30. OL Parker Brailsford
Brailsford left Washington in the wake of Kalen DeBoer setting up shop in Tuscaloosa. An Arizona native, Brailsford has developed into one of the nation’s best centers. He’s not the biggest guy in the world. However, he makes up for the lack of bulk with ridiculous quickness, leverage, and football I.Q.
In short, the all-conference player is the exact type of guy you want to build your program around. He understands DeBoer’s culture, and as such would be a very big get for the Crimson Tide as they usher in a new era of football.
Prediction: Brailsford signs with Alabama
UPDATE: Brailsford commits to Alabama
29. QB Malachi Nelson: Boise State
Nelson ended up leaving USC after just one season. The former 5-star prospect was lauded for his combination of athletic ability and arm strength. He entered USC early, and the thought was he’d be the heir apparent to Caleb Williams this upcoming season.
Things didn’t go according to plan. Nelson — who reportedly was a bit more raw than he was expected to be — decided to leave LA for a slower pace. Boise State is a good program when it comes to development. He’ll be afforded the ability to build his skill set without much in the way of pressure or expectation. In a few years, we could be looking back at this as a major steal for the Broncos.
28. QB Maalik Murphy: Duke
Murphy is another Los Angeles native with a gigantic ceiling. The writing was on the wall for Murphy when Texas brought in Arch Manning. Despite being a very talented guy himself, Murphy likely would’ve been squeezed out between Quinn Ewers coming back to school, and Manning waiting in the proverbial wings.
This looks like a perfect fit on the surface. Murphy is a big man at over 6-foot-5 and roughly 240 pounds. He’s nimble when escaping the pocket, though his bread-and-butter comes when throwing the ball downfield. Murphy has elite arm strength, and realistically all he needs are some reps to usher in further growth. He’s another player with the look of a future NFL quarterback with the right amount of seasoning.
27. WR Silas Bolden: Texas
Texas is crushing it in the transfer portal. The latest addition is WR Silas Bolden. He was a fixture in Oregon State’s offense for years. Despite being 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds soaking wet, he’s a big-time threat wherever he’s lined up on the offensive side of the ball.
Quicker than a hiccup, the Beavers utilized Bolden a ton on screens and reverses. He averaged nearly 14 yards per reception last year. While he’s diminutive in stature, there were times when Oregon State targeted him downfield based on Bolden’s elite deepfield speed. You can be sure Steve Sarkisian will utilize the Southern California native in a host of ways.
26. QB DJ Uiagalelei: Florida State
With Jordan Travis moving on, Florida State pounced on the guy they call DJ U. He won’t wow you with elite athleticism or game-breaking speed. However, Uiagalelei is the quintessential guy to run a veteran program. Mike Norvell’s team should yet again be a National Title contender in 2024. Uiagalelei has multiple years of experience both in the ACC and as a starting quarterback. There’s nothing he hasn’t seen at this point in his career.
With an enhanced group of skill players around him, Uiagalelei has a chance to raise his NFL Draft stock considerably with a big year.
25. WR Ja’Corey Brooks: Louisville
The former 5-star prospect out of Miami was looking for a fresh start. He got somewhat lost in the shuffle at Alabama despite showing glimpses of what could be a program-changing talent. Brooks immediately will enter as one of the team’s most talented pass-catching threats. Louisville under Jeff Brohm has a habit of utilizing speedy players quite well.
Brooks might not be a household name. With that said, he has the look of a guy that could explode nationally in 2024. The talent is there…it’s now about taking the opportunity and running with it.
24. QB Kyle McCord: Syracuse
McCord may have unfairly been the target of ridicule during his time in Columbus. Despite achieving a 24:6 TD-to-INT ratio (along with over 3,100 passing yards), those at Ohio State were seemingly displeased with his performance. In search of other opportunities, McCord decided to join an exciting project at Syracuse.
New head coach Fran Brown has already made a huge impact, bringing over a ton of talent to the program from other prominent Power 5 schools via the portal. However, none were as significant as McCord. He could be in line for a monster year in the ACC.
23. LB Tackett Curtis: Wisconsin
Curtis was a big-time recruit out of Louisiana a year ago. He shocked many by spurning Ohio State, Wisconsin, and LSU in favor of USC. He started as a true freshman at times when with the Trojans. In the wake of the defensive staff seeing a rather drastic overhauling, the linebacker left for greener pastures.
Wisconsin pounced when Curtis entered the portal. The preexisting relationship between the player and program certainly paid off here handsomely. This is a massive addition for the Badgers. You’re looking at a player who likely will be a multi-year starter for Wisconsin at a very integral position of need. Curtis is not only fast and aggressive, but also a major hitter.
