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Nebraska Recruiting: NCAA Highlights Risks After Making Transfer Data More Transparent

April 27, 2022

Recruiting never stops and it’s easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.


Since the start of the transfer portal, there has been a lot of back and forth over how good its impact is on the sport. Combined with the one-time transfer rule it gives student-athletes unprecedented control over how their careers play out. That is either great or troubling depending on which side of the coin you are on.

It has certainly made coaches’ lives more complicated. Roster management has never more been more difficult. The portal has forever changed how college football programs build their rosters. Things are not all bad since the portal is a double-edged sword. Teams will lose players. They also have the ability to rebuild a roster quickly as we saw the Huskers do this offseason.

One thing we haven’t had a lot of when it comes to the portal is transparency. There isn’t a consistent way for anyone outside of coaches to know who is in the portal. The data around the portal has been guarded by the NCAA since the start. That changed recently as the NCAA released a trove of data in an effort to be more transparent.

The NCAA released statistics from 2020 and 2021 in various sortable infographics. The data paints a picture that the portal comes with risk. Almost half the players who transfer do not find a new school to attend. That’s according to the official numbers.

Let’s narrow the number down to FBS football. The data shows that 59% of scholarship players transferred to another school on scholarship. A little less than 10% of football players that transferred went to a new school without a scholarship. The most active months for athletes hitting the portal are December and January. A whopping 38% of all transfers in 2020 and 2021 happened in those months.

A big reason why I find this data interesting has to do with the position Nebraska finds itself in right now. The team is tight on scholarships available for new players. The Huskers could use help at many positions with interior defensive line being at the top of the list. To add new players the team needs some attrition.

We are seeing that it’s not a slam dunk that players entering the portal will find a new home. It’s more likely that they’ll have to leave Power Five or drop down a level to remain on scholarship. That’s a tough risk to weigh for a college athlete. We always thought that recruiting isn’t the same for players the second time around. The numbers show that.

For every Ochaun Mathis or Casey Thompson there are more examples the other way. We hear so much about the high-profile portal entrants. We forget about how many players do not fit into that category. More public data could help slow down the number of players portaling. That and more time away from the 2021 recruiting class could be a combination that helps. Remember that many players in that class committed to schools without official visits.

Recruit Watch

>> Nebraska priority 2023 defensive line target Riley Van Poppel was offered by Michigan.

>> Omaha North 2025 defensive lineman took a visit to Minnesota recently.

>> Omaha Westside defensive back Caleb Benning picked up an offer from Iowa State.

ICYMI

>> Padding the Stats looks at Nicklin Hames’ role, Keonilei Akana’s departure and John Cook’s puzzle this week.

>> Max Anderson’s big night led the Huskers past Kansas State on Tuesday night.

>> Linebacker JoJo Domann is the subject of today’s Path to the Draft by Jacob Padilla.

>> The Hail Varsity staff is back to answer your questions in the mailbag including NIL’s impact, women’s basketball and much more.

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