Three-Point Stance: Caleb Williams, SEC transfers, key five-stars
Rivals National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with the five programs that are the best fit for transfer quarterback Caleb Williams, the best transfer so far for each SEC program and a look at the key five-star signees over the last four classes.
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1. THE BEST FITS FOR CALEB WILLIAMS
Quarterback Caleb Williams may or may not have made his announcement and decision by the time you read this but I have my opinion on the schools he apparently considered as to which are the best fits. Here are the five best fits in order:
1. Georgia — Todd Monken is an excellent offensive mind and made due with Stetson Bennett to win a national title. With the talent around him at UGA, can you imagine what Williams would do? It’s what we would have seen from Justin Fields. My prediction over a 12-game regular season is around 3,500 passing yards and 35 scores and rushing for another 800 and 10.
2. USC — Lincoln Riley is there so the comfort level would be great and the only reason I have the Trojans behind Georgia is because they don’t have the same team around him (offense and defense) and to push him. But a 3,800-yard, 40-touchdown season isn’t out of the realm of possibility. And Riley would use Williams' legs as well.
3. UCLA — Chip Kelly would be an amazing fit for Williams and you could argue Williams would produce better numbers with the Bruins based on Kelly's success with dual threats at Oregon. This is kind of a tie with USC as 3,800 yards passing and 40 TDs would be the goal. And he’d probably run for another 500.
4. Oklahoma — Let’s not forget the success Williams had as a true freshman and the success Jeff Lebby had with Matt Corral at Ole Miss. Williams would conservatively have 3,500 yards and 30 scores with a good chunk rushing as well.
5. Wisconsin — Wisconsin sure adapted well for Russell Wilson and it’s essentially the same offense in place now. With Braelon Allen in the backfield Williams would kill with play action. He’d throw for 3,000 and probably rush for 800 and total 40 touchdowns.
2. THE TOP TRANSFER ADDITIONS FOR EACH SEC PROGRAM
Here are the best transfer this cycle for each SEC program.
Alabama: Jahmyr Gibbs (RB, Georgia Tech) - You could easily go with Elias Ricks here as well, but I think Gibbs will have more of an instant impact for the Tide. He's amassed over 1,200 yards rushing and nearly 800 yards receiving in two seasons at Georgia Tech and should be the Day 1 starter in Tuscaloosa. Jermaine Burton wouldn’t be a bad choice either. Nick Saban kind of knows what he’s doing.
Arkansas: Jadon Haselwood (WR, Oklahoma) - Haselwood never quite popped the way we thought he would have coming out of high school, but he's still a big pickup for the Razorbacks. They need to replace Treylon Burks, and Haselwood has the big frame and big play ability to do so.
Auburn: Zach Calzada (QB, Texas A&M) - The SEC is playing some quarterback musical chairs this year and Calzada is one of the many guys who has found a new home within the conference. After starting most of the season for the Aggies, he's heading to the Plains to become the heir apparent to Bo Nix, who had a lot of ups and downs during his time for Auburn. His position makes him so important but I have questions about how effective he will be.
Florida: O'Cyrus Torrence (OG, Louisiana) - One of the best offensive lineman available in the portal, Torrence follows head coach Billy Napier from Lafayette to Gainesville and will be an immediate starter and upgrade for the Gators. Torrence was the fifth-ranked guard in the entire country last season according to PFF.
Georgia: N/A - The only SEC program that has yet to land a transfer, UGA can afford to be picky. Despite losing a ton of players off of their championship-winning roster, the Dawgs still have tons of talent and depth, along with a top-three recruiting class coming in. There will always be room for top-end playmakers, and they could probably use some help in the defensive backfield, so look for them to explore their options there.
Kentucky: Tayvion Robinson (WR, Virginia Tech) - With Wan'Dale Robinson off to the pros, the Wildcats will be looking to replace his productivity in the slot and they've found their guy. The Virginia Tech transfer has shown real flashes for a Hokies offense that was very stop-and-start over the past couple of seasons. He comes in with over 1,500 career receiving yards and will be asked to do a lot for coach Mark Stoops.
LSU: Mekhi Wingo (DT, Missouri) - One of the biggest (literally) pickups in the portal, Wingo is a space-eater at defensive tackle who can also get after the quarterback. Brian Kelly has been hitting the portal very hard, but Wingo is definitely the most notable name who is heading to Baton Rouge in my book.
Mississippi State: Justin Robinson (WR, Georgia) - A big-bodied receiver, Robinson will have plenty of opportunities to contribute to the Bulldogs air raid system. The former Rivals250 member never quite caught on in Athens, but with more passes to go around he's sure to become a favorite target for Will Rogers.
Missouri: Ty’Ron Hopper (LB, Florida) - Hopper had a very good season for the Gators last year and was a defensive leader and he could be the best defender Mizzou has seen since Nick Bolton.
