A wealth of talent has swarmed the college football transfer portal since all players were allowed to enter on Dec. 5. The transfer portal has been an integral part of college football since its inception in 2018 and has changed how college programs build their roster. This 2023 cycle figures to see the most roster turnover yet with NIL, the one-time transfer exception and the bonus covid year all creating good excuses to test the waters. There are nearly 1,500 FBS players in the transfer portal as of Dec. 16.
Since Dec. 5, 247Sports has assigned ratings to over 100 transfers — ratings on a 75 to 100 basis that determine the 247Sports Team Transfer Rankings as well as the Overall Rankings. But in the transfer world, with a lot of information and new intel flying in quickly, it’s always important to double-check your work and that’s what we’ve done today with a revamped, initial Top 25 Transfer Portal Player Rankings for the 2023 cycle . The introduction gave us the opportunity to reconsider a number of players and assign them new ratings, thus affecting the Top 25 rankings. Note that we’ve displayed a long list of players with ratings; beyond the Top 25, those players have not been slotted in any particular order but will still appear in 247Sports’ “top” tab.
How do the rankings work?
The 247Sports transfer rankings team assigns ratings to players on a 75 to 100 ladder, using an updated and proprietary sliding scale. Factors that determine ratings include film, advanced statistics, athletic traits and on-the-ground intel to project for production at the next level, timeline of peak performance, NFL Draft projection and more.
Because of the number of talented players entering each day, this list is fluid and captures a moment in time (current as of the night of Dec. 15). It will change by the end of the weekend.
We begin our rankings with a relatively off-the-radar player who pops on film.
1. Ernest Hausmann, LB, 96 (Committed to Michigan, from Nebraska): Already in the boat for the Wolverines, linebacker Ernest Hausmann played 475 snaps as a true freshman for Nebraska and showed the ability to play in the box and impact the run game but also carry vertical routes against the pass. Hausmann should step in and be a difference-maker for a perennial playoff program with at least two more years of eligibility remaining. Hausmann was a three-star recruit in the 2022 class from Columbus, Nebraska.
2. Denver Harris, CB, 96 (From Texas A&M): A former top-50 prospect in the 2022 class, Harris flashed for Texas A&M this year in limited snaps but also found himself in some trouble off the field. Harris moves around like an elite player with special cover skills and instinctual qualities at the position.
3. Fentrell Cypress, CB, 95 (From Virginia): Cypress has undeniable ball production (14 PBUs in 2022) and is always around the football. He’s got the size to be a complete player and effect the run game as a willing tackler. A number of high-profile suitors have been after Cypress since he entered last week.
4. Devin Leary, QB, 94 (From NC State): Leary was one of college football’s top signal callers in 2021, throwing 35 touchdowns and five interceptions. Leary’s 2022 season was not as good and it ended prematurely with a torn right pec in October. Leary had successful surgery to repair it and is on the mend. How quickly he gets back in the saddle will be a spring storyline for whichever program he chooses. Leary has exciting play-extension skills and throws extremely well on the move. He’s spent much of the last 10 days as QB1 in the portal, then slipped down below Grayson McCall in our mind when McCall entered, but upon further review, we just trust Leary as a passer more.
5. Grayson McCall, QB, 94: (From Coastal Carolina): The Coastal Carolina transfer has been two-time Sun Belt player of the year with special passing and running ability. McCall threw 78 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions in his time at Coastal Carolina and consistently rated as one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Scheme fit will matter a lot for McCall as he moves on from Coastal Carolina and looks for a platform to improve his future NFL Draft stock.
6. Dominic Lovett, WR, 94: (From Missouri): Third in the SEC in receiving yards, Lovett can play inside or outside and has unique separation skills. He had 10 catches for 148 yards in a game against a good South Carolina secondary this year.
7. Jaheim Bell, TE, 94: (Committed to Florida State, from South Carolina): Bell is a morph between running back, tight end and wide receiver with remarkable run after the catch skills and explosive playmaking ability. Bell had 261 rushing yards this year and also caught 25 passes for 231 yards and at times was frustrated with his lack of touches. Expect Florida State coach Mike Norvell and offensive coordinator Alex Atkins to prioritize feeding Bell the rock.
8. Javion Cohen, OL, 93 (From Alabama): Cohen started 25 games the past two seasons for Alabama as an offensive guard. He was also named to the All-Freshman SEC team in 2020. As the top offensive lineman in the portal, expect Cohen to make an immediate impact at his next program.
9. Hudson Card, QB, 93: (From Texas): The Texas quarterback transfer was extremely solid this year when he came in for Quinn Ewers and Card has all the qualities to be a very productive college quarterback. He threw six touchdowns against one interception this year and completed 69.4% of his passes.
10. Dasan McCulloughEDGE, 93 (Committed to Oklahoma, from Indiana): Brent Venables might have his next elite defensive chess piece in McCullough, who’s six-foot-five, 230 pounds and can rush from the edge or drop into coverage. Moves like a wide receiver, McCullough is expected to be deployed all over the defense for an Oklahoma defense that needs retooling. He had four sacks as a true freshman in 2022.
