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Transfer Portal Impact: Grading the Big Ten

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Justin Fields
Justin Fields (AP Images)

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The addition of the transfer portal to college football has been one of the biggest developments in recent years, as players now have more information than ever when it comes to seeking a new school to attend. Instead of getting permission from their current schools in order to transfer, and in many cases being blocked from certain schools, players now have the ability to transfer to another school freely.

Pretty much every team in college football has been touched by the portal in one way or another, whether it’s players coming or going, and it’s only likely to continue once depth charts shake out after spring football.With that in mind, we went through every name that has been publicly tied to the portal (the actual portal database isn’t public).

This week, we are grading each Power Five conference based on the impact of the transfers gained or lost by each programs. Today we examine the Big Ten.


Additions: TE Luke Ford (Georgia), OL Richie Petitbon (Alabama)

Subtractions: DB Cameron Watkins (Vanderbilt)

Currently in the Portal: WR Carmoni Green, OT Larry Boyd, OL Reuben Unije, OL Zeke Martin, OL Andrew Trainer

Grade: B -- The Illini lost a lot of depth along the offensive line but landed a couple of former elite recruits in Ford and Petibon. The most impactful defection of the year might be Watkins, who is likely to step into a starting roll at Vanderbilt and would have been one of the Illini’s best defensive backs had he stayed.

Farrell’s take: Ford is an exceptional talent at tight end who can be a downfield threat and Petitbon has always had good size and a nasty streak. Illinois did well in landing these two.


Additions: QB Jack Tuttle (Utah)

Subtractions: RB Craig Nelson (Southern), TE Austin Dorris (Bowling Green)

Currently in the Portal: DT Ja’Merez Bowen

Grade: B -- Landing Tuttle could be a major addition down the road and the loses of Nelson and Dorris shouldn’t have much of an impact on the program.

Farrell’s take: I liked Tuttle a lot out of high school. He can make a nice impact at Indiana. The losses aren’t bad ones at all and Indiana has done well to hang onto players.


Additions: P Michael Sleep-Dalton (Arizona State), DT Zach VanValkenburg (Division II Hillside)

Subtractions: None

Currently in the Portal: OG Jacob Newborg, DT Daviyon Nixon, LB Aaron Mends, DB Trey Creamer

Grade: C+ -- VanValkenburg’s addition is a mystery at this point considering he was playing at a lower level, but if he blossoms into a Power Five star he could be key for the Hawkeyes in 2019.

Farrell’s take: Currently losing no one and adding an important positional player like VanValkenbrug is solid for Iowa overall who certainly haven’t been hurt by the portal this cycle.


Additions: QB Josh Jackson (Virginia Tech), WR Sean Savoy (Virginia Tech) LB Keandre Jones (Ohio State), TE Tyler Mabry (Buffalo)

Subtractions: DB Qwantrezz Knight (Kent State)

Currently in the Portal: QB Kasim Hill, P Wade Lees

Grade: A -- Landing a former five-star in Jones is big, but the impact of Jackson and Savoy may be felt more in 2019. The pair had some great connections at Virginia Tech and if they can carry it over to the Terps, they will end up being very big additions.

Farrell’s take: Jackson is the big prize here for the Terps, who need a talented quarterback and having Savoy come along is a nice bonus. Jones was a five-star talent out of high school and has a ton of talent, so if he can put it together it would help the defense in a big way.


Additions: DE Mike Danna (Central Michigan), LS Trey Harper (Duquesne)

Subtractions: OT Nolan Ulizio (Pittsburgh), DT Aubrey Solomon (Tennessee), LB Drew Singleton (Rutgers)

Currently in the Portal: TE Tyrone Wheatley, Jr., DE Reuben Jones

Grade: C -- If Danna can have a major impact it could negate the loss of former five-star Solomon, but losing a player of Solomon’s caliber at a position of need for the Wolverines hurts.

Farrell’s take: Solomon is an exceptional talent and was a huge pickup from the Southeast, so he hurts but watch what Don Brown does with Danna. I think he makes him an impact player.


Additions: None

Subtractions: None

Currently in the Portal: DE Mufi Hunt

Grade: INC -- The Spartans haven’t even officially lost a player yet, an impressive accomplishment considering the current transfer climate in college football.

Farrell’s take: No positive or negative here for Michigan State so essentially no harm no foul.


