College Football's Top Transfers to Watch for 2013

Former Texas A&M quarterback Jameill Showers is one of the top transfers for 2013.

Transfers are a big part of any college football season, and 2013 is no exception. There’s a handful of talented quarterbacks making the move to a new school, including Jake Heaps at Kansas, Tom Savage at Pittsburgh and Jameill Showers at UTEP. While that trio of programs is unlikely to win a national championship in 2013, landing a player with the caliber of Heaps or Savage should provide a boost for the offense.

Outside of the quarterback position, South Florida defensive end Aaron Lynch could be the top impact transfer for 2013. While running back also has a few names to watch, including Texas A&M's Brandon Williams and TCU’s Aaron Green.

Here’s a look at some of the key transfers to watch for 2013, as well as an early list for 2014:

College Football's Top Transfers to Watch for 2013


Top Impact Transfers:

Jake Heaps, Kansas (from BYU)
Heaps was the No. 1 quarterback in the 2010 signing class and started 16 games during his two seasons at BYU. As a freshman, he threw for 2,316 yards and 15 touchdowns but failed to build on those numbers in 2011, as he was benched in favor of Riley Nelson. There’s no question Heaps should be an upgrade over Kansas’ quarterbacks from last season (Dayne Crist and Michael Cummings), but it’s unrealistic to expect him to contend for All-Big 12 honors. The Jayhawks also need to upgrade the weapons around Heaps for him to succeed in 2013.

Tom Savage, Pittsburgh (from Rutgers)
It’s been a while since Savage’s name has popped up on the college football radar. From 2009-10, Savage threw for 2,732 yards and 16 touchdowns at Rutgers but left for Arizona after the 2010 season. With Rich Rodriguez’s arrival in Tucson, Savage wasn’t going to play much in the spread offense, which prompted a transfer to Pittsburgh. The 6-foot-5 passer hasn’t played in two years but was one of the nation’s top quarterbacks coming out of high school. Considering coach Paul Chryst’s background on developing quarterbacks, if Savage can hold off redshirt freshman Chad Voytik, he could have a solid senior year in Pittsburgh’s ACC debut.

Jesse Scroggins, Arizona (from USC)
Scroggins didn’t transfer directly from Arizona to USC, as he spent 2012 at El Camino College. However, considering Scroggins’ background and time at USC, he’s worth a mention in this section. The California native was considered a top-10 quarterback in the 2010 signing class but failed to throw a pass in his two seasons with the Trojans. Scroggins threw for 1,148 yards in eight games during junior college play last season and is expected to challenge for Arizona’s starting job in fall practice.

Jameill Showers, UTEP (from Texas A&M)
With Johnny Manziel entrenched as Texas A&M’s No. 1 quarterback, it was clear Showers wasn’t going to get much playing time in 2013. New UTEP coach Sean Kugler landed his biggest recruit of the offseason by getting Showers to play in El Paso, which should give the Miners a chance to push for a winning record in 2013. Showers was impressive during limited work in his career, completing 31 of 49 throws for 359 yards and two scores. The junior has yet to make his first career start, but all signs point to Showers being one of Conference USA’s top quarterbacks in 2013.

Pete Thomas, NC State (from Colorado State)
With Mike Glennon expiring his eligibility after the Music City Bowl, Thomas has a chance to start for NC State in 2013. The California native threw for 4,269 yards and 18 touchdowns in two years with the Rams, completing better than 63 percent of his passes. Moving to the ACC is a step up in competition, but a solid receiving corps and a pair of solid running backs in Tony Creecy and Shadrach Thornton should give Thomas plenty of help. The junior will battle sophomore Manny Stocker for the top spot on the depth chart this spring.

The Next Tier

Drew Allen, ? (from Oklahoma)
Allen plans to graduate this summer and transfer to a FBS school for his final season of eligibility.

Brock Berglund, North Texas (from Kansas)
Ranked as one of the top-15 dual-threat quarterbacks coming out of high school but has yet to play a down of college football.

Taylor Graham, Hawaii (from Ohio State)
Son of former NFL quarterback Kent Graham could be the answer for Hawaii’s woeful offense.

Taylor Reed, Arkansas (from Memphis)
Threw for 1,690 yards and 10 touchdowns as a true freshman for Memphis in 2011. Expected to be in the mix to start but is likely behind Brandon Allen and Brandon Mitchell on the depth chart.

