DCTF’s top 25 college football transfers of 2021

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Months after the NCAA allowed one penalty-free transfer, college football has changed dramatically. We had an inkling there would be an explosion of movement, but the landscape is set to change dramatically. 

247Sports identifies more than 80 transfers set to join Texas FBS colleges in the fall, including 17 at Texas State alone. We’re parsing through that group to find the most notable transfers of the 2021 offseason. 

For our purposes, we are looking into which players we believe have a chance to be real, impact players at their new schools in either the short or long term. We’ve taken into account both their ability at their previous stop, some recruiting factors and also how much they are needed at their new destination. Position impact certainly plays a part – there are four potential starting quarterbacks in the top 12 – but every player was considered. 

Just for clarification, this list only takes into account transfers to FBS schools. We are also only ranking transfers between four-year schools – junior college transfers were not considered for our purposes. 

Previous School: Oregon

Those who have seen the 2021 Preseason All-Texas College Team will find this no surprise. Shough started seven games for the Pac-12 Champion Ducks in 2020, completing 63.5 percent of passes for 1,559 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. If he can just replicate his performance in Lubbock in a more quarterback-friendly offense with outstanding skill talent, he could change everything for Matt Wells and the Red Raiders. 

2. DL Siaki Ika, Baylor

Previous School: LSU

Those in the know are raving about what the powerful transfer nose tackle can accomplish in Dave Aranda’s defense. The former top-150 recruit is a physical specimen with his strength and motor at 350 pounds. In the spring game, he created absolute havoc, and many around the program think he will be an All-Big 12 pick by year’s end. Defensive line was the one weak spot of Baylor’s defense in 2020 – expect those questions to be answered in 2021. 

3. QB Tanner Mordecai, SMU

Previous School: Oklahoma

Transfers from Oklahoma’s quarterback factory haven’t fared especially well, but expect the one-time state finalist at Hewitt Midway to buck the trend. The four-star recruit learned under Lincoln Riley’s watchful eye for three years befoe losing the starting job to the Heisman favorite. Lincoln’s brother, SMU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley, is the perfect coach to continue his development. It doesn’t hurt that Mordecai steps into perhaps the best room of skill talent in Texas. 

4. OT Obinna Eze, TCU

Previous School: Memphis

There were a number of strong offensive lineman transfers in the state, but Eze stands at the top. The Nashville native is in his fifth year of college football and has started 31 games at left tackle for one of the most explosive offenses in football. He’s tasked with protecting Max Duggan, a task that the Horned Frogs have struggled to accomplish for the past two seasons. 

5. DB Marquis Waters, Texas Tech

Previous School: Duke

The Red Raiders hit the transfer portal hard, but Waters ranks among the most heralded of the bunch. The Floridian started 35 games at Duke and posted 212 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three interceptions and 16 passes defended in his three years as a full-time starter. Waters will step right in as an all-purpose leader on the defense. He also competed in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash for the Blue Devils – his speed is legit. 

6. OT Jahmir Johnson, Tennessee

Previous School: Tennessee

Johnson’s final game for the Vols came against Texas A&M. Clearly, the Aggies liked what they saw as they jumped all over Johnson when he entered the transfer portal. Before that, he started 17 games for Tennessee over three seasons, splitting time at left tackle and left guard. With four starters off to the NFL, Johnson was a significant addition to add some experience to a line that hopes to compete for it all in 2021. 

7. TE Grant Calcaterra, SMU

Previous School: Oklahoma

Listen, it’s fair to ask what exactly to expect from Calcaterra since he hasn’t consistently played football in nearly three years. But when he played, Calcaterra had a case for one of the best tight ends in the sport. The senior caught 41 passes for 637 yards and nine touchdowns in 33 games as a Sooner and was set to be perhaps the best tight end OU’s produced before dealing with concussions. In a pass-happy offense, Calcaterra has a chance to achieve big things. 

8. DT Latrell Bankston, Houston

Previous School: Iowa State

Few schools know their defensive linemen quite like Iowa State, and Bankston was set to be a game-changer on the interior line before taking his talents to H-Town. Bankston earned Honorable Mention Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors after posting 3.5 sacks from the interior. He should provide a critical push on Houston’s line to free up a talented group of edge rushers. 

9. DB T.J. Carter, TCU

Previous School: Memphis

Gary Patterson double-dipped into the well at Memphis and pulled out an all-conference performer on the back end. Carter posted 176 tackles, six tackles for loss, 30 pass breakups and seven interceptions in a standout career for the Tigers. Now, he’ll help replace second round pick Trevon Moehrig at safety. 

10. QB Jace Ruder, North Texas

Previous School: North Carolina

Once upon a time, Ruder was the top overall player in the state of Kansas and a blue-chip quarterback headed to play for Larry Fedora at North Carolina. Then, Heisman contender Sam Howell entered the fray and the rest is history. Now, Ruder has a great opportunity to rewrite his story for QB guru Seth Littrell at North Texas. 

11. LB Isaac Slade-Matautia, SMU

Previous School: Oregon

Slade-Matauta ranked among Oregon’s best defensive players over the past two seasons and turned down bigger opportunities to join the rising power in Dallas. The Mustangs lost sixth-year linebacker Richard McBryde to graduation, and Slade-Matauta should slide nicely into the role as a dynamic playmaker. 

12. QB Luke McCaffrey, Rice

Previous School: Nebraska

It’s not every day a one-time starting quarterback from the Big Ten heads to Conference USA, but Rice picked up a big addition after the youngest McCaffrey transferred from Nebraska to Louisville to Rice over the offseason. McCaffrey threw one touchdown and six interceptions for the Cornhuskers as a starter, but should be a strong fit for Marques Tuiasosopo’s offense in Houston. 