Additions: WR Randal Grimes (USC), DT Micah Dew-Treadway (Notre Dame)

Subtractions: RB Dominik London (North Dakota), OL Quinn Oseland (San Jose State), OL Jack York (Stephen F. Austin),

Currently in the Portal: RB Jonathan Femi-Cole, DB Rey Estes, DB Jack Leius

Grade: B+ -- The Gophers are losing a little depth at running back but should see their passing game bolstered by the addition of Grimes and the defense will be bolstered by Dew-Treadway.

Farrell’s take: The additional of a receiver and a defensive tackle, both big-time talents out of high school, will help for sure and could help the passing game as well as the run defense. These are two really good pickups.


Additions: DL Darrion Daniels (Oklahoma State)

Subtractions: QB Tristan Gebbia (Oregon State), WR Tyjon Lindsay (Oregon State), LB Avery Roberts (Oregon State)

Currently in the Portal: RB Greg Bell, WR Justin McGriff, LB Guy Thomas

Grade: B- -- Daniels could be a major addition to the Huskers' defense in 2019 if he’s healthy and while losing a number of former top recruits isn’t good for depth, it’s not exactly a crushing blow either.

Farrell’s take: Gebbia, Lindsay and Roberts all have talent but didn’t fit with what Scott Frost wants to do while Daniels is a very good pickup at a position of need. Nebraska lost some big names but aren’t hurting because of it.


Additions: None

Subtractions: WR Charlie Fessler (Richmond)

Currently in the Portal: None

Grade: INC -- The Wildcats have seen little impact from the portal thus far.

Farrell’s take: All good here as expected for a school with such high academic standards.


Additions: QB Justin Fields (Georgia), OL Jonah Jackson (Rutgers)

Subtractions: QB Tate Martell (Miami), LB Keandre Jones (Maryland)

Currently in the Portal: DL Malik Barrow

Grade: A- -- The only school with multiple five-stars on the list, the Buckeyes landed one of the nation’s former top quarterback recruits in Fields and a key man to block for him in Jackson.

Farrell’s take: Fields is a potential home run and Buckeyes fans would take the trade for Martell any day of the week. Jackson was a coveted OL in the portal and is a big win as well while Martell and Jones hadn’t made an impact.


Additions: WR George Campbell (Florida State)

Subtractions: WR Juwan Johnson (Oregon), TE Danny Dalton (Boston College), Alex Gellerstedt (Virginia), DE Torrence Brown (Southern Miss), LB Manny Bowen (Utah), LB Jarvis Miller (UMass), LB Dae'lun Darien (Delaware), DB Isaiah Humphries (Cal), LS Matt Aloni (Long Island)

Currently in the Portal: RB Mark Allen, WR Irvin Charles, WR Brandon Polk, DB Zechariah McPhearson, DB Aaron Monroe, DB Jabari Butler

Grade: D -- Most of the players who left weren’t in line to start and keeping Wade from leaving is a win. But having so much roster turnover can impact depth and the additional of Campbell isn’t enough to make up for the potential loss multiple wide receivers.

Farrell’s take: Yes, some of this has to do with improved recruiting by Penn State in the last couple of years but it’s still an alarming number of players to leave. Many won’t be impact guys elsewhere, but there is some talent leaving.


Additions: LB Ben Holt (Western Kentucky)

Subtractions: WR Benaiah Franklin (Northwestern State)

Currently in the Portal: DL Allen Daniels

Grade: B -- If Holt can replicate his success at Western Kentucky under his old coaching staff, his pick up could be a major addition.

Farrell’s take: Holt could be a star at Purdue and make an immediate impact and overall is a plus for the Boilermakers.


Additions: QB John Langan (Boston College), TE Matt Aliamo (UCLA), LB Drew Singleton (Michigan)

Subtractions: RB Trey Sneed (Fordham), TE Nakia Griffin-Stewart (Pittsburgh), OL Jonah Jackson (Ohio State)

Currently in the Portal: RB Max Anthony, WR Rashad Blunt, DB Jarius Adams

Grade: C+ -- The Scarlett Knights added a few players at positions of need but losing Griffin-Stewart and Jackson to fellow Power Five programs is a tough blow.

Farrell's Take: "Losing Jackson hurts but adding a quarterback at a position of need and Alaimo and Singleton who were heavily recruited out of high school is good for Rutgers."


Additions: None

Subtractions: QB Alex Hornibrook (Florida State)

Currently in the Portal: TE Kyle Penniston, LB Arrington Farrar, DE Keldric Preston

Grade: C- -- Even though Hornibrook was likely on the way out regardless, losing him is a blow to the team’s depth at the position.

Farrell’s take: Incoming freshman Graham Mertz is talented but learning under Hornibrook would have been nice, so losing the lefty quarterback hurts in that respect.