22. QB Riley Leonard: Notre Dame
A year after Sam Hartman came to the Fighting Irish via the transfer portal, Notre Dame waded back into the waters and came up with Duke QB Riley Leonard. Leonard is a very good athlete for his size. Unlike Hartman, he’s the type of guy you can utilize as a true dual-threat option.
While he has battled with various injuries throughout his career, Leonard is a talented player with an NFL ceiling. In 2022, Leonard completed over 63 percent of his passes. He also finished with 20 TD throws to only 6 INTs. Notre Dame is hoping he can get back to that standing after an injury-riddled 2023 year.
21. RB Trevor Etienne: Georgia
Etienne made the move from Florida to rival Georgia in what was widely considered to be one of the worst-kept secrets in the portal. With Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards headed for the NFL, Etienne has a chance to come in right away and be a focal point of the offense alongside up-and-coming rusher Roderick Robinson.
We could see a thunder-lightning duo here, with Etienne playing the role of the speedster. The Louisiana native racked up 8 TDs and 753 yards on the ground last year for the Gators. He also caught 21 passes for good measure.
20. DB Andrew Mukuba: Texas
Mukuba is another potential piece to the 2024 championship puzzle for Sarkisian and the Longhorns. As we saw in the CFP Semifinal loss to Washington, the secondary was not where it needed to be. Enter Mukuba — a multi-year starter at Clemson.
Fast and intuitive, he brings with him a world of experience to a unit in desperate need of some. Mukuba should immediately be a day 1 starter at one of the safety spots. After immigrating to Texas from Africa as a boy, he’ll also get to head home to Austin (the city where he grew up upon moving to the States).
19. DB Dezz Ricks: Texas A&M
A former 5-star prospect coming out of high school, Ricks decided to leave Alabama in the wake of the coaching change. He featured in only two games for Alabama this past year. Not much can be taken from that small of a sample size.
However, based on his reputation from high school, teams were lining up around the block hoping to get a meeting with him. Ultimately, reports indicate that Texas A&M won out in the end. Ricks likely will enter a situation where playing time is available immediately.
18. DB Kamari Ramsey: USC
This one stings for UCLA fans., After redshirting as a true freshman, Ramsey entered the year as one of the Bruins’ starting safeties. From the first game, you saw a player with terrific instincts. Ramsey was never out of position. On the contrary, despite being a young player, he often worked to get his teammates in the proper spots on the field. Rarely did you see him ever miss a tackle or an assignment.
Ramsey hits like a Mack truck and was without a doubt the best player on UCLA’s defense not named Laiatu Latu. Naturally, Ramsey decided to head across town to USC along with DC D’Anton Lynn. A future NFL player assuming he stays healthy, Ramsey immediately should walk into a starting spot for the Trojans.
17. QB Dante Moore: Oregon
Despite all of the promise, Moore never quite got comfortable during his brief time in Westwood. There were several reasons for this — some of which frankly were not Moore’s fault. Chip Kelly did not put him in a position to succeed. We’re talking about playcalling and also the inability to field an offensive line capable of blocking off the edge. Moore’s confidence was essentially shattered after a rough stretch where he threw six picks in three games.
At the same time, Moore struggled with making progressions. Often he threw into coverage. Moore also lacked the quickness and athleticism to get out of the pocket and scramble upfield for positive yardage. You can make an argument his skill set will be better accentuated in Oregon with a better offensive line. There’s still a very talented player here with the ability to throw the football from many arm angles. Moore can sit behind Dillon Gabriel for a year presumably before taking over in 2025.
16. DL Princely Umanmielen: Ole Miss
Texas native Princely Umanmielen was one of the most hotly pursued defensive linemen in the portal. After registering a combined 8.0 sacks his first three years in college, Umanmielen emerged as a real force this past year for Florida in his senior year. This included notching 7.0 sacks and 11.5 TFL.
When he entered the portal, naturally a host of schools came calling. Being able to add a veteran SEC defensive end with a track record of production is a golden opportunity for any team to improve. Ultimately, Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss won out in the end. With the SEC West appearing to be wide open in 2024, this move could tilt the power of balance over to Kiffin’s squad.
15. DL Jamaree Caldwell: Oregon
The Ducks didn’t just add to their QB room. The defensive roster was bolstered as well with former four-star lineman Jamaree Caldwell. While Oregon boasts a ton of young, promising players on their defensive line, Caldwell will add some experience to a group that saw some departures in the interior. Caldwell’s presence should help the rest of an athletic defense, as he’s capable of wrecking games after recording 6.5 sacks last season.
