- College football reporter.
- Joined ESPN.com in 2008.
- Graduate of Northwestern University.
College football’s first — and most significant — transfer portal window closed last week.
Although the quarterback transfer market wasn’t as exciting as last year’s, the numbers — 2,729 players entered the portal in December this year compared to 1,617 last December — and the names — cornerback Travis Hunter (Jackson State to Colorado), wide receiver Dominic Lovett (Missouri to Georgia), edge Dasan McCullough (Indiana to Oklahoma), running back Carson Steele (Ball State to UCLA) and quarterback Sam Hartman (Wake Forest to Notre Dame) among them — were significant.
The portal is now closed until May 1, so it’s time to evaluate which teams did the best. I spoke to coaches and personnel directors, including at the American Football Coaches Association Convention earlier this month, to assess the biggest portal winners from the early cycle.
Here are eight teams they selected.
No program has generated more buzz for its portal prowess than Florida State, even among coaches outside of the ACC. The portal has become a focal point for the Seminoles, who leaned on several transfers from last winter — defensive end Jared Verse (Albany), wide receiver Johnny Wilson (Arizona State), running back Trey Benson (Oregon) — to record their first 10-win season since 2016.
FSU once again has been active, drawing potential difference-makers from both Group of 5 and Power 5 programs, including some from within the ACC.
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