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SEC Football: Ranking the Transfer Classes for 2022

Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss Rebels Football

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 SEC. The conference was a big winner in acquisitions, as Ole Miss, LSU, South Carolina and Alabama are among the nation's best in transfer classes for the 2022 season. Not only does every coach have to recruit his own roster at the end of the year, but all programs have a chance to dip into the portal for help to bolster a roster in need of talent or to fill a specific position. The Gamecocks, Rebels and Tigers all added potential impact players and deepened other position groups with hefty portal hauls, while the Crimson Tide targeted a few specific needs to add to a team already picked as the preseason favorite.

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

SEC Football: Ranking the Transfer Classes for 2022

1. Ole Miss
Key Additions:
QB Jaxson Dart; RB Zach Evans; WR Malik Heath; WR Jordan Watkins; TE Michael Trigg; OL Mason Brooks; DL J.J. Pegues; DL Khari Coleman; DL Jared Ivey; LB Troy Brown; S Isheem Young; S Ladarius Tennison

Key Losses: QB/WR John Rhys Plumlee; RB Henry Parrish; WR Jamar Richardson; TE DaMarcus Thomas; OL Bryce Ramsey; DL Quentin Bivens; DL Sincere David; LB Daylen Gill; LB Mohamed Sanogo; DB Keidron Smith; DB Tylan Knight; DB Jalen Jordan; DB JaKorey Hawkins

With quarterback Matt Corral and a handful of key players leaving off last year’s 10-win team, hitting the portal was the best path to keeping pace in the brutal SEC West for coach Lane Kiffin. The Rebels reeled in one of the most impressive – if not the No. 1 – transfer classes in the nation. Dart (QB) and Evans (RB) immediately bolster the outlook on offense, with Ivey, Young, Brown and Tennison all potential starters on defense this fall.

2. Alabama
Key Additions:
RB Jahmyr Gibbs; WR Jermaine Burton; CB Eli Ricks

Key Losses: QB Paul Tyson; RB Camar Wheaton; WR Javon Baker; WR Xavier Williams; TE Jahleel Billingsley; OL Tommy Brown; OL Pierce Quick; LB Shane Lee; LB Drew Sanders; LB King Mwikuta; LB Jackson Bratton; CB Marcus Banks

Quality, not quantity is the method behind Alabama’s transfer additions. The Crimson Tide added impact weapons on offense with Gibbs and Burton, while Ricks fills a key need at cornerback. 

Related: Early SEC Quarterback Rankings for 2022

3. South Carolina
Key Additions:
QB Spencer Rattler; RB Christian Beal-Smith; RB Dante Miller; WR Khafre Brown; WR Antwane Wells; TE Austin Stogner; DL Terrell Dawkins; DB Devonni Reed; DB Lovasea Carroll

Key Losses: QB Jason Brown; WR Keveon Mullins; OL Vincent Murphy; LB Kolbe Fields; LB Jahmar Brown; DB Dominick Hill

Rattler didn’t meet preseason expectations at Oklahoma last year, but a fresh start under coach Shane Beamer should help get his career back on track. The junior is one of the top impact transfers in college football this year, and the Gamecocks improved the supporting cast with the arrival of Beal-Smith at running back, along with Wells and Stogner in the receiving corps. Dawkins bolsters a defensive line losing Kingsley Enagbare.

4. LSU
Key Additions:
RB Noah Cain; WR Kyren Lacy; OL Tre’mond Shorts; OL Miles Frazier; DL Mekhi Wingo; LB West Weeks; LB Kolbe Fields; CB Jarrick Bernard-Converse; CB Mekhi Garner; DB Greg Brooks; DB Joe Foucha; P Jay Bramblett

Key Losses: QB Max Johnson; WR Devonta Lee; WR Alex Adams; WR Trey Palmer; DL Landon Jackson; CB Dwight McGlothern; CB Eli Ricks

New coach Brian Kelly inherited a team with just six returning starters and major concerns up front and in the secondary after both star cornerbacks Eli Ricks (transfer) and Derek Stingley Jr. (NFL) departed. Shorts and Frazier are needed additions to bolster the trenches, and four defensive backs are coming as reinforcements in the secondary. Bernard-Converse (Oklahoma State) should ease some of the concerns at cornerback.

5. Arkansas
Key Additions: WR Jadon Haselwood; DL Landon Jackson; LB Drew Sanders; DB Dwight McGlothern; S Latavious Brini

Key Losses: RB Trelon Smith; DL Jalen Williams; LB Andrew Parker; CB Nick Turner; CB Devin Bush; CB Greg Brooks; S Joe Foucha

The Razorbacks landed four impact defenders to bolster a defense that returns only four starters and was hit hard by losses in the trenches and in the secondary. Haselwood’s arrival should help alleviate the loss of Treylon Burks.

Related: Ranking College Football's Rosters for 2022

6. Missouri
Key Additions:
RB Nathaniel Peat; TE Tyler Stephens; OL Dylan Spencer; OL Bence Polgar; DL Ian Mathews; DL Jayden Jernigan; LB Charles Hicks; LB Ty’Ron Hopper; LB Tyrone Hopper; DB Dreyden Norwood; S Joseph Charleston

Key Losses: QB Connor Bazelak; WR Jay Maclin; TE Daniel Parker; TE Messiah Swinson; OL J’Marion Gooch; DL Jatorian Hansford; DL Mekhi Wingo; LB Jamie Pettway; S Ish Burdine; S Shawn Robinson

Of Missouri’s 11 transfer additions, seven are set to provide reinforcements on defense. That’s good news for a unit that allowed 33.8 points a game and struggled to stop the run in ’21. Peat (a transfer from Stanford) should push for a starting role in the battle to replace Tyler Badie at running back.