14. QB Cam Ward: Miami
In one of the more shocking moves of the offseason, Cam Ward took to social media to officially announce his transfer to Miami. Ward spent the last two seasons at Washington State, where he lit the Pac-12 on fire leading one of the nation’s top passing attacks. The news came as a bit of a surprise, as Ward originally announced his intention to join the NFL Draft.
It’s unclear if Ward was shaken by his initial draft grade, or if it was merely a negotiation tactic to lure a higher NIL deal with the Hurricanes. Either way, Miami is adding a premier passer in college football and one who could certainly lead the ‘Canes to their first ACC regular season title ever.
13. RB Quinshon Judkins: Ohio State
The SEC’s top rusher from two seasons ago will be sporting new threads in 2024. Quinshon Judkins — who finished second in rushing yards in the conference last year — is set to join TreVeyon Henderson in the Ohio State backfield to form one of the most formidable running back duos we’ve seen in quite some time.
Defenses hoping they could catch a breather when Henderson is taken off the field will be in for a rude awakening. Judkins rushed for 2,725 yards and 31 touchdowns over two seasons at Ole Miss. While his overall numbers might go down in ’24, his efficiency and overall effectiveness could be even greater in this Ohio State offense.
12. DL Nic Scourton: Texas A&M
With the Aggies losing several big names to the portal, it’s only fitting they add one of the most productive pass rushers themselves. Former Purdue standout Nic Scourton announced his transfer to Texas A&M, giving the Aggies a fearsome defender who led the Big Ten in sacks last season. Scourton collected 10.0 sacks as a sophomore and added 15.0 tackles for loss. Adding a player like Scourton not only gives Texas A&M a highly productive player, but his presence alone should also bolster the rest of the Aggies’ defensive line.
11. DB Nyland Green: Purdue
Despite being a very highly-touted defensive back out of high school, Green never really gained his proverbial footing in Athens. He was pretty much buried on the depth chart as a reserve option and never someone who seriously was in line to become a starter. Being a former 5-star prospect, there was no shortage of programs wanting to come in and revive his career.
Ultimately, Green announced his commitment to Purdue — joining fellow former Bulldog CJ Madden with the Boilermakers. While he mostly made a name for himself last year as a special teams ace, Green will get a chance to start at corner for Purdue and flash his ability as a defensive playmaker.
10. OL Cayden Green: Missouri
One of the best offensive linemen in the portal is headed to Mizzou. Cayden Green’s inclusion in the transfer portal came as a bit of a shock to those in Norman. Green — a former four-star recruit — appeared in all 11 games and started five at guard for the Sooners last season. By year-end, it was clear to anybody watching that Green was Oklahoma’s best offensive lineman despite his inexperience.
Green entered the portal in early December — much to the surprise of Oklahoma’s coaching staff. It seems like this was a move to get closer to home. Green went to high school in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and will fill an instant need on the Tigers’ offensive line.
9. DL Walter Nolen: Ole Miss
ESPN’s No. 1 recruit from the 2022 class shocked everyone when he decided to enter the portal. Nolen spent his first two seasons with the Aggies, collecting 5 sacks over 21 games. Ole Miss will be adding a physical force of nature, who could certainly develop into one of the nation’s biggest difference-makers on the defensive side of the field.
Though, Nolen’s departure from A&M has been nothing short of tumultuous — to say the least. Nolen cryptically took to social media to “warn” prospective Texas A&M recruits about signing there. He didn’t elaborate any further, but it’s definitely a situation worth monitoring as it pertains to A&M recruiting moving forward.
8. DB AJ Harris: Penn State
Georgia defender AJ Harris was one of the more intriguing names in the portal. This is a player who was considered by some outlets to be a five-star defensive back with elite skills. Harris is a natural corner with strong one-on-one skills. He has the speed and agility to keep up with receivers on the perimeter and doesn’t lack in requisite size at 6-foot-1.
Joining the Nittany Lions is a strong move for both sides. For one, Penn State is set to lose three corners to the NFL (including potential first-round pick Kalen King). Harris is presumably stepping into a starting role for a program that has churned out several pro defensive backs (most recently, Pittsburgh Steeler CB Joey Porter Jr.).
7. QB Aidan Chiles: Michigan State
When former Oregon State HC Jonathan Smith announced he’d be leaving Corvallis for East Lansing, it was all but certain freshman QB Aidan Chiles would also be on the move. Chiles, a former four-star recruit from California, operated as DJ Uiagalelei’s backup for the 2023 campaign.
