The transfer portal is a headline-grabbing place in this era of college football, but it's potential impact on the Big Ten West in 2019 looks like it might be somewhat subdued. Some schools, Miami for example, have really reshaped their rosters via the transfer market this offense. Teams in the West have been a little more selective, or chosen to watch from the sidelines entirely.
But there are still a few intriguing moves worth mentioning. Here's a quick recap of the biggest additions and losses for each team in the West. Tomorrow we'll tackle the East.
Biggest Addition: Offensive linemen Richie Petitbon played in 11 games as a backup at Alabama and fits the classic profile of a Power 5 graduate transfer–a former highly-touted recruit who, for whatever reason, never quite found his groove at his original school. When that school is Alabama, where the competition for snaps is as fierce as anywhere thanks to the depth of talent, a Tide transfer could provide as much upside as you'll find. Petition appears to step in and start right away at Illinois. The Illini also landed Georgia transfer tight end Luke Ford but his request for a waiver for immediate eligibility and appeal of that decision were denied.
Biggest Departure: We'll see how big this ends up being but quarterback M.J. Rivers II decided to leave after spring practice. He was the only QB on the roster with starting experience thought it was far from a given he'd win the job in 2019.
Biggest Addition: This is very on-brand. The Hawkeyes' only addition was punter Michael Sleep-Dalton, an Australian who can punt with either foot. He handled punting duties at Arizona State the past two seasons. Iowa returns its own two-year starter in Colten Rastetter. Let the punter competition begin.
Biggest Departure: None of note.
Biggest Addition: Not a lot for the Minnesota which returns more experience than any other team in the league. Former Michigan cornerback Benjamin St-Juste, a 4-star recruit, is a classic low-risk, high-reward addition. He played in 11 games for the Wolverines as a true freshman, mostly on special teams, then missed last year due to injury. He has three years of eligibility remaining.
Biggest Departure: Nothing really to see here.
Biggest Addition: There's a chance the Huskers' addition of defensive tackle Damion Daniels ends up being one of the best in conference. He wasn't a unproven-but-high-upside play; his value was evident at Oklahoma State and so far it looks like it has translated to Lincoln. California wide receiver Kanawai Noa appears to offer some promise, too (https://hailvarsity.com/s/6883/hot-reads-transfer-wr-noa-comes-with-a-bonus-for-the-huskers).
Biggest Departure: Based on potential the transfer of defensive back Cam Jones is of note. The Huskers have the depth to be fine in the secondary now and in the future, but Jones has the ability to be a pretty good player and I'm guessing he will be at SMU. This is one that could sting a little more down the line than it does now even if it doesn't do any real damage to Nebraska.
Biggest Addition: Nothing in the grad transfer market this cycle, but the Wildcats had one of the biggest additions last year with the arrival of former Clemson quarterback Hunter Johnson, Northwestern's presumed starter.
Biggest Departure: None.
Biggest Addition: Purdue is apparently happy where it's at after back-to-back bowl seasons and the best recruiting class in more than a decade arriving on campus.
Biggest Departure: The Boilermakers have had seven players enter the portal this cycle, but none appear to be significant losses for Purdue.
Biggest Addition: Wisconsin, like others in the division, doesn't look like it's going to be a major player in the transfer market which is probably yet another indicator of the stability we all already associate with Badger football.
Biggest Departure: This could be addition by subtraction–Wisconsin fan certainly don't seem too upset about it–but two-year starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook is off to Florida State. He was a divisive figure in Madison, occasionally good enough not to notice and sometimes not good enough to notice. It sets up an offseason battle between Jack Coan (three starts last season) and wunderkind Graham Mertz, a true freshman early enrollee.
Things are a little more interesting in the East where arrivals and departures could impact some of the division's heavyweights. We'll take a look at those tomorrow.
The Grab Bag
- The Husker coaches offered some thoughts on culture during the Big Red Blitz.
- After an improbable ending Saturday night, the probable thing happened in Nebraska’s quick-turnaround game Sunday as the Huskers were eliminated in the Oklahoma City regional.
- Greg Smith caught up with California offensive-line prospect Andres Dewerk following his recent Husker offer.
- Smith also took in Saturday’s Shrine Bowl and offered five thoughts.
Today’s Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.