In an offseason that was unlike any other, there was one trend that remained constant in the world of College Football. That trend would be the transfer portal. On December 3rd of 2019, 61 players entered the NCAA Transfer Portal. That was just in one day. In all of 2019, over 1,100 players had entered the transfer portal and through March of this year, the number was already at almost 1,000 with 968.
in this piece, taking a look at 7 NFL Draft Prospects who took advantage of the transfer portal. These players have a opportunity to greatly improve their draft stock this fall thanks to the transfer portal.
Raheem Blackshear, RB, Virginia Tech
The Philadelphia native Raheem Blackshear was a 3-star prospect coming out of Archbishop Wood High School. After committing to Rutgers, he made a huge impact upon his Piscataway arrival. Throughout his time as a Scarlet Knight, the team struggled mightily on offense. In his 3 years on campus, Rutgers ranked 121st, 130th, and 129th out of 130 in points per game at the FBS level.
But if there was a bright spot in that offense, without a doubt it was Blackshear. At Rutgers, Blackshear displayed his elite pass-catching ability and excellent shiftiness, which made him the sole weapon on that offense. In 2018, he led the offense in reception yards and rushing. At 5’9″ 190 pounds, he packs a punch to go along with his speed and agility. He decided to redshirt in 2019, so he has two years of eligibility left.
After 2019, Blackshear hit the transfer portal and found a new home at Virginia Tech. He is certainly in a much better situation in Virginia Tech, outside of the fact that the ACC will actually playing football this fall, unlike the Big Ten. He looks to be the feature back for the Hokies, who have a significantly better offense, which will give Blackshear a real opportunity to produce at a high level. The Hokies have Quarterback Hendon Hooker broke out and made a name for himself last season. If Hooker can continue to be effective in the air, Blackshear will no longer have to face stacked fronts all season and will be a strong ally for Hooker in the passing game.
D’Eriq King, QB, Miami
D’Eriq King was a high 3-star Dual-Threat QB from Texas, who stayed in his home state to play his college ball. King announced his commitment to Houston on Christmas Eve. He turned out being quite the Christmas present for the Houston football program. In 2018, which was his first year as the full-time starter for Houston and he made his mark in the NCAA. He threw for 36 touchdowns for just shy of 3,000 yards, to go along with 14 more touchdowns on the ground.
Those marks led him to be a semifinalist for the Maxwell and Earl Campbell awards. His true dual-threat ability made him a nightmare for teams to prepare for and King gained a ton of momentum. His athleticism and arm talent are a lethal combination that defenses struggled containing in 2018. Houston finished that season 5th in the NCAA in points per game with 44.
After Houston’s shaky start in 2019, King decided to redshirt and enter the transfer portal. Once the season concluded, King decided to take his talents to Coral Gables and become the new face of the Miami football program. He instantly became the favorite to start for the Hurricanes and has looked incredibly impressive on his new team. If he build on the success he had in 2018, his draft stock can very much rise and establish himself as the 3rd or 4th quarterback off the board behind Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence.
KJ Costello, QB, Mississippi State
KJ Costello was the third-ranked Quarterback prospect in the entire 2015 recruiting class by way of California. With his choice of any school in the country, Costello decided to head to Palo Alto and play for the Stanford Cardinal. At Stanford, Costello lived up to that high billing. Costello’s 2018 season was his most impressive, as he tossed 29 touchdowns and threw for over 3,500 yards that season. Those numbers helped earn him All-Pac 12 second team honors.
Costello upon graduating from the prestigious Stanford University, decided to take his grad-transfer year and head on down to Mississippi State via the transfer portal. Hail State’s new coach Mike Leach will be bringing down his patented Air Raid offense from the PAC-12 to the SEC. Leach and Costello who were once conference foes, will now be leading the Mississippi State offense this fall as Costello makes one last push for the NFL.
