10. DE Scott Patchan, Miami to Colorado State
Miami might need as many options as possible for the defensive front rotation, but Patchan is out of the mix after a decent run as part of a rotation. The 6-6, 255-pounder was able to come up with 62 tackles with 3.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss in his two years, and now he should be a fantastic addition for new head coach Steve Addazio’s D and a Ram pass rush that was a killer last year.
9. RB Jerome Ford, Alabama to Cincinnati
Cincinnati lost 1,265-yard, 14-touchdown starter Michael Warren to the NFL, but it gets back a good veteran in Gerrid Doaks. The senior-to-be ran for 526 yards and five touchdowns, but the offense needs a star.
The 5-11, 212-pound Ford wasn’t quite the normal superstar running back recruit for Alabama, but he would’ve been a star in just about anyone else’s class. His issue was the traffic – Najee Harris and Brian Robinson are back for the Tide, and the program signed on five-star prospects Roydell Williams and Jase McClellan in the latest class.
7. QB Feleipe Franks, Florida to Arkansas
KJ Jefferson got his feet wet for three games in last year’s mess, but he still has four years of eligibility and still could turn out to be the franchise quarterback under new head coach Sam Pittman.
However, Franks and senior Jack Lindsay have to hold off Franks, the former Florida starter who has all the tools and a ton of high-end experience.
Franks had his ups-and-downs with the Gators, but with Kyle Trask and Emory Jones in place, he needed a fresh start. As long as his broken leg is 100% healthy, he could be the veteran difference-maker the program needs to get going again.
8. RB Khalil Herbert, Kansas & Raheem Blackshear, Rutgers to Virginia Tech
Let’s just combine the two as a potentially dangerous 1-2 rushing punch to work behind rising star QB Hendon Hooker.
Herbert is a 5-9, 205-pound speedster who averaged over five yards per carrie with 1,734 yards and 14 scores in his Kansas career. He was off the team four games as he maintained a year of eligibility, and now he joins Blackshear in a lightning and lightning tandem. Herbert is a flash, and so is the Rutgers transfer.
It was hard to get room to do much of anything for the Scarlet Knights, but the 5-9, 192-pound Blackshear is a do-it-all playmaker who should thrive as a receiver as well as a key part of the ground game.
6. S Isaiah Pryor, Ohio State to Notre Dame
Notre Dame has a really, really good team returning in 2020. However, safety is a bit of an issue losing Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott to the NFL. Throw in the loss of CB Troy Pride, and the secondary needs a top new playmaker.
The 6-2, 202-pound Pryor was a big-time get for Ohio State, but he never quite turned into a star in an elite defensive backfield. Just when it looked like it would be his time to become a factor, he remained a backup early last year. It’s not a given that he’ll be another Gilman, but if he’s good, he’ll instantly fill a massive need.
5. QB Jamie Newman, Wake Forest to Georgia
Newman was never going to be in the Heisman race, but he played as well as any quarterback in the country over the first half of the season. He led Wake Forest to a 5-0 start with 14 touchdown passes with close to 300 rushing yards and three scores. Things changed when he got banged up, the schedule got harder, and the receiving corps took a hit.
Even so, he’s a 6-4, 230-pound NFL-looking passer with a great arm, excellent mobility, and the skills to add a different dimension to the Georgia attack missing with Jake Fromm under center.
Newman is hardly a lock for the gig – D’Wan Mathis is going to be a major factor now that he’s okay after having a cyst successfully removed from his brain – but for now, the former Demon Deacon has the inside track to be one of the biggest keys to the SEC season.