DaMarcus Smith, Western Kentucky (from UCF)
Ranked as a four-star recruit coming out of high school and will have an opportunity to start for new coach Bobby Petrino this spring.

Ricardo Young, Maryland (from New Mexico)
Young is on his third school after making previous stops at Virginia Tech and New Mexico. Will work as Maryland’s No. 1 quarterback this spring but C.J. Brown is expected to reclaim the starting job once he returns from a torn ACL.

Scotty Young, Louisiana Tech (from Texas Tech)
Former Texas Gatorade Player of the Year should be a good fit in Louisiana Tech’s spread offense.

Others to Watch:

Allan Bridgford, ? (from California)
Tim Byerly, Georgia Tech (from MTSU)
Daxx Garman, Oklahoma State (from Arizona)
Nick Isham, Arizona (from Louisiana Tech)


Running Backs

Top Impact Transfers

Tra Carson, Texas A&M (from Oregon)
In his only season with the Ducks, Carson showed promise in limited work, rushing for 254 yards and one touchdown on 45 carries. However, with a crowded backfield in Oregon, transferring to Texas A&M should allow the Texas native a chance to play more in 2013. Carson is a power back at 6-foot and 227 pounds, likely giving him an opportunity to be Texas A&M’s No. 1 back around the goal line.

Aaron Green, TCU (from Nebraska)
After finishing eighth in the Big 12 in rushing offense last season, the Horned Frogs are counting on Green to provide the ground attack with an instant boost. The San Antonio native played one season at Nebraska and rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Green ranked as a top-15 prospect by ESPN in the 2011 signing class and is expected to battle Waymon James and B.J. Catalon for the starting spot this fall. Even if Green doesn’t earn the No. 1 spot, he should see plenty of opportunities for carries.   

Josh Quezada, Fresno State (from BYU)
With Robbie Rouse expiring his eligibility after the Hawaii Bowl, Fresno State’s search for a new No. 1 back will begin this spring. Quezada is the likely frontrunner to replace Rouse, as he rushed for 803 yards and six touchdowns from 2010-11 at BYU. His best performance came against New Mexico in 2010, rushing for 107 yards and one touchdown on 15 attempts. Assuming Quezada picks up where he left off at BYU, with Derek Carr returning at quarterback, Fresno State should have one of college football’s top offenses in 2013.

Brandon Williams, Texas A&M (from Oklahoma)
With the arrival of Williams and Carson to a backfield that already features Ben Malena and sophomore Trey Williams, Texas A&M quietly has one of the nation’s deepest running back corps. Williams was a five-star recruit by out of high school and rushed for 219 yards on 46 attempts as a freshman with Oklahoma in 2011. With a handful of talented running backs, it will be hard for one player to rush for 1,000 yards at Texas A&M this year. Expect Williams to see plenty of opportunities with the Aggies in 2013, and his arrival only adds more firepower to a loaded offense.

The Next Tier:

Ronnie Daniels, San Diego State (from Texas Tech)
Rushed for 44 yards on nine attempts with the Red Raiders in 2011. Should be a solid complement back to starter Adam Muema.

Daniel Jenkins, Washington State (from Arizona)
Only rushed for 495 yards in three seasons with Arizona but should help improve a Washington State rushing attack that managed just 29.1 yards per game in 2012.

Jeremy Wright, ? (from Louisville)
Decided to transfer after junior year with 824 rushing yards and 10 scores. Since he graduated in December, Wright could transfer to another FBS program and play in 2013.

Others to Watch:

Jakhari Gore, FIU (from LSU)
Reggie Pegram, North Texas (from Purdue)
Adonis Smith, UNLV (from Northwestern)


Wide Receivers

Top Impact Transfers

Robert Clark, Louisville (from Florida)
With DeVante Parker, Damian Copeland and Eli Rogers returning for Louisville in 2013, Clark may not make a huge impact for the Cardinals this season. The Florida transfer spent two years in Gainesville and caught only seven passes for 69 yards and one touchdown. Clark may not be a game-changer this season, but he should add depth to one of the nation’s top-15 receiving corps.

Deon Long, Maryland (from New Mexico)
Just like Jesse Scroggins, Long didn’t go directly from New Mexico to Maryland, as he made a stop at Iowa Western Community College and led the NJCAA with 100 receptions in 2012. If Long can translate his production from the JUCO ranks to the FBS level, Maryland should have one of the ACC’s top receiver duos with Stefon Diggs and Long.

