College football transfer portal tracker: Notable names on the move

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Circle Dec. 5 on your calendar, college football fans.

That is the day college football’s new transfer portal window will officially open. Despite new NCAA transfer windows being adopted and put into place, many players have already announced they will be leaving their current school and looking for a new home in 2023.

Last season saw the likes of Caleb Williams, Michael Penix Jr., Bo Nix and Jahmyr Gibbs enter the transfer portal. Williams is now considered the favorite to take home this year’s Heisman Trophy in his first year at USC, while Penix Jr., Nix and Gibbs all enjoyed standout years at their new homes as well.

Who will be next year’s standout transfers?

We’re tracking the biggest names to enter the college football transfer portal.

Dec. 1: Former Michigan QB Cade McNamara to Iowa

2022 stats: 56% completion percentage, 180 passing yards, one passing touchdown, one interception.

Why it matters: McNamara helped lead Michigan to a Big Ten championship and its first-ever appearance in the College Football Playoff in 2021. He started all 14 games for the Wolverines that season, throwing for 2,470 yards and 15 touchdowns, with just four interceptions.

He began the 2022 campaign in a QB battle with J.J. McCarthy. McNamara ultimately lost the QB competition and then suffered a season-ending leg injury in the Wolverines’ 59-0 win over UConn in Week 3.

Iowa had one of the worst offenses in college football in 2022, ranking 123rd out of 131 FBS teams with just 17.4 points per game. The Hawkeyes will now hope to turn that around with McNamara.

Dec. 1: Oregon State QB Chance Nolan

2022 stats (five games): 59.4% completion percentage, 939 passing yards, seven touchdowns, eight interceptions

Why it matters: The No. 15 Beavers are coming off a 9-3 regular season record, their best mark in a decade. Even more impressively, they finished the regular season 6-1 behind backup quarterback Ben Gulbranson after Nolan exited Oregon State’s Oct. 1 loss to Utah with a neck injury. Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith uses a run-heavy attack, but Gulbranson acquitted himself well when Oregon State needed to pass, throwing for 1,290 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions.

Nolan threw for 2,677 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2021, but took a step back in 2022 before his injury, throwing four interceptions in a close 20-17 loss to now-No. 4 USC in September.

No. 21 Oregon State stuns No. 9 Oregon

RJ Young reacts to the Oregon State Beavers stunning the Oregon Ducks 38-34.

Dec. 1: Virginia QB Brennan Armstrong

2022 stats: 54.7% completion percentage, 2210 passing yards, seven touchdowns, 12 interceptions

Why it matters: To understand Armstrong’s appeal, you have to go back to his 2021 statistics under former Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Robert Anae. That year, Armstrong had a 65.2% completion percentage, 4,449 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and was a Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist. Virginia’s all-time passing yards leader could be staying in the ACC — Syracuse, where Anae now coaches, would be a natural landing place for Armstrong depending on what current Orange quarterback Garrett Shrader decides with his future.

Dec. 1 other notables: Nebraska LB Ernest Hausmann, Nebraska WR Decoldest Crawford, Kentucky RB Kavosiey Smoke, Arizona State DL Anthonie Cooper

Nov. 30: Alabama WR Traeshon Holden

2022 stats: 25 catches, 331 yards, six touchdowns.

Why it matters: Unlike past years, Alabama did not have a clear-cut go-to wide receiver on the roster this year. Holden was one of several pass-catchers to play an important role in the Crimson Tide’s offense this season. He ranked third among wide receivers with 331 yards and second in touchdown catches with six.

The former four-star prospect from Florida saw his production increase greatly over the past two seasons. He will be a coveted target for teams across the country this offseason.

Nov. 30: Oklahoma WR Theo Wease

2022 stats: 19 catches, 378 receiving yards, four touchdowns.

Why it matters: Wease is the latest Oklahoma wide receiver to enter the transfer portal, following the same path as Mario Williams (USC) and Jadon Haselwood (Arkansas). All three were mega recruits when they arrived on campus, as Wease was a former five-star prospect out of Allen, Texas. He leaves Oklahoma having recorded 64 catches for 1,044 yards and 10 touchdowns over three seasons.

Wease enters the portal as a graduate transfer and will have two years of playing eligibility left. 

Oklahoma QB Dillion Gabriel hits Theo Wease

Oklahoma QB Dillion Gabriel hits Theo Wease

Oklahoma retakes the lead after Dillion Gabriel hits Theo Wease for a 61-yard touchdown against Texas Tech.

Nov. 30: Western Michigan RB Sean Tyler

2022 stats: 209 carries, 1,027 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns, 12 catches, 111 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown.

Why it matters: Tyler was one of the most productive rushers in college football throughout the past two seasons. He leaves Western Michigan having totaled 2,830 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground. He topped the 1,000-yard mark in back-to-back seasons in 2021 and 2022. He is also a solid receiver out of the backfield, racking up 338 yards and three receiving touchdowns during his time at WMU.

Nov. 29: Texas QB Hudson Card

2022 stats: 68.4% completion percentage, 928 passing yards, six passing touchdowns, one interception.

Why it matters: Card was a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school, ranked as the No. 59 prospect overall in the 2020 class and the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback, per He redshirted as a true freshman and then played behind Casey Thompson in 2021, appearing in eight games and making two starts under center.

Card lost the Longhorns’ QB battle with Quinn Ewers this past offseason but filled in admirably when Ewers was hurt. He played well against Alabama in Texas’ 20-19 Week 2 loss, and enjoyed his best game of the season against West Virginia on Oct. 1, completing 21 of 27 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-20 win.

Whoever lands Card is getting a talented quarterback that has plenty of big-game experience.

Texas’ Hudson Card connects with Xavier Worthy

Texas' Hudson Card connects with Xavier Worthy

Hudson Card connects with Xavier Worthy for a 10-yard touchdown to give the Texas Longhorns a 7-0 lead over the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Nov. 29: Indiana QB Connor Bazelak

2022 stats: 62.2% completion percentage, 2,312 passing yards, 13 passing touchdowns.

Why it matters: Bazelak is moving on to his third school in three years. The former four-star recruit spent his first three years at Missouri, where he was the team’s starter in 2020 and 2021. He transferred to Indiana before the 2022 season and had a solid season for the Hoosiers, throwing for 2,312 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Bazelak is a talented QB with three years of starting experience. He has had a productive career, throwing for more than 7,000 yards and 36 touchdowns since 2019.

Indiana QB Connor Bazelak finds D.J. Matthews Jr.

Indiana QB Connor Bazelak finds D.J. Matthews Jr.

Indiana took a 10-7 lead over Illinois after Connor Bazelak connected with D.J. Matthews Jr. on a 52-yard touchdown pass.

Nov. 27: Georgia Tech QB Jeff Sims

2022 stats: 58.5% completion percentage, 1,115 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, three interceptions, 302 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown.

Why it matters: Sims was a three-year starter at Georgia Tech who has thrown for more than 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in his collegiate career. He can also get it done with his legs, totaling more than 1,000 rushing yards and 11 scores on the ground.

Sims started the first seven games of the 2022 campaign under center for the Yellowjackets but suffered a foot injury in a 16-9 loss to Virginia on Oct. 20. 

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