11. Ladarius Henderson, OL, 93 (Committed to Michigan, from Arizona State): The second-ranked offensive lineman in the transfer portal, Henderson will step in at Michigan where the Wolverines are known to develop high draft picks on the offensive line. Henderson has the versatility to play a couple different spots if needed.
12. RaRa Thomas, WR, 92 (From Mississippi State): A productive SEC wide receiver (44 receptions, 626 yards, seven TDs), Thomas has the ability to get behind coverage but also has nice size and strength to pick up yards underneath.
13. Dorian Singer, WR, 92 (From Arizona): No. 1 in the Pac-12 in receiving yards (1,105) and No. 6 in receptions (66) and yards per catch (16.7), Singer is a bona fide stud with smooth route-running and speed to get open.
14. AJ Cornelius, OL, 92 (From Rhode Island): The Rhode Island right tackle was a consistent player at the FCS level, earning First Team All-CAA Football honors in 2022. He’s accumulated offers from schools like Ohio State and Oregon to name a few.
15. Tunmise Adeleye, DL, 92 (From Texas A&M): The former top 100 prospect was at Texas A&M for two years, redshirting in 2021, before entering the transfer portal. He started the first couple games of the season and then only appeared in one more game for the rest of 2022. Adeleye has options like Michigan State, Miami, and Southern Cal to choose from.
16. Eric All, TE, 92 (Committed to Iowa, from Michigan): In 2021 All caught 38 passes for 437 yards and two scores, including the game-winner vs. Penn State. He looked like a future star — only to be sidelined for much of 2022, with his season ending in minimally-invasive spine surgery. We’re betting on All to bounce back in Iowa City as he’s got elite physical traits and toughness at tight end. The Hawkeyes have been known to develop great tight ends and All could certainly be the next and rapport with transfer QB Cade McNamara will help.
17. Dante Cephas, WR, 92 (From Kent State): Former Kent State wide receiver Dante Cephas was one of the stars of MACtion in 2022 and had a game this season where he caught 13 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown. Cephas has size, speed, and the playmaking habits after the catch. Georgia and Colorado are among those in pursuit.
18. Jeremiah Byers, OL, 92 (From UTEP): Byers opted to transfer after a standout season with Miners, posting a 79.4 Pro Football Focus grade on the year. Byers has outstanding ability to block on the move and could be a difference-maker for a Power Five program right away.
19. Collin Schlee, QB, 92 (From Kent State): Another Kent State transfer cracks our initial Top 25 and there’s more where that came from with former head coach off to Colorado to be Deion Sanders’ offensive coordinator. As for Schlee, hhe has exciting tools as a passer, with a loose arm and the ability to improvise. He had solid outings at Oklahoma (11-19, 131 yards), Georgia (14-21/174 1 TD), and Miami Ohio (23-40/306 yds/3 TDs).
20. DJ Uiagalelei, QB, 91 (From Clemson): DJU could have the best physical skillset of any quarterback in the country with his arm strength and battering ram mobility (913 rushing yards in his career). But after early success in 2020 and the first part of 2022, he’s had a lot of trouble taking care of the football and downfield accuracy. DJU must get the confidence back in his arm and processing defenses. A change of scenery and scheme should help the former 5-star regain his form.
21. Chris Marshall, WR, 91 (From Texas A&M): A former five-star in the 2022 class, Marshall has great size and athletic ability as an outside target. He started two games this season for the Aggies before entering the portal. Marshall was also suspended at one point during the season. He should be a coveted wideout with his catch radius and red zone threat.
22. Traeshon Holden, WR, 91 (Committed to Oregon, from Alabama): Holden can make plays on all levels of the field and put up 46 catches for 570 yards and seven touchdowns in two years for the Tide. He should be aa nice replacement for the Oregon receivers that entered the transfer portal.
23. Dillon Wade, OL, 91 (From Tulsa): A 2020 recruit, Wade was very consistent in 2022 as a pass blocker and in the running game. He’s one of the most coveted offensive lineman in the portal with offers from Oklahoma, USC, and Ohio State to name a few.
24. Josiah Stewart, EDGE, 91 (From Coastal Carolina): As a true freshman last season, Stewart played in all 13 games for Coastal Carolina, posting 43 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. This past season, he posted 36 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one pass deflection and one forced fumble.
25. Brennan Armstrong, QB, 91 (From Virginia): A fifth-year senior, Armstrong will transfer schools for his sixth season of eligibility and could get a seventh after the NCAA granted an extra year to all Virginia players. Armstrong had a standout 2021 season, passing for 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He struggled in 2022, throwing seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions. We originally tabbed Armstrong with an 89 rating, but upon further review, a 91 was more appropriate for somebody with his production, despite the alarming 2022 season. Armstrong also has some dual threat capabilities, rushing for over 1,200 yards in his career.
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