Ole Miss: Jaxson Dart (QB, USC) - Lane Kiffin has crowned himself the "Portal King," and it's not hard to see why. Dart is the latest addition for the Rebs, and the former USC signal caller should be able to put up huge numbers in Kiffin's wide-open system. He's got all the talent in the world, as he showed last season for the Trojans - he's going to be a darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate.
South Carolina: Spencer Rattler (QB, Oklahoma) - One of the first big dominos to fall in the portal, Rattler (along with TE Austin Stogner) heads to Columbia to reunite with Shane Beamer. He's going to be given every opportunity in the world to start for the Gamecocks, who have some serious buzz heading into Beamer's second season at the helm. If he plays up to his ability and works on his attitude, he could easily work his way back into the first-round conversation.
Tennessee: Gerald Mincy (OL, Florida) - The big tackle from Florida should be able to compete for a starting spot for the Vols. And with four years of eligibility remaining, he could be a starter for a long time in Knoxville.
Texas A&M: Max Johnson (QB, LSU) - Johnson was one of the most notable quarterbacks available in the portal this season, and he'll bring a bigger upside to the Aggies than either of the two quarterbacks they started last season. The former four-star recruit has plenty of arm strength and instantly makes this team even better.
Vanderbilt: Kane Patterson (LB, Clemson) - Patterson returns home to Nashville and should immediately step in to make a difference for what was one of the worst defenses in college football last season. At 6-foot-1, 234 pounds, he's the ideal size for a Mike backer in Jesse Minter's system.
3. KEY FIVE-STAR SIGNEES SINCE 2019
Finally, with the late Signing Day set for Wednesday (my birthday, by the way!) here are some of the five-star signees that have impacted college football over the last few seasons and a few from the 2022 class that may affect the playoff.
CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU — Stingley hasn’t played much the last two seasons but let’s not forget he was the best defensive player on the national title team as a freshman. And the No. 1 overall prospect in 2019.
DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon — A top-10 player nationally, Thibodeaux has lived up to the hype and made Oregon scary at times. He could still be the No. 1 player picked in the NFL Draft.
OT Evan Neal, Alabama — I feel that Neal should be the No. 1 pick in the draft to protect Trevor Lawrence and he was part of a national title offensive line and a runner-up squad this season.
DE DeMarvin Leal, OT Kenyon Green, Texas A&M — The Aggies made a run in 2020 but fell short of the playoff and disappointed last year but Leal and Green have not as each are expected first-rounders.
QB Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma — A player mentioned not for what he has accomplished but for potentially being the biggest preseason Heisman bust in history. He tries to re-invent himself now at South Carolina.
OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State — Mississippi State didn’t make many headlines but he’s developed and emerged as a first-rounder.
DB Daxton Hill, Michigan — A key defender for the playoff Wolverines he’s probably leaving too early or he’d be a potential first-rounder next year.
QB Bryce Young, Alabama — Young won the Heisman Trophy last December. There's not much else needs to be said.
DE Myles Murphy, Clemson — While some of the offensive five-stars for Clemson have disappointed, Murphy has been dominant from from his first day on campus.
OT Broderick Jones, CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia — The key left tackle and corner who intercepted the pass that sealed the national title and ended 1980 chants.
LB Noah Sewell, Oregon - Overshadowed a bit by teammate Justin Flowe coming out of high school, Sewell has proven to be better.
RB Bijan Robinson, Texas — The best player on this list on a crummy team? Yep. Robinson has proven to be special.
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State — The Rose Bowl was his coming out party and he’s better than any other receiver in the Big Ten already.
DE Will Anderson, Alabama — The best player in college football? Yep.
QB Quinn Ewers, Ohio State — Why is he listed? Because he’s the face of NIL in some ways with his early transfer back to Texas and becoming a household name handing the ball off a couple times.
QB Caleb Williams, Oklahoma — The new face of NIL when he finds a home we will remember him as the first player to truly sell his merits on the open market through the transfer portal.
OG Bryce Foster, Texas A&M — A freshman starter at center is a big deal especially in the SEC.
WR Mario Williams, Oklahoma — Williams had a great freshman season and is headed to USC with his former coach. This could happen a lot.
LB Dallas Turner, Alabama — He’s the next Will Anderson and showed that in the title playoff.
ATH Travis Hunter, Jackson State — The first elite player to choose a HBCU program he shocked the world and has set a potential trend.
DT Walter Nolen, Texas A&M — See what Neal did at A&M? Nolen has the talent to do as much.
QB Cade Klubnick, Clemson — If Clemson wins another national title anytime soon I think this is the guy who leads the way.
DB Domani Jackson, USC — USC will start getting elite California players to stay home again and Jackson is a big part of that.
LB CJ Hicks, Ohio State — He’s so athletic we could be looking at the Nakobe Dean of the Big Ten just bigger.