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Transfer Tracker: Northern Illinois TE Mitchell Brinkman enters the portal

Mitchell Brinkman
Mitchell Brinkman

The Transfer Portal has changed the landscape of college football. So at Rivals we introduce to you the Transfer Tracker, where we analyze players entering the portal and rate them on what kind of impact they could make at their new home.

Next up in the tracker is Northern Illinois tight end Mitchell Brinkman.

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

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

TRANSFER RANKINGS: Quarterback | Running back | Tight End


Brinkman had quite a bit of Power Five interest as a underclassman and took visits to Iowa, Iowa State and several others. But when it came time for offers he had mostly FCS options before getting a chance from Northern Illinois.

At Northern Illinois

Brinkman's first few years on campus weren't exactly productive as he caught just 10 total passes from 2016-18 despite playing 758 total snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. His breakout year in the passing game came in 2019, when he caught 34 passes for 445 yards and three touchdowns while playing a career high 535 snaps. He elected to enter the transfer portal for his final season of eligibility and will be eligible to play in 2020 at his next school.


It's tough to project where he might land but in a year where quality tight end transfers are hard to come by, he should have his share of options. Iowa and Iowa State are both intriguing options because he's from the state, as is Temple, where former NIU coach Rod Carey is now the Owls head coach.


"It's not an amazing tight end crop in the portal this year so Brinkman is very intriguing because of his production on the field. He’s shown not only good hands and the ability to be a safety valve for his quarterbacks but he’s a willing blocker too. He’s not elite but he’s very solid. He’s improved a ton since coming out of high school." -- National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell

Impact Rating: 6.2 out of 10


The Transfer Portal continues to change the way college football programs recruit and mange their rosters so we here at continue to evolve our coverage. Each time a player of note enters the portal, we will examine their potential impact on the college football landscape and assign an impact rating, both when they enter the portal and when they choose a destination. The scale is from 1-10 and the description below explains the scoring scale.

1.1-3.9 — Not a big impact expected, likely a non-starter and down the bench depth player.

4.1- 6.0 — A solid impact can be expected in the right scenario and has the potential to battle for a starting job.

7.1-8.9. — A high impact player who won’t change a program but will certainly be a very good contributor and starter.

9.1- 9.9 — A very high impact player who should start the moment he steps on the field and will change the outlook of a program immediately.

10 — A franchise transfer who has a chance to be an All American and one of the elite players in college football.