Transfer Tracker: Texas A&M DB Leon O'Neal enters the portal
The Transfer Portal has changed the landscape of college football. So at Rivals we bring 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.
AS A RECRUIT
One of the top defensive backs in the country, O'Neal's recruitment saw plenty of drama as he committed to Texas A&M early in the process, only to back off after the Aggies fired Kevin Sumlin. But Jimbo Fisher and his staff held off charges from Clemson, Georgia, Oklahom and Alabama to land his commitment again a few days before National Signing Day 2018.
AT TEXAS A&M
O'Neal played mostly as a reserve as a freshman in 2018, recording 11 total tackles and one interception while playing 103 snaps.
He stepped into the starting lineup in 2019 while playing both strong safety and free safety. On the season, O'Neal started 10 total games, but struggled at times, especially with tackling. He finished the year with 35 total tackles, but missed 22 others and his total defensive grade on Pro Football Focus was 42 out of a possible 100.
Even so, O'Neal was expected to be back in the mix to start again in 2020, so his decision to transfer is very surprising.
POTENTIAL LANDING SPOTS
O'Neal has always been known for his big personality, including his willingness to take shots at opponents on Twitter. That's why his decision to transfer abruptly is so surprising. It's tough to see him ending up at Clemson or Alabama, but perhaps a reunion with Sumlin at Arizona could be in the cards.
“O’Neal was highly rated coming out of high school for his size, length and ball skills. The big question was in regards to his speed. He has shown the ability to play on the Power Five stage and he’s a very valuable addition as a transfer.” – National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell
Impact Rating: 8.2 out of 10
The Transfer Portal continues to change the way college football programs recruit and mange their rosters so we here at Rivals.com 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.
1.1-4.0 — 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.
6.1-9.0. — 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.