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ACC Football: Ranking the Transfer Classes for 2022

Mike Norvell, Florida State Seminoles Football

For the second straight offseason, Florida State head coach Mike Norvell has been very active in the transfer portal in an effort to improve the Seminoles' roster

The immediate eligibility rules and transfer portal have significantly changed how all 131 FBS college football teams build their roster, and several ACC teams were active in adding players in an effort to catch up with Clemson, Wake Forest and NC State in the Atlantic, while Pittsburgh and Miami both sought players to fortify their place as the early front-runners in the Coastal Division. With four impact additions at receiver, along with help for both lines of scrimmage, Florida State ranks as the ACC's top transfer class for '22. Miami, Pitt, Louisville, Georgia Tech and Virginia headline the next tier of the teams in best hauls from the transfer portal in the ACC.

How do the transfer classes for the 2022 college football season rank in the ACC? Athlon Sports has ranked all 14 ACC teams by the biggest impact of its transfers for this upcoming year:

ACC Football: Ranking the Transfer Classes for 2022

1. Florida State
Key Additions: RB Trey Benson; WR Winston Wright; WR Mycah Pittman; WR Johnny Wilson; WR Deuce Spann; OL Kayden Lyles; OL Bless Harris; DL Jared Verse; LB Tatum Bethune; CB Greedy Vance

Key Losses: QB Chubba Purdy; RB Khalan Laborn; WR Bryan Robinson; TE Carter Boatwright; OL Ira Henry III; OL Dontae Lucas; DL Tru Thompson; DL Marcus Cushnie; LB Jordan Eubanks; LB Jaleel McRae; CB Caleb Blake

Mike Norvell was active in the portal for the second offseason in a row, and the Seminoles landed several impact players to bolster a program that seems to be trending up going into ’22. Four transfers add much-needed playmaking ability at receiver, while Lyles and Harris fortify an improving offensive line. Verse is being counted on to make an impact similar to the one Keir Thomas and Jermaine Johnson II did in the trenches last fall for Florida State’s defense.

Related: Ranking College Football's Rosters for 2022

2. Miami
Key Additions:
RB Henry Parrish; WR Frank Ladson; OL Logan Sagapolu; DL Antonio Moultrie; DL Jake Lichtenstein; CB Daryl Porter Jr.

Key Losses: WR Mark Pope; WR Dee Wiggins; TE Larry Hodges; OL Corey Gaynor; DL Quentin Williams; DL Nesta Jade Silvera; LB Bradley Jennings Jr.; S Gurvan Hall

The Hurricanes should be near the top of the Coastal Division in ’22, and the transfer haul for coach Mario Cristobal only added to hopes of an appearance in the ACC title game. Parrish (553 yards at Ole Miss in ’21) and Ladson add playmakers for quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, and Sagapolu – a former three-star recruit from Oregon – has the talent and familiarity with the staff to win a job up front. Porter arrives in Coral Gables after a solid first full year as a starter at West Virginia, recording 46 tackles and six pass breakups in 13 games. Moultrie recorded 62 tackles (7.5 for a loss) at UAB last season.

3. Pittsburgh
Key Additions:
QB Kedon Slovis; WR Konata Mumpfield; LB Shayne Simon

Key Losses: RB A.J. Davis; RB Todd Sibley; WR Shocky Jacques-Louis; DL Naquan Brown; DL Noah Palmer; LB Cam Bright; LB Wendell Davis; CB Hunter Sellers

All three of the Panthers’ incoming transfers could be high-level impact players in ’22. Slovis is slated to battle Nick Patti and Davis Beville to replace Kenny Pickett at quarterback, and Mumpfield (63 catches at Akron in ’21) adds another threat alongside Jordan Addison at receiver. Slovis was up-and-down the last two seasons at USC but threw for 30 touchdowns and 3,502 yards as a freshman in ’19. Simon missed ’21 due to injury at Notre Dame but recorded 14 tackles the previous year.