13. OT TJ Storment, Texas Tech

Previous School: TCU

It’s not common that you see starters transfer between two conference programs, but Storment fills a critical role for the Red Raiders on the offensive line. Tech’s starting tackles both ranked in the bottom half of starting Big 12 tackles last season per Pro Football Focus’ blocking grades, while Storment ranks as the No. 4 returner. Cementing one tackle spot allows space for some shuffling that will help the unit improve dramatically in 2021. 

14. LB Ray Thornton, Texas

Previous School: LSU

Texas is switching to a new defensive system under new defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski and Coach K turned to the transfer wire to add some dynamic edge rushers. Thornton developed primarily as a rush linebacker in LSU’s 3-4 system before the Tigers made a change in 2020. In Kwiatkowski’s system, the 6-foot-3, 242-pound Killeen specimen should thrive. 

15. RB Tre Siggers, SMU

Previous School: North Texas

Over the past two seasons, Siggers has ranked among the most consistent running backs in the state. The Duncanville product posted 1,311 yards and seven touchdowns on just 237 touches in the past two years. Siggers’ 5-foot-8, 200-pound frame makes him a workhorse-caliber contributor in the AAC. After a year where everything was thrust on Ulysses Bentley IV’s shoulders, adding Siggers to a fully healthy TJ McDaniel completely transforms the running back room. 

16. OL Jacob Gall, Baylor

Previous School: Buffalo

Gall ranked as the top-rated left guard in America per Pro Football Focus while playing in Lance Leipold’s wide zone offensive scheme at Buffalo last season. Now, he’ll step in as a critical cog on the new-look Baylor line. His 13 starts will be a welcome addition to a Baylor rushing offense that ranked bottom-five nationally. While he played guard in the MAC, expect Gall to get some look at center in Jeff Grimes’ wide-zone offense – finding someone who can make the calls is a major advantage. 

17. WR Kaylon Geiger, Texas Tech

Previous School: Troy

The two-time All-Sun Belt receiver is making his return to the Lone Star State after posting 141 catches, 1,625 yards and eight touchdowns over the past two seasons. The 5-foot-10 slot receiver ranked among the best overall transfer receivers from the Group of Five ranks and should provide an important complement to an outside receiver room that Sonny Cumbie compared to a “basketball team.” 

18. WR KeSean Carter, Houston

Previous School: Texas Tech

Getting quarterback Clayton Tune some more weapons was a top priority, especially after losing Marquez Stevenson to the NFL Draft. Carter has been a consistent contributor at inside receiver in the Red Raiders’ crowded skill position room, finishing with 831 yards and seven scores in three seasons. Only one returning Houston receiver posted more than 300 yards in 2020; Carter will help. 

19. CB Jahari Rogers, SMU

Previous School: Florida

Rogers ranked as a legit blue-chip and one of the best players in Texas when he left the state for the Florida Gators. After forcing his way onto the field in the last three games of the year, Rogers decided to come home. It might be a year or two before we see the full effect of his presence on SMU’s defense, but Rogers is the kind of special talent that launched SMU to its first 10-win season in decades back in 2019. 

20. RB Keilan Robinson, Texas

Previous School: Alabama

Bijan Robinson is a tank who should compete for All-America honors. Robinson is the perfect complement – a former top-250 recruit forged in the fires of Alabama’s running back factory with a speedy 5-foot-9 frame. Robinson had every offer in the world out of high school and will help ease the burden on Bijan in Steve Sarkisian’s offense. Remember, no one has seen Keilan closer than Sark. When he went to Texas, Keilan was an early call. 

21. WR Tommy Bush, North Texas

Previous School: Georgia

It’s not often that you see physical marvels like Bush appear on the market. With a 6-foot-5 frame and blazing speed, Bush fielded offers from some of the biggest schools in the country before settling on Georgia. Instead of getting sidetracked by chances to play at Tennessee or Virginia, he picked the chance to replace Jaelon Darden and star in Seth Littrell’s offense. We think it will pay off. 

22. OL Liam Dobson, Texas State

Previous School: Maine

You may know Dobson better as the magnificent cover subject of Maine’s media guide sporting the No. 69 while jumping across the page with a bare midriff. That said, he’s a heck of a football player too. He’s consistently earned all-conference nods and was projected as an All-American by Hero Sports before transferring after the season was cancelled. The 340-pound Canadian will be a welcome addition to the Bobcats’ revamped offensive line. 

23. DB Clifford Chattman, UTSA

Previous School: Texas A&M

Jeff Traylor jumped on Chattman early when he entered the transfer portal and never wavered. The grad transfer boasts plus physicals with his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame. Chattman started multiple games for the Aggies in 2019 at nickelback and posted 35 tackles, six pass breakups and a pick in 25 career games. He will have a chance to compete for reps at defensive back in different packages. 

24. OL Kody Russey, Houston

Previous School: Louisiana Tech

The Burleson product started 46 games in four seasons at center for the Bulldogs, including the first 10-win season in program history. Russey was an all-conference first team pick as a senior before deciding to play his last granted year of eligibility elsewhere. He’s a welcome addition to a Houston offensive line trying to find five consistent contributors to give Clayton Tune a clean pocket. 

25. DB D.C. Williams, Texas State

Previous School: Vanderbilt

The way Zac Spavital used Jarron Morris as a do-everything defensive back in 2020 was astounding – and unsustainable. While the Bobcats have 17 transfers and three JUCO additions to shore up a handful of positions, Williams could be one of the leaders of the bunch. The Floridian started five games at Wisconsin as a freshman before a stopping at Independence Community College and developing into a top-five JUCO recruit. Even though he didn’t turn into a star after five starts at Vandy, it’s hard to boast more pedigree than starting for Derek Mason and Jim Leonhard. 



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