7. Florida
Key Additions:
QB Jack Miller; RB Montrell Johnson; OL O’Cyrus Torrence; OL Kamryn Waites; CB Jalen Kimber

Key Losses: WR Jacob Copeland; TE Kemore Gamble; OL Gerald Mincey; DL Khris Bogle; LB Ty’Ron Hopper; LB Mohamoud Diabate; CB Elijah Blades

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The Gators only have five additions, but each could make a significant impact in ’22. Miller will compete with Anthony Richardson and Emory Jones for the starting quarterback spot, and Johnson (838 rushing yards at Louisiana in ’21) is a key pickup for a backfield losing Dameon Pierce and Malik Davis. Torrence and Waites are valuable additions to bolster a struggling offensive line. Kimber could win the cornerback spot vacated by Kaiir Elam.

8. Kentucky
Key Additions:
QB Deuce Hogan; WR Javon Baker; WR Tayvion Robinson; OL Tashawn Manning; DL Darrion Henry-Young

Key Losses: WR Tre’Von Morgan; OL Naasir Watkins; DL Isaiah Gibson; LB KD McDaniel; LB Jared Casey; LB Marquez Bembry; CB Cedrick Dort

The Wildcats struck gold with the addition of Wan'Dale Robinson at receiver last year, but with the Nebraska transfer off to the NFL, help for quarterback Will Levis is on the way from Baker and Tayvion Robinson. Manning could push for a starting job after playing in 26 career games at Auburn. Henry-Young is a former four-star prospect at Ohio State.

9. Auburn
Key Additions: 
QB Zach Calzada; QB Robby Ashford; DL Jayson Jones; LB Eugene Asante; CB DJ James

Key Losses: QB Bo Nix; RB Shaun Shivers; WR Ja’Varrius Johnson; WR Kobe Hudson; WR Elijah Canion; OL Tashawn Manning; DL Marquis Robinson; DL Daniel Foster-Allen; DL Ian Mathews; DL J.J. Pegues; DL Lee Hunter; DL Dre Butler; LB Romello Height; CB Eric Reed; CB Dreshun Miller; S Ahmari Harvey; DB Ladarius Tennison

The arrival of Calzada and Ashford add depth and competition to the quarterback room, while Jones, a defensive lineman, and James, a cornerback, are potential starters and impact additions to the defense. Calzada should push T.J. Finley for the starting nod under center. The bigger concern at Auburn is the list of departures, as nearly 20 players entered the portal, including several major contributors. Depth along the defensive line and in the receiving corps is now a concern for coach Bryan Harsin.

Related: Grading College Football's First-Year Coaches from 2021

10. Mississippi State
Key Additions:
WR Justin Robinson; WR Jordan Mosley; OL Steven Losoya; CB Jackie Matthews; CB Marcus Banks; K Massimo Biscardi

Key Losses: WR Malik Heath; WR Teddy Knox; OL Calvin McMillian; DL Aaron Odom; DL Armondous Cooley; LB Aaron Brule; LB Rodney Groce; S Janari Dean

All six of the Bulldogs’ portal pickups should play a key role for the team in 2022. Robinson and Mosley add depth to a receiving corps losing top target Makai Polk, with Losoya likely to push for snaps up front after starting 14 games at Middle Tennessee over the last two years. Matthews and Banks alleviate the loss of cornerback Martin Emerson. After the Bulldogs connected on just 14 of 25 field goals in ’21, Biscardi (18-for-21 at Coastal Carolina the last two years) should ensure that’s not an issue once again.

11. Texas A&M
Key Additions:
QB Max Johnson

Key Losses: QB Zach Calzada; RB Darvon Hubbard; RB Deondre Jackson; CB Dreyden Norwood

Jimbo Fisher’s program wasn’t active in the transfer portal, but the roster is well-stocked thanks to the arrival of a standout ’22 recruiting class. Johnson (LSU transfer) should push Haynes King and Conner Weigman for the starting quarterback job this offseason.

12. Vanderbilt
Key Additions:
LB Kane Patterson; CB Jeremy Lucien; P Matt Hayball

Key Losses: WR Cam Johnson; WR Amir Abdur-Rahman; OL Jason Brooks; OL Tyler Steen; DL Alex Williams; DL Lorenza Surgers; DL Terion Sugick; DL Raashaan Wilkins; LB De’Rickey Wright; CB Gabe Jeudy-Lally; S Brendon Harris; S Dashaun Jerkins

Significant roster turnover after the first year under a new coach isn’t unexpected, so it’s not completely surprising Vanderbilt’s list of departures is longer than the additions. Patterson – a former four-star prospect at Clemson – should push for a starting role this offseason.

13. Tennessee
Key Additions:
QB Navy Shuler; TE Charlie Browder; OL Gerald Mincey; LB Jackson Hannah

Key Losses: QB Harrison Bailey; RB Tiyon Evans; WR Andison Coby; OL K’Rojhn Calbert; LB Morven Joseph

The Volunteers were active in last year’s portal, landing starting quarterback Hendon Hooker, receiver JaVonta Payton and a couple of contributors on defense. However, that’s not the case (so far) as only four players with a projected minimal impact have been added.

14. Georgia
Key Additions:

Key Losses: QB JT Daniels; WR Jermaine Burton; WR Jaylen Johnson; WR Justin Robinson; CB Ameer Speed; CB Jalen Kimber; S Latavious Brini; DB Lovasea Carroll

The reigning national champs have yet to make an addition through the portal and lost a couple of key players, including Burton on offense and Speed and Brini on defense. Daniels is one of the top remaining players in the portal.

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