4. Louisville
Key Additions:
RB Tiyon Evans; WR Dee Wiggins; WR Tyler Hudson; LB Momo Sanogo; DB Jalen Alexander; DB Jayden Williams; S M.J. Griffin

Key Losses: RB Aidan Robbins; RB Hassan Hall; WR Jordan Watkins; WR Justin Marshall; DL Nick Okeke; DL Ja’Darien Boykin; LB Zay Peterson; CB Greedy Vance; DB Bralyn Oliver: DB Kani Walker

The Cardinals suffered some losses through the portal, but coach Scott Satterfield offset those departures with a solid class of transfers going into a crucial ’22 campaign. Evans ran for 525 yards at Tennessee last fall, with Wiggins and Hudson poised to step into key roles at receiver following the loss of Watkins and Marshall. Sanogo should ease the loss of C.J. Avery at linebacker, while Alexander, Williams and Griffin provide reinforcements after the pass defense ranked ninth in the ACC in pass efficiency defense.

Related: Way-Too-Early College Football Top 25 for 2022

5. Georgia Tech
Key Additions: QB Zach Gibson; RB Hassan Hall; TE Luke Benson; OL Paul Tchio; OL Pierce Quick; S Khari Gee; DB Ahmari Harvey

Key Losses: QB Jordan Yates; RB Jamious Griffin; RB Jahmyr Gibbs; WR Adonicas Sanders; DL Michael Lockhart; DL Jordan Domineck; DL Jaquon Griffin; DL Jared Ivey; S Wesley Walker

The losses outweigh the additions for the Yellow Jackets going into a make-or-break ’22 season for coach Geoff Collins. Gibbs was the team’s best weapon on offense, and Domineck, Ivey and Walker were expected to start this fall. Gibson will push Jeff Sims for the starting quarterback job, while Tchio and Quick add competition to a shaky offensive line.

6. Virginia
Key Additions:
WR Devin Chandler; OL John Paul Flores; OL Mac Hollensteiner; DL Kameron Butler; DL Jack Camper; DL Paul Akere; DL Andres Fox

Key Losses: QB Jacob Rodriguez; RB Wayne Tauluapapa; OL Victor Oluwatimi; OL Bobby Haskins; OL Ryan Swoboda; OL Joseph Bissinger; DL Jordan Redmond; DL Nusi Malani; LB West Weeks; LB Noah Taylor; CB Josh Hayes

Virginia’s line of scrimmage was decimated by departures on both sides of the ball, so it’s no surprise new coach Tony Elliott added six transfers (four on defense and two on offense) to fortify those positions. The departures of Oluwatimi, Haskins, Swoboda and Taylor are significant.

7. Virginia Tech
Key Additions:
QB Jason Brown; QB Grant Wells; WR Jadan Blue; WR Stephen Gosnell

Key Losses: QB Braxton Burmeister; QB Knox Kadum; RB Tahj Gary; WR Tayvion Robinson; OL Derrell Bailey; DL Robert Wooten

Virginia Tech’s quarterback room was already a question mark before Burmeister transferred, and the additions of Brown and Wells give new coach Brent Pry two experienced starters to compete for the job this offseason. Blue caught 169 passes in four years at Temple and could be the Hokies’ No. 1 receiver with Tayvion Robinson transferring to Kentucky and Tre Turner opting for the NFL.

Related: Early ACC Predictions for 2022

8. Syracuse
Key Additions:
QB Dan Villari; RB Juwaun Price; WR C.J. Hayes; DB Alijah Clark; DB Bralyn Oliver; DB Isaiah Johnson

Key Losses: QB Tommy DeVito; RB Jarveon Howard; WR Taj Harris; WR Sharod Johnson; TE Landon Morris; TE Luke Benson; DL Curtis Harper; DL Latarie Kinsler; LB Geoff Cantin-Arku; DB Adrian Cole; DB Ben Labrosse; DB Chase Atkinson

It’s a mixed bag of results in the portal for coach Dino Babers. DeVito lost the starting quarterback job to Garrett Shrader, but his transfer impacts the depth at the position. Villari – a Michigan transfer – was brought in to fill that void. Price and Hayes help an offense losing a couple of skill players to the portal. Although Harris played in only three games in ’21, it’s still a significant loss as he paced Syracuse’s offense in receiving yards in ’20. Cantin-Arku recorded 43 stops last fall. Clark, Oliver and Johnson boost a secondary that already returns all five starters.

