The No. 1 overall selection in each of the past three NFL Drafts — LSU’s Joe Burrow, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield — transferred into the program from which they were drafted. Transfers have become as much of a part of college football as National Signing Day. The upcoming college football season is no exception. Several players who began their collegiate careers elsewhere are in a position to elevate their draft stock. Let’s take a look at who could do it.
Georgia QB Jamie Newman
Newman ran a lot of read-options and designed quarterbacks runs before transferring from Wake Forest. It is a non-sustainable way to play in the NFL. To his credit, he has a strong arm and is able to rip passes in the short and intermediate game. There are a lot of concerns in the way that he processes information. He does not throw with ideal touch and his downfield accuracy is spotty, largely due to his inconsistent follow through.
The tool box is stuffed, but the tools need some polish. If former NFL offensive coordinator Todd Monken gives him a long leash, he could really take off this season. USC quarterback transfer J.T. Daniels, the former No. 6 ranked player in the nation by 247Sports, is waiting in the wings.
Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance are all regarded as the top eligible quarterback prospects and it is difficult to see that changing. Newman could make a case for late Day 1 selection or Day 2. The North Carolina native checked in at No. 56 in the first CBS Sports 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings.
Miami edge rusher Quincy Roche
Temple had one of the most talented front sevens in all of college football last season. The most talented, Roche, decided to play his final season in Coral Gables. The Maryland native is coming off a season in which he recorded 13 sacks. He was expected to start opposite Gregory Rousseau, but Rousseau opted out. Instead, he will start opposite UCLA transfer Jaelan Phillips, who was rated the nation’s top overall high school prospect in 2017. Roche is explosive around the snap and does a great job bending around the edge on speed rushes. His listed 235 pounds is much smaller than the average NFL edge rusher and scouts want to see him finish plays rather than giving up when the play moves from his side.
Roche, like Rousseau, is expected to be under heavy consideration for the first round. He was rated No. 29 overall in the initial CBS Sports prospect rankings.
LSU linebacker Jabril Cox
LSU lost a lot of production from the linebacker unit as Patrick Queen, K’Lavon Chaisson and Jacob Phillips all left for the NFL. Cox was already on the radar of NFL scouts before he transferred from North Dakota State. By playing in Baton Rouge, he has the opportunity to show that he can compete against elite competition. The linebacker is known to overrun plays and must become a better tackler. However, he possesses the athleticism to raise his profile significantly with a solid season.
Penn State’s Micah Parsons is the cream of the crop at the linebacker position, but Cox could enter the equation as a first-round pick. He was rated No. 82 overall in the CBS Sports prospect rankings.
Texas wide receiver Tarik Black
The Connecticut native has an athletic build and is quick, smooth out of his breaks. Black fights for the ball downfield. Michigan could not provide him with a stable quarterback situation last fall, which ultimately hampered a handful of wide receivers in Ann Arbor. With Sam Ehlinger under center in Austin, Black should be in a better situation.
The wide receiver occasionally lets the ball get too far into his body and is not the most explosive after the catch. He finished with 25 receptions for 323 yards and a touchdown for the Wolverines in 2019. If Black can prove to be more reliable this season, he could join the conversation as a Tier Two receiver.
Other prospects to watch
Fields is a transfer but he did not join the Buckeyes this offseason. He transferred from Georgia in 2019, and the Big Ten is tentatively not scheduled to play football this fall. Ohio State running back Trey Sermon transferred to Columbus from Oklahoma this year. The Big XII is scheduled to play and, again, the Big Ten is not. The conference’s decision impacted Sermon as much as anyone. Sermon would have shared carries with Master Teague. There were already unanswered questions surrounding his mysterious disappearance of carries in Norman.
Tight end Tony Poljan transferred to Virginia from Central Michigan shortly after the Mid-American Conference announced its plans to cancel football season. He will have an opportunity to showcase his talents in the ACC while his former teammates watch. Indiana offensive tackle Coy Cronk made a rare in-conference transfer to Iowa. Like Sermon and Fields, Cronk will not be suiting up this fall.
North Texas wide receiver Rico Bussey Jr. transferred to Hawaii, which is known for its aggressive passing attack. Nebraska wide receiver J.D. Spielman transferred to TCU. He has been an intriguing pass catcher for the Cornhuskers. His decision to leave came as a bit of a surprise.