In limited usage, we saw Chiles complete 24-of-35 pass attempts for 4 TDs — plus 79 rushing yards for 3 TDs. He’s an exceptional dual-threat talent who has decided to follow Smith to Michigan State. Chiles is expected to instantly take over as the starting quarterback for the Spartans in 2024.
6. DB Jabbar Muhammad
Jabbar Muhammad will return next season as one of the top corners in all of College Football. He’s not overly big at 5’10” and roughly 185 pounds. However, the former Oklahoma State/Washington corner is a terrific athlete. We saw him make play after play in the Pac-12 this year. In the CFP Semifinal versus Texas, the Longhorns got an up close and personal look at how good he truly is. Muhammad has good ball skills, and impressive fluidity when he flips his hips and tracks receivers in coverage.
Muhammad reportedly will be visiting Oregon, Alabama, and Texas. While Alabama has the benefit of hiring Muhammad’s coach from this past season, Oregon’s deep NIL pockets along with the chance at featuring in the College Football Playoffs could be tough to beat. We see this coming down to Oregon and Texas — with the Ducks winning out.
5. WR Evan Stewart: Oregon
Another former five-star is on the move this offseason. Evan Stewart — ranked as the No. 1 WR in the ’22 class according to 247sports — is joining Oregon after spending his first two seasons at Texas A&M. Stewart saw a dip in production as a sophomore as a result of injury. As a freshman, Stewart led the Aggies in receiving yards (649) and received All-SEC honors. The Ducks felt some pressure to bolster its skill group as it entered Big Ten play. Stewart will join a receiving corps that already includes former Troy WR Tez Johnson — who finished with 1,182 receiving yards (fourth in Pac-12) and 10 TDs last season.
4. WR Isaiah Bond: Texas
Alabama’s leader in receptions last season will be headed to Texas to catch passes from Quinn Ewers in ’24. Bond is among the top players who left the Crimson Tide after Nick Saban’s departure. Reportedly, Bond spurned any contact from Alabama’s new coaching staff as he pondered his decision to join a new school.
The Longhorns made it a point to bolster this receiving corps this offseason. Along with Bond and the aforementioned Bolden, Texas landed former Houston WR Matthew Golden in addition to five-star recruit Ryan Wingo. Last season, Bond finished the year with 48 receptions, 668 yards, and four touchdowns. We expect all of those numbers to rise to be a member of a more pass-friendly offense in ’24.
3. OL Kadyn Proctor: Iowa
A late entry to the portal, Kadyn Proctor is now regarded as the top offensive lineman on the move this offseason. Proctor announced his decision to enter the portal via his Instagram account. The former five-star recruit started every game for the Crimson Tide last season at left tackle. Though, he does possess the athletic ability to line up at multiple spots across the offensive line.
Though nothing is official just yet, the Des Moines product is rumored to land in Iowa. Before signing with Alabama in ’22, Proctor originally committed to Iowa and was set to join his hometown program. Adding a player of Proctor’s caliber would go a long way in bolstering an Iowa offense that has struggled mightily in recent years.
Prediction: Proctor signs with Iowa
UPDATE: Proctor commits to Iowa
2. QB Dillon Gabriel: Oregon
Gabriel is the type of player who can instantly transform an offense. The left-handed gunslinger has no issue pushing the ball downfield and is always looking for the big play. Gabriel has had four 3,000-yard seasons during his career and will be looking for a fifth in 2024. Gabriel essentially took a road trip through the country.
He started at Central Florida, made his way to Oklahoma, and is now set to finish his career on the West Coast. With Oregon needing a replacement for Bo Nix, it was a clear match for Gabriel to land in Eugene. Expect plenty of points and chunk plays for the Ducks’ offense this year.
1. DB Caleb Downs
The No. 1 player in the transfer portal is Caleb Downs, who announced his decision to enter the portal following Nick Saban’s departure. Downs was the No. 8 high school recruit in 2023 (second-highest-rated defender), and will be an early favorite for the Jim Thorpe Award no matter where he lands.
Downs possesses elite instincts which allowed him to earn a starting safety role as a freshman for a stacked Crimson Tide defense. The unanimous five-star is rumored to land at Georgia, as the Bulldogs recently hired former Bama defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson. However, Ohio State cannot be overlooked as a potential landing spot for the star defensive back.
Prediction: Downs signs with Georgia
UPDATE: Downs commits to Ohio State