February 8, 2023CFB Insider
New Year, New Players, New Possibilities
As spring practice draws near, the stage is set for the best incoming prospects to showcase their skills and stand out from the crowd.
So, it's no surprise that college football has adopted the "what have you done for me lately" mentality in 2023, reflecting the impressive impact of highly skilled transfers and first-year players in the 2022 season.
The transfer portal has become a goldmine for college football programs, providing an influx of talented and experienced players that can help coaches revamp their rosters.
One position, the quarterback, has seen a major shakeup as many new signal-callers have found their way to different programs. As a result, the college football landscape is transforming as coaches aim to put their teams in the best position to succeed.
As fans eagerly await the start of the upcoming season, here are some of the standout newcomers to keep an eye on:
Alabama Crimson Tide
As Alabama football sets its sights on the 2023 season, fans of the Roll Tide can look forward to a new era of dominant offense. Coach Saban and his team have added three explosive weapons to their arsenal in the form of the top two running backs of the 2023 class, Richard Young and Justice Haynes. The Tide have also added five-star offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor and a new quarterback. With a potential emphasis on the running game, Young and Haynes could shine and be formidable forces on the field.
TCU Horned Frogs
The TCU Horned Frogs faced some significant losses this off-season, with key players such as QB Max Duggan, WR Quentin Johnston, and CB Tre'vius Hodges-Tomlinson departing the team. However, TCU is determined to build on the momentum from its successful 2022 season and has set its sights on acquiring top talent. The Horned Frogs have made a strong statement by landing six transfers from the SEC, including three from powerhouse program Alabama. This impressive haul consists of the highly touted JoJo Earle, a 5-9 wideout and kick returner rated No. 73 in the 2021 ESPN 300. With this talented addition, TCU aims to sign its highest-rated recruiting class in recent history, solidifying its position as a dominant force in the Big 12.
Longhorn Nation is in high spirits after securing a commitment from one of the nation'snation's premier quarterbacks, Arch Manning, in July. Despite the transfer portal leading to talent departures from other programs, Manning's arrival has energized fans and heightened anticipation for the talented prospects joining the squad in the upcoming season. One such prospect is the 2023 class's top-rated linebacker, Anthony Hill, who sits at No. 16 in the ESPN 300 rankings. The combination of Hill's skills and Manning's talent has Longhorn fans eagerly awaiting the start of the new season.
As the LSU Tigers look to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss in the SEC championship game, they have moved to address a key weakness on their roster. The transfer portal has proven to be a valuable resource for college football programs, and LSU has taken advantage of it by adding two talented cornerbacks to the roster. Denver Harris, ranked No. 5 in the 2022 class, brings a wealth of experience to the secondary, having made an impact as a true freshman at Texas A&M. And Chestnut, a former Freshman All-American at Syracuse, has proven himself over two seasons with 83 tackles, four interceptions, and nine passes defended in 24 games. These two transfers could play a significant role in helping the Tigers reach their goals for the 2023 season.
January 26, 2023CFB Insider
Top Quarterbacks Who Will Return for Another Season
The 2022-23 Bowl Season was a thrilling ride from start to finish, with shocking upsets and incredible performances that left fans on the edge of their seats.
These electrifying moments on the field had fans cheering and sent the draft stock of many players soaring as they solidified themselves as top prospects for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Ohio State's quarterback CJ Stroud, Georgia's defensive tackle Jalen Carter, and Alabama's quarterback Bryce Young are just a few of the players who declared for the draft.
Still, there are just as many who did not.
As a result, some fan bases will see their quarterback return for another college football season as they put off professional aspirations for a year to hone their skills and improve their draft prospects.
Here are the top 5 QBs who were draft eligible and will be returning for the 2023-24 season:
1. Michael Penix Jr., Washington
2022 stats: 362-for-554, 4,641 yards, 31 TDs, 92 rushing yards, 4 rushing TDs
Transferring to Washington, he earned the position and had a phenomenal season under new coach Kalen DeBoer after being hired. With two 1,000-yard receivers back in Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan, the Huskies might surpass their national-leading 370 passing yards per game from this season.
2. Bo Nix, Oregon
2022 stats: 294-for-409, 3,593 yards, 29 TDs, 510 rushing yards, 14 rushing TDs
Nix was a candidate for the Heisman Trophy and kept the Ducks in playoff contention for the whole of the season. Nix topped all quarterbacks with 14 running touchdowns and drove Oregon's sixth-ranked offense.
3. Jordan Travis, Florida State
2022 stats: 226-for-353, 3,214 yards, 24 TDs, 417 rushing yards, 7 TDs
Travis, a dynamic runner and efficient thrower led FSU to 10 wins for the first time since 2016. His performance earned him second-team All-ACC honors, putting him in a prime position for the 2024 NFL Draft.
