The immediate eligibility rules and transfer portal have significantly changed how all 131 FBS college football teams build their roster, and that's certainly the case in the Big 12 as Oklahoma looks to reload under new coach Brent Venables, while Texas aims to add players in an effort to take a big step forward in coach Steve Sarkisian's second year. Kansas and Kansas State each brought in solid classes from the portal, while Oklahoma State and Iowa State have combined for just three additions going into spring practice.
How do the transfer classes for the 2022 college football season rank in the Big 12? Athlon Sports has ranked all 10 Big 12 teams by the biggest impact of its transfers for this upcoming year:
Big 12 Football: Ranking the Transfer Classes for 2022
Key Additions: QB Dillon Gabriel; TE Daniel Parker; OL Tyler Guyton; OL McKade Mettauer; DL Jeffery Johnson; DL Jonah La’ulu; LB T.D. Roof; CB CJ Coldon; DB Kani Walker; DB Trey Morrison
Key Losses: QB Spencer Rattler; QB Caleb Williams; WR Mario Williams; WR Jadon Haselwood; TE Austin Stogner; LB Jamal Morris; CB Latrell McCutchin; S Pat Fields
New coach Brent Venables and his staff regrouped nicely after losing Rattler and Williams to the portal. Gabriel (UCF) worked under new Oklahoma coordinator Jeff Lebby in ’19, so the transition and fit this fall should be seamless. The defensive front and secondary were hit by losses, so the addition of Johnson and La’ulu up front, along with three defensive backs, is a big boost to Venables’ hopes of turning this unit into one of the best in the Big 12.
Key Additions: QB Quinn Ewers; WR Isaiah Neyor; TE Jahleel Billingsley; CB Ryan Watts
Key Losses: QB Casey Thompson; WR Joshua Moore; TE Jared Wiley; LB Ayodele Ayeoye; LB Terrence Cooks; S B.J. Foster; S Tyler Owens; S Chris Adimora; P Ryan Bujcevski
Texas added two impact playmakers in the passing game in Neyor (Wyoming) and Billingsley (Alabama), but all of the attention in Austin will be on Ewers. The former five-star recruit has all of the tools to be one of the Big 12’s top quarterbacks in ’22. How fast can Sarkisian get him to that level? Watts (Ohio State) adds competition in a secondary slated to lose three starters.
Key Additions: RB Ky Thomas; RB Sevion Morrison; OL Nolan Gorcyca; DL Lonnie Phelps; LB Eriq Gilyard; CB Kalon Gervin; S Craig Young
Key Losses: QB Miles Kendrick; RB Amauri Pesek-Hickson; WR Jordan Brown; WR Jamahl Horne; DE Steven Parker; LB Alonso Person; LB James Wright
This transfer class will immediately help coach Lance Leipold’s quest to get Kansas more competitive in the Big 12. Thomas led Minnesota with 824 rushing yards last season, while Morrison ranked as a four-star recruit in the 2020 signing class at Nebraska. Phelps, Gilyard, Gervin and Young are all impact additions to a defense that allowed 42.2 points a game in ’21.
4. Kansas State
Key Additions: QB Adrian Martinez; LB Will Honas; LB Branden Jennings; DB Josh Hayes; S Shawn Robinson
Key Losses: RB Clyde Price; RB Joe Ervin; RB Jacardia Wright; WR Tyrone Howell; DL Tyrone Taleni; DB Justin Gardner; DB Aamaris Brown; DB Wayne Jones
A fresh start in Manhattan should help Martinez close out his career on a high note after spending the last four years in Lincoln. The senior should replace Skylar Thompson under center, giving the Wildcats a dynamic backfield with Deuce Vaughn. Robinson – a former QB at TCU turned defensive back at Missouri – should compete for snaps at two vacant safety spots. Jennings brings upside to Kansas State after ranking as a four-star prospect out of high school and recording 23 stops in his debut at Maryland last fall.