9. North Carolina
Key Additions:
OL Corey Gaynor; OL Spencer Rolland; LB Noah Taylor

Key Losses: RB Josh Henderson; WR Beau Corrales; WR Khafre Brown; WR Stephen Gosnell; WR Emery Simmons; DL Kristian Varner; DL Clyde Pinder; LB Tyrone Hopper; LB Eugene Asante; DB Trey Morrison

Although the Tar Heels lost a chunk of roster depth to the portal, coach Mack Brown made up for those departures by securing a couple of impact transfers. Gaynor and Rolland reinforce an offensive line that returns only one starter in ’22. Taylor could be one of North Carolina’s top defenders after registering 16.5 tackles for a loss over the last two seasons at Virginia.

10. NC State
Key Additions:
WR Darryl Jones; P Shane McDonough

Key Losses: QB Aaron McLaughlin; DL Ibrahim Kante; DL Terrell Dawkins; DB Khalid Martin

McLaughlin was a four-star prospect coming out of high school and was slated to push Ben Finley for the backup quarterback spot this fall. Kante and Dawkins were rotational pieces along the defensive front. Jones’ arrival (40 catches at Maryland over the last three years) is key with Emeka Emezie departing. McDonough was a needed pickup with Trenton Gill off to the NFL. He averaged 41.3 yards per punt at Towson last year.

Related: Early 2022 ACC QB Preview and Rankings

11. Wake Forest
Key Additions:
TE Jaeger Bull; DL Kobie Turner

Key Losses: RB Christian Beal-Smith; RB Ahmani Marshall; DL James Ash; LB D.J. Taylor; DB Tyriq Hardimon; DB Kenneth Dicks

Beal-Smith left after leading the team in rushing last year, but none of the departed players on defense were slated to be starters in ’22. Bull should provide depth at tight end, and the addition of Turner is key for a line losing three key players.

12. Boston College
Key Additions:
WR Dino Tomlin; DL Regen Terry

Key Losses: WR Ethon Williams; WR Kobay White; WR Jehlani Galloway; WR CJ Lewis; LB Joe Sparacio; LB Hugh Davis; S Shawn Asbury II; S Deon Jones; S Jahmin Muse; K Aaron Boumerhi

Jeff Hafley’s program lost a handful of players to the portal, but none were likely to start next fall. Tomlin (the son of Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin) caught three passes in his career at Maryland. Terry did not record a tackle in two years at Arizona.

13. Clemson
Key Additions:
QB Hunter Johnson

Key Losses: QB Taisun Phommachanh; RB Lyn-J Dixon; RB Michel Dukes; WR Frank Ladson; WR Ajou Ajou; TE Jaelyn Lay; OL Paul Tchio; DL Darnell Jefferies; LB Kane Patterson; S Ray Thornton; S Joseph Charleston

The Tigers don’t dip into the portal often under coach Dabo Swinney, so it’s no surprise the program has been relatively quiet in the 2022 transfer haul. Johnson returns to Clemson after spending three seasons at Northwestern and is expected to work as the No. 3 quarterback.

Related: College Football's Top Impact Freshmen for 2022

14. Duke
Key Additions:
LS Evan Deckers

Key Losses: QB Gunnar Holmberg; WR Jarett Garner; WR Jake Bobo; DL Gary Smith; DL Zamari Ellis; CB Jeremiah Lewis; S Jalen Alexander; S Nate Thompson; S Lummie Young

New coach Mike Elko already had a hefty task in rebuilding a Duke program that went 5-18 over the last two years and the heavy losses to the portal going into ’22 aren’t going to help matters. 

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