Justin McCay, Kansas (from Oklahoma)
McCay was labeled a four-star recruit by but never made an impact during his first two years at Oklahoma. The Missouri native was a valuable pickup for Kansas, as the Jayhawks are incredibly thin at receiver. Andrew Turzilli is the top returning receiver with just 17 catches, and the Jayhawks lack a No. 1 go-to threat. If McCay lives up his recruiting hype, he should be new quarterback Jake Heaps’ favorite target in 2013.

Ja’Juan Story, TCU (from Florida)
With Josh Boyce and Skye Dawson departing, TCU’s receiving corps will be searching for new go-to targets in 2013. Brandon Carter and LaDarius Brown are likely the top two options, but Story should figure prominently into the passing attack. The Florida native redshirted in his only season with the Gators but ranked as a Top 150 recruit by ESPN in 2011. At 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds, Story has the size and speed to be a significant contributor in TCU’s receiving corps this year.

Darius White, Missouri (from Texas)
White was one of the nation’s top high school prospects in 2010 but caught only six passes during his first two years in Austin. The Texas native is listed behind L’Damian Washington and Jaleel Clark on Missouri’s pre-spring depth chart, so he has some ground to make up in preseason workouts. The Tigers expect a big year from sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham and Marcus Lucas returns after catching 46 passes in 2012, so White is likely relegated to being a No. 3 or No. 4 target this year.

The Next Tier

Josh Doctson, TCU (from Wyoming)
Caught 35 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns as a true freshman at Wyoming in 2011.

Ricky Johnson, Louisiana-Lafayette (from Tulsa)
Caught 44 passes in three years at Tulsa. Will be an instant contributor for one of the Sun Belt’s top teams in 2013.

Shawney Kersey, Marshall (from Penn State)
Intriguing talent but only caught 12 passes for 154 yards in three seasons with Penn State. Should thrive at Marshall, especially with All-C-USA quarterback Rakeem Cato back for 2013.

Matt Milton, Louisville (from Tennessee)
Big target (6-foot-5) will help Louisville in the red zone but caught only one pass in two years at Tennessee.

Devon Smith, Marshall (from Penn State)
At 5-foot-7, 147 pounds, Smith isn’t the biggest receiver, but his speed and quickness will be tough to keep off of the field at Marshall. In three seasons with Penn State, Smith caught 56 passes for 795 yards and three scores.

Others to Watch

Quinta Funderburk, Syracuse (from Arkansas)
Marcus Grant, Boston College (from Iowa)
Maudrecus Humphrey, UAB (from Arkansas)
Vince Sanders, North Texas (from Baylor)
Darius Terrell, North Texas (from Texas)
Kane Whitehurst, South Carolina (from Arkansas)
Peyton Williams, Texas Tech (from Colorado)


Tight Ends

Top Impact Transfers

Gerald Christian, Louisville (from Florida)
Even though Christian caught only four passes for 72 yards and one score during his Florida career, he could be a breakout performer for Louisville in 2013. The Cardinals don’t target the tight ends frequently, but Nate Nord and Ryan Hubbell combined for 27 catches last year. Christian was a four-star prospect by out of high school and his athletic ability could be a nightmare matchup for opposing Big East defenses in 2013.

Zeke Pike, Louisville (from Auburn)
Don’t adjust your vision: This is the same Zeke Pike that committed to Auburn as a quarterback. However, Pike never played a down with the Tigers and transferred to Louisville where Charlie Strong and Shawn Watson decided to move him to tight end. Pike probably won’t play a ton with Gerald Christian also in the mix, but he will be an interesting story to watch over the next few years.

Others to Watch

Daniel Adams, Maryland (from New Mexico)
Manasseh Garner, Pittsburgh (from Wisconsin)

Offensive Linemen

Top Impact Transfers

Brian Bobek, Minnesota (from Ohio State)
Bobek ranked as a four-star recruit by coming out of high school and will figure into the Minnesota offensive line mix this spring. The junior did not make a start at Ohio State and even if he doesn’t start, he is likely to see time as a valuable swing option at guard or center.

Max Garcia, Florida (from Maryland)
With the departure of tackle Xavier Nixon and guard James Wilson, the Gators will have a revamped offensive line in 2013. Garcia started 12 games for Maryland in 2011 and played in two contests in 2010. Expect the junior to start at tackle or guard for Florida this season.