4. Jayden Daniels, LSU
2022 stats: 266-for-388, 2,913 yards, 17 TDs, 885 rushing yards, 11 rushing TDs
Although his throwing statistics under Brian Kelly were almost identical to those of his rookie year, he nearly quadrupled his running production and led LSU to the SEC West championship. For him, his last year of college football might be his most significant and put him in a prime position for the 2024 NFL Draft.
5. Sam Hartman, Notre Dame
2022 stats: 270-for-428, 3,701 yards, 38 TDs, 129 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
In five seasons at Wake Forest, Hartman established the ACC career touchdown pass record (108) and was No. 2 in career passing yards (12,967). He transferred to Notre Dame and started the 2023 season with the longest active touchdown throw streak at 30. Hartman will play behind a veteran line and a robust set of running backs at 24 years old.
It's shaping up to be another exciting year of college football, and these players will be the ones to watch as they vie for a spot in the NFL.
December 22, 2022CFB Insider
Top QB's in the Transfer Portal
Following NCAA changes to transfer rules and eligibility, the transfer portal has become massive over the past couple of years. The addition of NIL opportunities convinces players that there may be a better spot for them. There are currently over 1,200 college football players in the portal today. The portal can be a blessing or a curse, as 43% of all NCAA athletes don't land at a new school for their sport. We will be diving into the top college football quarterbacks in the transfer portal, who shouldn't have any issue finding their new homes.
DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson
DJ Uiagalelei, one of the nation's top prospects when he started his career at Clemson University, entered the transfer portal after an underwhelming performance this past season. The junior, originally from Inland Empire, California, ended the regular season with a 31-30 loss to the University of South Carolina. Questions about transferring were brought up throughout the season, especially when he was benched after a disappointing first two possessions in the ACC Championship game against UNC-Chapel Hill, going 3-and-out twice in a row. However, his backup, Cade Klubnik, had a stellar performance, going 20-of-24 for 309 total yards and scoring two touchdowns, and that performance solidified Uiagalelei's transfer decision. Uiagalelei is expected to go somewhere out west and completed an unofficial visit to UCLA this past week. Other contenders for final destinations for the player with two more years of eligibility include Notre Dame, Oregon, and Arizona State.
Devin Leary, NC State
At the beginning of this past football season, Leary was projected to be a top quarterback in the ACC. However, a midseason injury, specifically a torn pectoral muscle on his right side, left him on the sidelines for the remainder of his season. The junior from New Jersey initially held a fourth or fifth-round NFL draft grade going into the season but has since decreased in rankings. He will now be a grad transfer student using his sixth year of eligibility. Leary, the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, generated a lot of buzz surrounding his passing game and ability to be a fantastic leader and play caller. He is a top-rated player in the transfer portal at this time. In the 2021 season, the year before his injury, he threw 35 touchdowns, racked up 3,433 passing yards, and had two rushing touchdowns of his own. It does not seem he will have a shortage of transfer options, and he has reportedly been in contact with Kentucky, Auburn, and Missouri.
Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina
One of the surprises of the transfer portal this season has been Grayson McCall, the rising senior and first-ever three-time Sun Belt Player of the Year. His entrance into the portal from Coastal Carolina comes after his former head coach Jamey Chadwell transferred to Liberty University to fill their head coaching position. The North Carolina native is one of the top players in the portal, who finished his Coastal Carolina career with 8,019 passing yards,78 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, a 70.4% pass completion rating, and averaged 10.3 yards per attempt. Often called "the most productive QB in the portal," McCall was a finalist for the Manning Award, a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, and was the conference Freshman of the Year. With numbers and awards like that, many schools are expressing interest, including Liberty, NC State, Auburn, Florida, and Oregon.
Hudson Card, Texas
With Arch Manning, one of the nation's top recruiting prospects, committed to the University of Texas, Texas football has depth in its offense that did not give Card a lot of future playing time. Card started five games during his three years with the Longhorns and made show promise within his performance, but he was benched this past season behind current starting QB Quinn Ewers. The Texas-raised quarterback will enter his next destination as a redshirt junior but has up to three years of remaining eligibility due to NCAA-granted waivers. The former ESPN top-40 recruit threw for 1,523 yards and 11 touchdowns in the past two seasons, on top of a very promising high school career. His top destinations appear to be TCU, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin, but his agility and high completion percentage have prepared him for many programs.
Donovan Smith, Texas Tech
Smith, a native of Texas, entered the transfer portal with a couple more seasons of eligibility, and he was a pivotal contributor to Texas Tech's bowl eligibility this past season. The Red Raiders will face Ole Miss in the TaxAct Texas Bowl. The sophomore quarterback played 21 games for the Red Raiders, finishing his Texas Tech career with a 64.2% completion percentage, going 231/360 for 2686 yards, 19 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions. Smith led the Red Raiders to a few wins throughout the season, including the thrilling overtime win against their rival Longhorns, but was eventually sent to the bench behind starting senior QB Tyler Shough. Despite some inconsistency issues with his performance, Smith will make a great addition to any program, and the top contenders right now include NC State, Notre Dame, Boston College, and Boise State.
