Buckle up for the craziest week yet in the transfer portal

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Listen, Florida and USC. Rest assured, Nebraska. On the way, Miami. Get ready, State of Arizona.

The spring football season reaches its unofficial finale on Saturday with 31 spring games on the schedule, leaving college football with another week of drama in the NCAA transfer portal. Players nationwide have until May 1 to enter their name into the portal to qualify for immediate eligibility at their next school. This means that a large number of players across the country will finally decide whether to stay in school or try their hand at the open market next week.

Potential big winners will be programs like Florida and USC, which have publicly expressed interest in adding 10 or more spring and summer transfers. Both programs enter their first offseason with new coaches looking for immediate superstars, and if potential 4- and 5-star talent hits the escape button, schools on opposite coasts will swarm.

As much attention as USC garnered for Oklahoma quarterback’s mammoth additions Caleb Williams and receiver mario williams, and a handful of defensive players, attrition has been a degenerative disease for the roster. Twenty-five USC players have entered the portal since the end of the 2021 season, so there’s room to move and with that, it’s a potentially golden opportunity: lincoln riley could potentially turn the roster into a championship contender in the Pac-12 before June enters the schedule. The Trojans already have the No. 2 transfer class in the 2022 cycle, according to 247Sports.

The May Day deadline is important for two reasons: it’s a first in the age of portals. The deadline existed in 2021 but it was extended to July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with immediate eligibility set for early transfers, the deadline is equivalent to a free agency deadline. Players entering the portal after May 1 will need an NCAA waiver to play next season.

Don’t assume these will just be backups and walk-in programs. Nebraska defensive lineman Casey Rogers, a projected starter, entered the portal on Wednesday. Arizona State lost the first receiver Ricky Persall and first-year American linebacker Eric Gentry Thursday. Many more instant impact players like them will follow this week. They’ve been waiting for the right moment to leave and that moment is next week.

Then there are already deceased stars like the Louisville receiver Tyler Harrelwho still hesitates between Alabama and his hometown of Miami, and former receiver for USC Bru McCoy look at Tennessee. College football is no shortage of drama in May. These players do not need to choose a school until May 1, as they are already on the portal.

Colleague Chris “Professor Portal” Hummer highlighted the huge potential moves earlier this week. Programs like Clemson, Michigan and Pac-12 contender Utah need help, and you can bet players across the country know that. Miami wants receivers and linebackers, and Mario Cristobal has a boatload of scholarships to offer. Tennessee is in a similar boat along the Tennessee River and could add great prospects at receiver and running back. Yes, even Clemson, the program led by the critic of the portal Dabo Swinney, actively looking for an offensive lineman. Such an addition would only be the Tigers’ second since the portal since 2018.

“But we’re not just going to take a guy to take a guy because we think he’s a good player,” Swinney said, pumping his own brakes on ESPN.

Over 2,420 players have entered the portal so far and that number will skyrocket next week, surpassing the record of 2,626 set in 2021.

Boo.

The Spring Dish is a daily college football column from the National Reporter Brandon Marcello covering the biggest stories of spring.


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