Tyler Moore, Florida (from Nebraska)
As mentioned a couple of times in the transfer article, Moore wasn’t a direct transfer from Nebraska to Florida. However, as a four-star recruit, he’s too high profile not to mention in this space. Moore played in nine games in 2011 at Nebraska, which included starts in the first four contests. The sophomore is expected to push for playing time at tackle this spring.

Matt Patchan, Boston College (from Florida)
With Boston College losing both starting tackles, Patchan’s arrival couldn’t come at a better time. The Tampa native missed the 2010 and 2012 seasons due to injury but played in 12 contests in 2011. Patchan made eight starts during his career and should be familiar with Boston College coach Steve Addazio, as he played under him at Florida. Patchan doesn’t have to be an all-conference performer but just having him available will help Boston College’s line ease the transition into a new offense, along with replacing two starters from last season.

The Next Tier

Thomas O’Reilly, Georgia Tech (from Auburn)
O’Reilly was rated as a top-10 guard by ESPN coming out of high school and could push for a starting job with the Yellow Jackets looking to replace Omoregie Uzzi.

Jordan Prestwood, UCF (from Notre Dame)
Prestwood was a top-150 recruit by ESPN in the 2011 signing class and signed with Florida State. However, he transferred to Notre Dame before the 2011 season and never played a down with the Fighting Irish. Prestwood will have three years of eligibility remaining with UCF.

Others to Watch

Travis Bodenstein, Arkansas State (from Kansas)
James Elliott, South Alabama (from Kentucky)
Mitch Hall, Missouri (from Ole Miss)
David Keller, Oregon State (from Fresno State)
Johnathon Ragoo, FAU (from Minnesota)


Defensive Linemen

Top Impact Transfers

Aaron Lynch, South Florida (from Notre Dame)
Lynch was well on his way to being one of the nation’s best defensive ends when he decided to transfer from Notre Dame before the 2012 season. In one year in South Bend, Lynch recorded 33 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks. With another offseason to work in the weight room, the sophomore is due to have a monster season. Lynch could be one of the Big East’s top defenders in 2013 and should be a preseason first-team all-conference selection.

The Next Tier

Darious Cummings, Florida (from Florida State/JUCO)
Cummings is another player that transferred from a four-year school with a short stop in the JUCO ranks. He recorded 26 tackles and three sacks in 10 games at East Mississippi Community College.

Chris Davenport, Tulane (from LSU)
Davenport never lived up to his recruiting hype at LSU but could be a key addition for Tulane’s struggling defense.

Rashad Frazier, Ohio State (from Purdue)
Frazier never played at Purdue and is unlikely to see major snaps for Ohio State in 2013.

Lonnie Gosha, Troy (from Arkansas)
Gosha could be a key pick up for Troy’s defensive line, as he played in four games as a freshman at Arkansas in 2011.

Donald Hopkins, Texas State (from Houston)
Hopkins was a top-20 defensive tackle in the 2012 signing class at Houston but transferred before playing a down. He will team with TCU transfer D.J. Yendrey to give the Bobcats some much-needed depth on their line.

C.J. James, Akron (from Colorado State)
Steady performer in three years with the Rams who recorded five sacks in 2011. James could be in the mix for All-MAC honors in 2013.

Shawn Oakman, Baylor (from Penn State)
With Gary Mason Jr. and Nick Johnson departing, coordinator Phil Bennett is counting on Oakman to have an impact in 2013. The Pennsylvania native did not play in one season at Penn State but was picked as one of the top 200 recruits in the nation by in 2011.

Zeke Riser, Texas (from Houston)
Won’t make a huge impact at Texas but should be a key piece of the rotation after recording 38 tackles and three sacks at Houston in 2012.

D.J. Yendrey, Texas State (from TCU)
Yendrey was an honorable mention All-Mountain West selection in back-to-back seasons but was dismissed from TCU before the start of the 2012 season. If he can knock off the rust quickly, Yendrey could be an All-Sun Belt performer in 2013.

Others to Watch

Nermin Derlic, Georgia State (from Kentucky)
David Durham, Pittsburgh (from Ohio State)
Kingsley Ike, Texas State (from Purdue)
Willie Mobley, New Mexico State (from Arizona)
Matt Ramondo, New Mexico State (from Michigan State)
John Raymon, Syracuse (from Iowa)
Robert Singletary, UTSA (from Baylor)



Top Impact Transfers

Kellen Jones, Clemson (from Oklahoma)
With coordinator Brent Venables returning for his second season at Clemson, the Tigers expect to show more improvement on defense in 2013. Jones could be a key piece to the puzzle, as he played under Venables at Oklahoma and recorded 10 tackles in 12 games as a freshman. Even if Jones doesn’t start, he will likely play a lot of snaps for Clemson in 2013.