December 14, 2022CFB Insider
Texas Bowl Analysis and Prediction
Ole Miss and Texas Tech will square off in the TaxAct Texas Bowl on December 28, 2022, at NRG Stadium.
The Red Raiders come to town with a 7-5 record after going 5-4 in Big 12 under first-year coach Joey McGuire. However, the team is coming off a three-game win streak and looking to finish the season strong. For Texas Tech, this was not their first rodeo: they had previously appeared in the Texas Bowl in 2015 and are eager to claim this victory this year.
Unfortunately, they will be without 1st team All Big 12 edge rusher Tyree Wilson as he suffered a season ending foot injury against Kansas. The Red Raiders will also be without their two-quarterback package against Ole Miss as QB Donavon Smith entered the transfer portal this past week.
Texas Tech’s high-powered offense is averaging 459.5 total yards per game. They are led by QB Tyler Shough along with RB SaRodorick Thompson and freshman wide receiver Jerand Bradley. The Red Raiders are an impressive 7-1 over the past two years in games that Shough has started and finished.
Ole Miss comes down to the Texas Bowl for the first time in program history, following an 8-4 year and going 4-4 in the SEC. The Rebels are looking to turn things around and gain momentum into the offseason after losing 4 of their last 5. Head coach Lane Kiffin signed a 6-year contract extension in November, following rumors of him possibly filling the Auburn vacancy.
Ole Miss this season is led by QB Jaxson Dart and SEC Freshman of the Year RB Quinshon Judkins. The team’s running attack is among the top in the nation averaging 261.6 yards per game. Running back Zach Evans (North Shore) is also a large part of the ground game.
The Ole Miss Rebels enter this game as 3.5-point favorites. Given the offensive dominance of both teams, it’s safe to say we can expect a very high scoring game. If Ole Miss can control the line of scrimmage with Evans, Judkins, and Dart, it could be a long night for the Red Raiders. However, Texas Tech fans could very well make this game a home field atmosphere, giving Kiffin and the team quite a challenge. Ole Miss being ranked as high as #7, before falling off to lose 4 of their last 5 concerns me. Both teams have a lot to prove and will bring a lot of energy to NRG on December 28th.
Final Score: Texas Tech 38 – Ole Miss 35
December 8, 2022CFB Insider
Let's Talk Heisman Finalists and Notable Snubs
Monday night saw the announcement of the 2022 Heisman Trophy finalists: Georgia's Stetson Bennett, Caleb Williams of USC, TCU's Max Duggan, and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud.
However, since some of the strongest contenders — Michigan RB Blake Corum and Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker — had their seasons cut short by injury, it's no surprise that sports experts and fans have flocked to social media to express their opinions on the nominees.
Many in the college football world feel the Heisman voting process is still faulty.
Hooker guided Tennessee to a 10-2 record, propelling the Volunteers to the top of the College Football Playoff rankings for the first time.
In reality, the Volunteers remained in the hunt until late November, when a 63-38 defeat to South Carolina affected not only their CFP chances but also the season of QB Hendon, who suffered a torn ACL.
The same can be said for Michigan RB Blake Corum, who sustained a left knee injury against Illinois late in the first half.
Corum concluded his junior season with 247 attempts for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns on 247 attempts. Except for Michigan's regular-season finale against Ohio State, he rushed for at least 100 yards in every conference game.
The four quarterback finalists, including three participating in the College Football Playoff, will be in New York this Saturday for the annual event where they will announce the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner.
As the season wraps ups, let's look at the top three 2022 Heisman Trophy nominees:
Ohio St. QB C.J. Stroud
The lone returning finalist from 2021, Stroud concluded this season with a completion rate of 70% after passing for 44 touchdowns in his debut year as a starter in 2021. In addition to having the highest passer efficiency rating in the league, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year is tied with Tune and Williams for the most throwing touchdowns in college football with 37.
USC. QB Caleb Williams
Williams has over 4,000 throwing yards this season and tied for the national lead with 37 touchdown passes. And this week, the USC QB was honored as the 2022 CBS Sports Player of the Year and 2022 CBS Sports All-Star. Williams scored 11 touchdowns in USC's last three games against UCLA, Notre Dame, and Utah, all against ranked opponents. Despite USC's elimination from the CFP on Friday following a defeat to Utah in the Pac-12 title game, Williams is still the betting favorite to win the award.
TCU. QB Mac Duggan
Duggan, who led TCU to a perfect regular season, passed for 3,321 yards, 30 touchdowns, and just four interceptions this season. As the quarterback of the lone FBS team to win every game against its league opponents, Duggan edges out the competition for the No. 2 spot. The Iowa senior will lead TCU against Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl, with the winner advancing to the national championship game.