20 for 2020 College Football Topics, No. 13: 20 key transfers who should make an instant impact on the 2020 season.
The transfer portal is a huge part of the equation in the new college football football landscape, and it can mean everything if you get the right guy.
No, there doesn’t appear to be a Joe Burrow (Ohio State to LSU), Jalen Hurts (Alabama to Oklahoma) or Justin Fields (Georgia to Ohio State) in this year’s transfer class, but for teams that need to fill a spot right away, or need extra depth, these 20 transfers should make an instant impact.
Does it mean that these 20 are going to be superstars? Hardly.
Most of the time, there’s a reason why these guys are transferring – they’re not as good as the other options on their former teams.
For every Burrow, or Hurts, or Kyler Murray, there’s a Tate Martell or Alex Hornibrook who doesn’t turn into the answer.
There are still plenty of key transfers out there looking for a place to land, and there are several others who’ll be locked into big position battles, but for now, these 20 are eligible right away – add Auburn-to-Kentucky QB Joey Gatewood to this list if all goes well and he’s eligible to go – and should be a big deal.
20. OT Scott Lashley, Alabama to Mississippi State
The Bulldogs don’t have a bad situation at offensive tackle – Greg Eiland and Charles Cross should be fine, and there are enough options to shuffle around the line – but getting a former star recruit with great feet and a 6-7, 307-pound frame for the new offense helps. If he’s able to rise up into a starting role, all of a sudden, the Bulldog starting five that struggled last year should be a plus.
19. WR Velus Jones, USC to Tennessee
Tennessee needs more receiver help with Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway gone. Josh Palmer is back after finishing second on the team with 34 catches, and Brandon Johnson should be a factor after missing most of last season, but this group needs a star.
The 6-0, 190-pound Jones might not be that, but he’ll bring immediate help. The speedster was a great kick returner for USC and he caught 36 career passes for 347 yards and a score. At the very least, he’ll be a deep threat.
18. OG Ryan Johnson, Tennessee to Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets need more size and more experience up front. The line was a disaster for the nation’s fourth-worst offense last season, and in comes the versatile 6-6, 310-pound veteran who could be the instant leader for the front five.
17. QB Nick Starkel, Arkansas to San Jose State
It’s the last stop on the Nick Starkel World Tour, starting his career as a decent starter at Texas A&M before leaving for Arkansas. He struggled in a disastrous season for the Hogs, and now he’s off to San Jose State to try taking over for Josh Love. Don’t dismiss this just because it’s San Jose State – the passing game finished fourth in the nation.
16. RB Brittain Brown, Duke to UCLA
Someone has to replace the production of heart-and-soul RB Joshua Kelley on the Bruin offense. There are other options – second-leading rusher Demetric Felton is back – but Brown adds a good veteran presence to the mix.
Promising as a freshman, he ran for over 700 yards and seven touchdowns, and he served as a solid kick returner. Hurt at times over the last few years for the Blue Devils, now he should be a key part of the rotation.