the Wildcats.
Total additions: 9
Headliners: Trelon Smith (Arkansas), Emani Bailey (Louisiana), Alan Ali (SMU), Jared Wiley (Texas)
A lot of names here for new coach Sonny Dykes starting with Smith and Bailey, who will battle out for the RB1 spot after the departure of Zach Evans. Bailey has a huge upside after being very productive under Billy Napier at Louisiana. Ali followed Dykes across town from SMU and should lock up one of the interior offensive line spots while Wiley is a nice piece at tight end.
5. Texas Tech
Total additions: 9
Headliners: Tyler Owens (Texas), Cole Spencer (WKU), Monroe Mills (Oklahoma State), Dimitri Moore (Missouri State)
Another big class, first-year coach Joey McGuire realized he quickly needed to restock the roster at nearly every position. Owens was a Rivals100 prospect in 2019 and has a lot of experience under this belt. Moore was a former starter at Vanderbilt before he transferred from there to Missouri State. Mills and Spencer should both be starters on the offensive line this season.
Total additions: 7
Headliners: Ky Thomas (Minnesota), Kalon Gervin (Michigan State), Lonnie Phelps (Miami of Ohio), Eriq Gilyard (UCF), Sevion Morrison (Nebraska), Craig Young (Ohio State), Nolan Gorczyca (Buffalo)
Thomas showed what he could do last season when pressed into action at Minnesota and is a great fit for Lance Leipold's offense. Gervin was a prospect who garnered a lot of attention from schools around the country and flipped from Wisconsin to Kansas in the portal. Morrison, Young, Phelps, and Gilyard all have the potential to start for a roster that is still very thin on talent.
Total additions: 4
Headliners: Lyn-J Dixon (Clemson), Brian Polendey (Colorado State)
Dixon, the former backup at Clemson, flashed during limited playing time for the Tigers and should be the top back after losing Leddie Brown to the draft. Polendey spent last season in the shadow of Trey McBride and will get a chance to compete for the starting spot at tight end for the Mountaineers this season.
Total additions: 1
Headliners: Jaxon Player (Tulsa)
The only addition for the Bears, Player will be an immediate impact player on the defensive line and has all-conference upside.
9. Iowa State
Total additions: 2
Headliners: Colby Reeder (Delaware), M.J. Anderson (Minnesota)
Reeder is a tackling machine and will fit right in after the Cyclones lost a lot of guys at the linebacker position over the past two seasons. Anderson adds depth on the defensive line but wasn't an impact guy for the Gophers.
10. Oklahoma State
Total additions: 1
Headliners: Solomon Wright (Arkansas)
The only addition for the Cowboys, Wright redshirted last season at Arkansas. I'm surprised that they haven't been more active in the portal given some of their losses they've sustained between graduation and transfers.
2. FIVE PLAYERS THAT BOOSTED THEIR STOCK AT THE NFL COMBINE
The NFL Combine, one of my favorite events of the year, is in the books and many players raised their stock and made themselves additional millions. Here are the five guys who helped themselves the most.
Jordan Davis - What is there to say about Davis that hasn't already been said? He put on a performance for the ages in Indianapolis, starting with a mind-blowing 4.78 40-yard dash at 341 pounds and following that up with a broad jump of 10'3" and a 32" vertical. He's now a lock for the top 15 and could push top 10.
Skyy Moore - Moore may not blow you away with size but he was very strong in his testing, running a 4.4-second 40-yard dash and excelled in the position drills, catching everything that came near him. He's gone from a mid-round guy to someone who could hear his name being called early in the second round or even jump into the first round.
Tariq Wooten - Wooten proved to have some of the the best raw athleticism of anyone at the combine. A 4.26 40 time is impressive for anyone, but considering that he measured in at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds that number is simply staggering. Throw on top a 42" vertical and long arms and you can see why scouts are drooling over him. He's going mid-second round at worst now.
Travon Walker - Jordan Davis wasn't the only former Bulldog making waves over the weekend. Walker came in with ideal measurables for an edge rusher at 6-foot-5 and 272 pounds and then cruised to a 4.51 40. He was explosive in the three-cone drill and broad jumped 10'3", and his stock is on the rise, potentially into top-five territory.
Trevor Penning - The big man from Northern Iowa was already coming off of a strong Senior Bowl, but boosted his stock even more by running a 4.89-second 40 at 6-foot-7, 325 pounds. He was being talked about as a mid-to-late first-rounder before the combine, but now could make the top 10.
3. BEST COACH FITS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
When thinking of Miami and Mario Cristobal since his hire the term “fits like a glove” comes to mind knowing this man’s passion for The U. But where does he stand in college football’s glove fitting contest?
1. Kirby Smart, Georgia — Smart leads a trend you might notice here — a former player landing his dream job and having success. It’s hard to argue with anything he’s done so far and is coming off a national title.
2. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern — He represents everything that Northwestern wants in a coach and a man and he can stay there as long as he wants. And it doesn’t hurt that he wins his division every few years.
3. Mario Cristobal, Miami — Cristobal hasn’t coached a game yet at Miami but I don’t care. I haven’t been this confident in a new hire in a very long time and he will kill it in recruiting.
4. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan — Despite his flirtation with the NFL and a pay cut at one point, he’s still the best Michigan man they could ask for in Ann Arbor and is coming off his best season.
5. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State — There have been a few head butting moments here and there with the administration but he is 149-69 and just finished his seventh double-digit win season.