Jeff Luc, Cincinnati (from Florida State)
Luc never had a chance to live up to his recruiting hype at Florida State, playing in 19 games with 23 tackles. Cincinnati is a good landing spot for the Florida native, as he isn’t pressured to nail down a starting spot with Greg Blair and Nick Temple returning to anchor the linebacking corps.

Mike Orakpo, Texas State (from Colorado State)
Before his dismissal at Colorado State, Orakpo was one of the Mountain West’s top linebackers. Expect the junior to emerge as one of Texas State’s top defenders in 2013.  

Trevon Randle, Houston (from LSU)
Randle has yet to play a down of college ball but will be counted on by new Houston defensive coordinator David Gibbs to replace departing standouts Phillip Steward and Everett Daniels.

Graham Stewart, Connecticut (from Florida)
Stewart was considered the No. 1 player in Connecticut in the 2011 signing class and played in 12 games with the Gators in his freshman season. After sitting out 2012, Stewart’s play will be crucial to replacing Sio Moore and Jory Johnson.

Others to Watch

Trajuan Briggs, New Mexico (from California)
C.J. Mizell, Akron (from Washington State)


Defensive Backs

Vernon Davis, West Virginia (from Miami)
After finishing 118th nationally in pass defense last year, West Virginia will take all of the secondary help it can find. Davis – a former three-star recruit – should have a chance to work his way into some playing time this spring.

Travell Dixon, Washington (from Alabama)
Dixon spent last spring at Alabama but transferred in August to Washington. The Miami native was a first-team NJCAA All-American in 2011 and could be a major factor as the Huskies look to replace cornerback Desmond Trufant.

David Jenkins, TCU (from LSU)
In an offensive-minded conference like the Big 12, TCU can never have enough depth in the secondary. Jenkins was a four-star recruit coming out of high school but never played a down at LSU. Look for the sophomore to see some playing time for the Horned Frogs this year.

Cortez Johnson, Oklahoma (from Arizona)
Johnson followed Mike Stoops from Arizona to Oklahoma after recording 16 tackles in eight appearances in 2011. The Louisiana native is expected to factor into the starting mix, as the Sooners must replace cornerback Demontre Hurst and safeties Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris this spring.

Marlon Pollard, Arizona State (from Eastern Michigan)
Pollard has earned some frequent-flyer miles in his career, as he started at UCLA and transferred to Eastern Michigan. In 2011, Pollard recorded 54 stops with the Eagles but was injured early in 2012. The senior should help an Arizona State secondary that must replace cornerback Deveron Carr and safety Keelan Johnson.

Jonathan Rose, Nebraska (from Auburn)
The addition of Rose should only strengthen Nebraska’s secondary, which is the best unit on the defense. The former Auburn cornerback played in nine games in 2011 and recorded two tackles. Rose played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as a high school senior and finished in the top five for Alabama Mr. Football voting.

Sheldon Royster, Rutgers (from South Carolina)
Royster was considered one of the top 200 high school players in the class of 2011, and with Rutgers losing Duron Harmon, look for the sophomore to factor into the mix this spring.

Others to Watch

Lloyd Carrington, Arizona State (from Pittsburgh)
Zach Dancel, Maryland (from New Mexico)
Zed Evans, North Texas (from Louisville)
Bennett Okutcha, UTSA (from Oklahoma)
Drew Reilly, BYU (from Colorado State)
Michael Wadsworth, BYU (from Hawaii)

Special Teams Transfers to Watch

K Kip Smith, Oklahoma State (from UCLA)
P Alex Wulfreck, Notre Dame (from Wake Forest)

Early Transfers to Watch for 2014

QB Anthony Alford, Ole Miss (from Southern Miss)
QB Jacoby Brissett, NC State (from Florida)
QB Gunner Kiel, ? (from Notre Dame)
RB Mike Blakely, ? (from Auburn)
RB Braylon Heard, ? (from Nebraska)
WR Travares Copeland, NC State (from West Virginia)
OL Christian Westerman, Arizona State (from Auburn)
DT Chase Rome, ? (from Nebraska)
LB A.J. Hilliard, Texas A&M (from TCU)

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