Three-Point Stance: Transfer portal power, key assistant hires
Rivals national columnist Mike Farrell is here with thoughts on some hot teams in the portal, a few big assistant coaching hires and five things that need to change about college football sooner than later.
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1. Portal power
The transfer portal is as active as ever and some teams are quick on the draw while others appear to be a bit slow. Here are a few teams that have impressed me overall and recently with their commitments.
LSU — Brian Kelly is on fire with the portal as he revamps the roster in Baton Rouge. Quarterback Max Johnson is often the focus additions such as OL Miles Frazier (FIU), DB Greg Brooks (Arkansas), RB Noah Cain (Penn State), WR Kyren Lacy (Louisiana) and others will make a huge impact.
Arkansas — It hurts to lose Brooks but then the Razorbacks gain a transfer from LSU in Dwight McGlothern and it evens out in the defensive backfield. LB Drew Sanders (Alabama) is a huge get and let’s not forget WR Jadon Haeselwood (Oklahoma) and what he can potentially do.
Florida — DE Khris Bogle is a big loss and haters will say new coach Billy Napier is bringing too many ex-Louisiana players over with him but trust me — OT O’Cyrus Torrence and RB Montrell Johnson are legit elite players. DB Jalen Kimber (Georgia) is a nice addition as well.
UCF — One of the most active programs in the country when it comes to the portal, UCF under Gus Malzahn has done an excellent job. It is quick to evaluate and offer and landing WR Kobe Hudson (Auburn), LB Terrence Lewis (Maryland) and others will help right away.
South Carolina — The duo of QB Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma) and TE Austin Stogner (Oklahoma) has been publicized plenty, but WR Antwane Wells (James Madison) and RB Christian Beal-Smith (Wake Forest) get overlooked
2. Best assistant coach hires
January is a time for many key assistant coaches hires that could impact the recruiting world all the way to the college football playoff race. Here are 10 recent position hires I like:
Frank Wilson, LSU RB (McNeese St HC)
Arguably the biggest hire for any position coach in the country, Wilson is widely considered one of the best recruiters in the business. The combination of Wilson and Hankton (below) should help lock down Louisiana and get a quick influx of talent for the Tigers.
Harry Hiestand, Notre Dame OL (Bears OL, 2018-19)
Hiestand returns to South Bend, where he spent six years developing some of the best players the school has ever produced along the line. He was responsible for Quentin Nelson, Ronnie Stanley, Zach Martin, Mike McGlinchey, Nick Martin and many more. This is a great hire by Marcus Freeman, who will want to re-establish Notre Dame as the premier offensive line program in the country.
Cortez Hankton, LSU WR (from UGA)
A big pickup for Brian Kelly, Hankton has been an excellent recruiter on Kirby Smart's staff for the past three seasons. The New Orleans native will be a huge asset for an LSU program that is looking to get back on the right track.
Keary Colbert, Florida WR (from USC)
The former USC standout as a player and coach is a huge get for Billy Napier on his staff. Colbert helped develop Drake London and Amon-Ra St. Brown, and with his experience on the West Coast particularly in Southern California, he should give the Gators a foothold in recruiting in that prospect-rich environment.
William Peagler, Florida TE (MSU RB)
Another big pickup for Florida, Peagler molded Kenneth Walker into the top running back in the nation this past season. The Clemson grad has also spent time at Georgia, Minnesota and Colorado.
Alex Mirabel, Miami OL (Oregon OL)
In the least surprising hire of the entire offseason, Mirabel followed his lifelong friend Mario Cristobal to Miami from Oregon. The diminutive offensive line coach is one of the best in the nation having developed Penei Sewell to become All-Americans.
Adrian Klemm, Oregon OL (Steelers OL)
Dan Lanning went to the pros to poach Klemm from the Steelers but he's not without college experience. Klemm spent five seasons at UCLA coaching offensive line after spending four at SMU. He'll bring an immediate toughness to that unit and he’s known as an elite recruiter.
Dennis Simmons, USC WR (OU WR)
Simmons followed Lincoln Riley to USC from Oklahoma after spending six seasons in Norman. He helped develop a load of big name receivers during his time there including CeeDee Lamb, Hollywood Brown, Dede Westbrook, Sterling Shepard and more. He'll have tons of talent at his disposal with the Trojans and should help make that one of the best units in the country in very short order.
Kiel McDonald, USC RB (Utah RB)
Riley did a fantastic job of poaching McDonald from division rival Utah, where he spent the past five seasons. The Utes had the league's top rushing attack this past season, with three running backs over 500 yards, including Tavion Thomas who topped 1,000. He had a back go over 1,000 yards every season while in Salt Lake City.
Joe Rudolph, Virginia Tech OL (Wisconsin OL)
It came as a bit of a shock when Rudolph decided to leave his alma mater to head to Blacksburg to join Brent Pry's staff. The top recruiter for the Badgers over the past five seasons, Rudolph brings plenty of experience and a great rapport with players to Virginia Tech.
3. Make these changes, please
And finally, we have many aspects of college football that need to be changed and changed quickly. The horizon is a new one for many of us, but let’s be smart as we head forward and make things a bit more manageable.
College football expansion — I’ll go into this in more detail in future columns but the ACC essentially saying it wants to see where football is in a year or so before voting on expansion isn’t the end of the world, but it’s still archaic. We need teams other than Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia in the playoff each year.
Add transfer portal restrictions — You shouldn’t be able to jump in the portal 365 days a year. By putting together some restrictions on this you might see players make smarter and less emotional decisions. Take a few weeks off the calendar each month and slow this roll.
Stop booster funded NIL – NIL is fine but it’s clear that the restrictions aren’t in place to avoid this simply turning into buying players. Let the players strike their own individual deals through marketing firms and agents and don’t allow coaches to have boosters pounce. If you contribute to a school, you shouldn’t contribute to NIL.
Move the Early Signing Period to August — It’s too much now for coaches handling the end of the season, bowl prep, practice, the transfer portal, NIL and recruiting in December. Make it August and February and if a head coach leaves for an early signee, he can reconsider.
Let college players leave for NFL after two seasons — How does this help college football? It doesn’t really but it’s also ridiculous to see players sit out an entire season or half a season to prep for the NFL. At least with two years players will need many of the games on their resume whereas now their junior year isn’t truly necessary. The NFLPA won’t allow this but it makes sense to me.