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Transfer Portal Report: McCoy, Steele make high-profile moves

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team


Chris Steele
Chris Steele (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

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.

With spring practice wrapped up at programs across the country transfer news is flying fast and furious. In a weekly feature at Rivals.com we look at the comings and goings as well as the biggest news surrounding uncommitted transfers currently in the portal.

RELATED: Ten of the craziest recruitments in Rivals history


THIS WEEK’S TOP ADDITIONS  

Bru McCoy
Bru McCoy (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

  Bru McCoy: Texas to USC  

McCoy’s saga has been well-documented, as he originally enrolled at USC, only to transfer to Texas after a month. After participating in spring practice with the Longhorns and returning home for the post-semester break, he elected to stay in California and recently announced he will be returning to USC. It seems highly unlikely at this point that McCoy will be eligible to play in 2019, but even if he has to redshirt this year landing a five-star player of his caliber, no matter how it happened, is a big plus for the Trojans.

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Chris Steele: Florida to Oregon to USC  

Another case that has made national headlines over the past few months, Steele, who committed to UCLA and USC as a high school prospect before eventually signing with Florida, is now headed back to his native California. Steele enrolled with the Gators in January and went through spring practice before leaving the school and announcing his intention to transfer last month. He quickly committed to Oregon and seemed bound for Eugene, only to back off that commitment this week after a scholarship opened up at USC. Another one of the top players in the state of California that slipped out of state, getting Steele to return home is a nice late addition, even if he has to sit out the 2019 season.

George Campbell: Florida State to Penn State to West Virginia

The third former five-star prospect to find a new home of the past week, Campbell has also had his share of transfer drama this offseason. After initially leaving Florida State and planning on enrolling at Penn State for graduate school, a wrench was thrown into Campbell’s plans when he wasn’t admitted by the Nittany Lions. His time back on the market didn’t last long, though, as he committed to West Virginia this week. He joins a number of transfers in Morgantown, most notably former Rivals100 and Oklahoma quarterback Austin Kendall. Campbell’s career has been rather unremarkable to date, and it has been derailed by injuries, but perhaps he can form a connection with Kendall in his final season of college ball in 2019.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH WEST VIRGINIA FANS AT WVSPORTS.COM

Colson Yankoff: Washington to UCLA

A four-star in the class of 2018, Yankoff originally committed to Oregon as an underclassmen when Mark Helfrich, a Chip Kelly disciple, was the head coach of the Ducks. Following Helfrich’s dismissal, Yankoff went back on the market and eventually landed at Washington. But he never saw the field in Seattle and entered the portal after falling down the depth chart in the spring. Now he heads to UCLA, where he should be a perfect fit in Kelly’s offense. Assuming he has to sit out 2019, Yankoff will have three years of eligibility remaining.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH UCLA FANS AT BRUINBLITZ.COM

Isaiah Zuber: Kansas State to Mississippi State   

A three-star member of the class of 2015, Zuber was the Wildcats' leader in receptions over the past two seasons, catching 51 passes in 2017 and 52 in 2018. The change in coaching staff opened the door for Zuber to leave for his final year of eligibility. Now he’s headed to the SEC, where he will hope to make an impact for the Bulldogs in 2019.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH MISSISSIPPI STATE FANS AT BULLDOGBLITZ.COM

NOW IN THE PORTAL   

CJ Smith - Nebraska  

A four-star in the class of 2018, Smith was famously Scott Frost’s first commitment after he took the job at his alma mater in Lincoln. Despite taking an official visit to Oklahoma during his senior year, Smith seemed bound for UCF to follow in his brother Tre’Quan Smith’s footsteps. But once the entire UCF staff followed Frost to Nebraska, so did Smith. During his time with the Huskers, Smith appeared in two games as a true freshman before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He was in the mix for playing time in 2019, making his decision to transfer all the more surprising. He will have at least three years of eligibility remaining at his next school, even if he’s forced to sit out 2019.

Potential landing spots: UCF. The Knights make the most sense, considering his family ties to the program, but the school has already been very active on the transfer market and might not have the roster space. Either way, expect Smith to end up closer to his Florida home.

Oliver Martin - Michigan  

A Rivals250 wide receiver in the class of 2017, Martin was the prospect that made Jim Harbaugh so happy upon his commitment that Harbaugh jumped into a swimming pool, khakis and all. The viral clip was probably among the most notable moments of Martin’s Michigan career as he redshirted his freshman season and then played sparingly in 2018, catching 11 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Martin mulled over the decision to stay with the Wolverines several times over the past six months, but he finally entered the portal this week.

Potential landing spots: Iowa. Martin is an Iowa native and he is looking to transfer close to home, so this one seems like a no-brainer.

  Johnathan Giles - LSU   

This will be the second transfer of Giles' career, as he originally started at Texas Tech before heading to LSU. Giles was very productive with the Red Raiders, especially in 2016, when he had 69 catches for 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns. After sitting out 2017 due to transfer rules, big things were expected of Giles in 2018, but he managed just 10 catches for 59 yards on the season. Giles is graduating this summer and will be eligible to play in 2019.

Potential landing spots: Houston and Oregon. Giles is a Texas native, and he would seem to be an ideal fit in Houston’s offense. Oregon was strongly in the mix to land Giles during his last transfer and it has a pretty unproven receiving corps.

  Kenny Robinson - West Virginia   

A three-star in the class of 2017, Robinson chose the Mountaineers over Iowa State, Pittsburgh and others. After seeing the field right away as a freshman in 2017 he blossomed into a star in 2018, starting 10 games and finishing second on the team in tackles with 77. Robinson was a First Team All Big-12 defensive player and was also second in the league in interceptions last season with four. Considering his productivity he should be a very coveted name on the transfer market. He will have two years of eligibility remaining at his next school, whether or not he’s forced to sit out 2019.

Potential landing spots: Pittsburgh and Iowa State. Could Robinson return to his hometown of Pittsburgh to play for the Panthers? It’s not out of the question. Nor is a transfer to Iowa State, which pushed hard to flip him late in the recruiting process.

  Derrek Pitts - West Virginia  

A four-star in the class of 2017, PItts landed at West Virginia after originally committing to Penn State. His time in Morgantown was off to a good start and it looked like he was headed for a potential breakout season in 2019 before announcing this week he would transfer. In his two years with the Mountaineers Pitts saw playing time right away as a backup before starting two games last season. He will have two years of eligibility remaining at his next school, whether or not he’s forced to sit out 2019.

Potential landing spots: Houston and Penn State. Pitts was once a Nittany Lion commit, so that could be an option, or he could rejoin his former head coach in Texas.


NEWS AND NOTES  

It was a good week in the portal for USC, as the Trojans not only landed former five-stars McCoy and Steele, but learned that quarterback Matt Fink and wide receiver Velus Jones would also be returning the team. Both players had entered the portal this offseason and saw plenty of interest from other programs. In fact, Fink seemingly committed to Illinois. After his father said he was headed to play for the Illini, Fink refuted the report and now that makes sense, considering Fink’s decision to head back to USC.

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Western Kentucky also had a big week in the portal, landing a pair of former Georgia high school prospects in Jaden Hunter and Malik Staples. Hunter, a former Rivals250 prospect, comes to the Hilltoppers from Georgia, where he played sparingly in his two years on campus. Staples comes from Louisville, where he played both running back and linebacker during his three years with the Cardinals.