Related: Early Big 12 Predictions for 2022
Key Additions: RB Trelon Smith; RB Emani Bailey; WR Curtis Raymond III; TE Jared Wiley; OL Alan Ali; OL Robby Rochester; DL Lwal Uguak; LB Johnny Hodges; LB Terrence Cooks; S Mark Perry; DB Ish Burdine
Key Losses: QB Matthew Downing; RB Zach Evans; RB Ahmonte Watkins; WR Mikel Barkley; OL Tyler Guyton; DL Patrick Jenkins; DL Earl Barquet; DL Ochaun Mathis; DL Khari Coleman; DB Da'Veawn Armstead
New coach Sonny Dykes reeled in a couple of playmakers at running back (Smith and Bailey) to offset the loss of Evans. Ali started 39 games at SMU and should push for a starting spot on a line returning three starters. Hodges recorded 50 tackles in nine games at Navy last fall, and the additions of Perry and Burdine add depth to a secondary with a few holes to plug this offseason.
Key Additions: DL Jaxon Player
Key Losses: QB Jacob Zeno; WR RJ Sneed
The Bears have been quiet in the transfer market this offseason, but Player adds to a defense already slated to have one of the Big 12’s top lines next fall. The former Tulsa lineman accumulated 32 tackles for a loss over the last four years with the Golden Hurricane.
7. Texas Tech
Key Additions: WR Brady Boyd; WR Jordan Brown; OL Michael Shanahan; OL Monroe Mills; OL Cade Briggs; DL Robert Wooten; LB Dimitri Moore; LB Jacob Rodriguez; S Tyler Owens
Key Losses: QB Henry Colombi; QB Maverick McIvor; DL Devin Drew; DL Nelson Mbanasor
New coach Joey McGuire’s portal strategy has (so far) differed from his predecessor (Matt Wells), as the Red Raiders weren’t as active in the transfer market for '22. Wooten joined the team prior to fall practice after recording three tackles in his debut at Virginia Tech in ’20. Shanahan, Briggs and Mills add to a line losing three starters. The most intriguing pickup could be Moore. He led Vanderbilt in tackles in ’19, transferred to FCS Missouri State for the ’21 campaign, and decided to use one more year of eligibility in Lubbock.
8. West Virginia
Key Additions: RB Lyn-J Dixon; RB Sy'Veon Wilkerson; TE Brian Polendey; DL Zeiqui Lawton; CB Marcis Floyd
Key Losses: QB Jarret Doege; RB Avarius Sparrow; WR Isaiah Esdale; WR Winston Wright; WR Sean Ryan; WR Sam Brown; TE Charles Finley; TE TJ Banks; OL Parker Moorer; LB Josh Chandler-Semedo; LB VanDarius Cowan; CB Daryl Porter; CB Jackie Matthews; S Kerry Martin
Both sides of the ball were hit hard by attrition. Doege, Wright and Ryan were all major contributors on offense, while Chandler-Semedo, Porter and Matthews were all projected starters on defense. The arrival of Dixon is crucial with Leddie Brown off to the NFL. With the departure of Doege and a young quarterback room in place for ’22, an addition of a signal-caller wouldn’t be a surprise this spring for the Mountaineers.
9. Iowa State
Key Additions: DL MJ Anderson; LB Colby Reeder
Key Losses: WR Joseph Scates; WR Ezeriah Anderson; WR Tarique Milton; OL Joey Ramos; DL Corey Suttle; LB Dae’Shawn Davis; LB Aric Horne; LB Ar’Quel Smith; S Isheem Young; DB Kym-Mani King; DB Virdel Edwards; S Jaquan Amos
Anderson and Reeder will help the Cyclones fill a couple of voids on a defense that returns only three starters next year. However, the list of departures was significant. Milton and Scates combined for 23 receptions last fall, and Young and King were both potential starters in the secondary for ’22.
10. Oklahoma State
Key Additions: DL Solomon Wright
Key Losses: QB Shane Illingworth; RB Dezmon Jackson; OL Cade Bennett; OL Hunter Anthony; OL Monroe Mills; OL Tyrese Williams; DL Jayden Jernigan; CB Jarrick Bernard-Converse; DB Tanner McCalister
The loss of Jernigan, Bernard-Converse and McCalister was a blow to a defense that already had holes to fill with the departure of linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez and safety Kolby Harvell-Peel. Illingworth was expected to work as the backup to Spencer Sanders in ’22.
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