Coach Mike Leach has had great success with his last few quarterbacks in his scheme. Luke Falk, Gardner Minshew, and Anthony Gordon all thrived in this offense and posted video game-like numbers and are all currently playing at the next level. Although Costello may be the most talented out of that bunch, he is currently facing the daunting task of debuting Leach’s offense against SEC defenses. After an injury-plagued 2019, if Costello can overcome the challenge of playing in the SEC and build on his excellent 2018 season, his name will be called pretty early on in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Theo Howard, WR, Oklahoma
Theo Howard was a high 4-star prospect from California. He was the fifth-ranked wide receiver in the 2016 class and decided to stay home and play his college ball at UCLA. Howard was a two-year starter for UCLA and had an impressive 28-game reception streak over his time as a Bruin. The 2018 All-Pac 12 honorable mention is coming off of a injury plagued 2019 and is taking advantage of the transfer portal to get a shot at the NFL in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is very well known for their dynamic passing offense. They have become a factory for NFL Quarterback talent with Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and most recently Jalen Hurts. Now, with the number-one rated Quarterback in the 2018 class Spencer Rattler at the helm, expect the Sooner offense to remain potent going into 2020. Therefore, Howard’s crisp route running and amazing hands will have no greater stage to be on display for NFL scouts than in Norman, OK.
Quincy Roche, DE, Miami
D’Eriq King was not the only premier transfer portal signing to Miami this offseason. The 2019 AAC Defensive Player of the Year Quincy Roche became a Hurricane by way of the transfer portal this offseason. Roche was a low 3-star prospect from Maryland when he committed to Temple. He went on to far outproduce his rating, taking the field as soon as he became a Temple Owl. In his junior season, which was 2019 is where he made his biggest leap in production. Roche led the American conference with 13 sacks and 19 tackles for loss.
Roche brings great size, strength, and tenacity with him to Miami. His blend of speed and power off the edge, aided him in wrecking havoc in opposing backfields. Going into this season, Roche is widely considered a first-round draft prospect going into this season, and rightfully so. If he can repeat last season’s production, the Hurricanes are in for a treat having Roche play this season.
Meiko Dotson, CB, Florida State
Meiko Dotson was only a 2-star prospect coming out of Daytona Beach, Florida. He had a long journey to Florida State that started at Georgia Tech. From there, he went to Junior College at Garden City Community College in Kansas for 2017. After shining there, he moved back to his home state and enrolled at Florida Atlantic. Once he got to Boca Raton, he earned his opportunity to put the College Football world on notice.
Meiko Dotson led the entire NCAA in interceptions in his 2019 campaign, with 9. The 44 times he was targeted all season, he did not allow a single catch over 35 yards in the slot or the outside. His amazing play received the honor of making the PFF C-USA All Defense Team. Florida State has a real gift in Dotson on their defense. For as effective as he was on the outside, the slot might just be where he can be best used for the Seminoles. When targeted in the slot, Dotson allowed a QB passer rating of 46.1, which was 3rd lowest among other slot corners.
Considering the majority of his snaps were at outside corner, those are truly remarkable numbers by Dotson. Whatever Florida State decides to do with Dotson, as long as he is on the field he will be a huge playmaker for them.
Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
Jabril Cox will be a beneficiary of a new look LSU football program. The LSU Tigers are coming of an historic, undefeated national championship winning season last year. However, that came with a heavy price of losing most of their talent. 14 of last year’s starters were selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. Of those 14 former Tigers, the entire linebacking core got drafted. Who better to fill those shoes than the two-time FCS all american Jabril Cox.
Cox hails from Kansas City and played for the FCS powerhouse football program North Dakota State. In his 3 seasons at NDSU, Cox accumulated a number of accomplishments. He won the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Newcomer of the Year in 2017, MVC Defensive Player in the Year in 2018, and was a two-time national champion at North Dakota State.
After great success at the FCS level, Cox entered the transfer portal. He went on to find a new home in Baton Rouge, transferring to LSU. Cox has all the ability to end up being a first-round pick. He has great size at 6’3″ 225 pounds. in 3 seasons, he accumulated 258 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, and 14 sacks. He undoubtedly showed he could do it all at the FCS level. Now, that he brought his gifts to a much bigger stage in the SEC, expect hearing Cox’s name very early in the 2021 NFL Draft.