The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (2024)

Heisman Trophy winners and transfer 'busts' headline biggest portal entries of all-time.

Grant Hughes

The college football transfer portal has radically changed the sport since its inception, and several of the decade's greatest players have utilized it, including Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 NFL Draft pick Caleb Williams. We sifted through our rankings and identified the 14 transfers that earned a 98 rating in the portal era and ranked them.

The NCAA's transfer portal opened on Oct. 15, 2018, but evolved into its current state in 2021, when the NCAA permitted players to transfer without incurring a one-year penalty in sports where it wasn't already permitted: football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and men's hockey.

We used our proprietary transferrating system to identify and rank the transfers in this list. When ratings were tied, we used class rankings and our own intuition to assign each player. It's important to note that these rankings reflect how each player was regarded when they entered the portal, with no judgment placed on how their careers panned out at new stops.

RELATED (VIP): Latest transfer portal predictions, news on top uncommitted players as spring window closes

Here are the 14 best players to enter the transfer portal, ranked:

14. Julian Sayin, QB, Alabama to Ohio State

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (2)

Transfer Rating (2024): 0.9800

Sayin, a former five-star, rated as the No. 20 overall prospect and No. 3 quarterback in the class of 2024. He transferred from Alabama to Ohio State after Nick Saban's retirement and figures to be a big piece of the Buckeyes' quarterback room going forward. Word from camp is that Sayin has had an up-and-down start to spring ball but has the potential to enter the season top-two on the depth chart.

"He has had some very good moments but also still has looked like a freshman at times. Living up to the billing so far. He could be the backup depending on what happens with others," a sourceat Bucknuts told us.

13. EVAN STEWART, WR, TEXAS A&M TO OREGON

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (3)

Transfer Rating (2024): 0.9800

A former five-star recruit, Stewart ranked as the No. 6 overall prospect and No. 1 receiver in the class of 2022. He dealt with inconsistent quarterback play during his two seasons with Texas A&M and caught 38 passes for 514 yards and four touchdowns across eight games this season. Stewart took a shot at his former school earlier this week.

"Honestly, everything is just so much better here," Stewart said, comparing Oregon to Texas A&M.

12. Eli Ricks, CB, LSU to Alabama

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (4)

Transfer Rating (2022): 0.9800

Ricks was tabbed one of 2022's biggest busts in the transfer portal after an underwhelming one-year stint with the Crimson Tide. He started his tenure in Tuscaloosa in the doghouse after an arrest in May 2022 and never developed into the lock-down cornerback many expected after earning five-star billing in high school. He went undrafted in the 2023 NFL Draft and saw action in 16 games with the Philadelphia Eagles as a rookie last season, notching three pass break-ups.

11. JAHMYR GIBBS, RB, GEORGIA TECH to ALABAMA

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (5)

Transfer Rating (2022): 0.9800

After two strong seasons at Georgia Tech, Gibbs transferred to Alabama and had the best season of his collegiate career in 2022. He ran 151 times for 926 yards and seven touchdowns while catching 44 passes for 444 yards and three scores en route to second-team All-SEC honors. He backed up his stellar tape with a blazing 4.36s 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. The Detroit Lions selected him No. 12 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft and he put up 1,261 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns as a rookie.

10. ISAIAH BOND, WR, ALABAMA to TEXAS

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (6)

Transfer Rating (2024): 0.9800

Bond was the first Alabama player to hit the transfer portal after Nick Saban announced hisretirement Jan. 10. The sophom*ore finished with 48 catches for 668 yards and four touchdowns this past season and was on the receiving end of the fourth-and-31 touchdown pass in Alabama's thrilling 27-24 win over Auburn in late November. Hesaid his decision to transfer to Texas was a"business decision."

"Just like thebusiness world, you make the best decision for your company," Bond said. "My company right now is my draft stock. I feel like I'm putting myself in position to increase that and have better draft stock."

9. JORDAN ADDISON, WR, PITTSBURGH to USC

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (7)

Transfer Rating (2022): 0.9800

Addison took the college football world by storm in 2021, when he caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top wide receiver. His subsequent transfer to USC to pair up with Caleb Williams and Lincoln Riley stunned the nation. He led the Trojans in three receiving categories with 59 catches, 875 yards and eight touchdowns despite missing three games due to injury and certified himself as a first-round NFL Draft selection along the way.

8. ADONAI MITCHELL, WR, GEORGIA to TEXAS

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (8)

Transfer Rating (2023): 0.9800

After winning back-to-back national championships at Georgia in 2021 and 2022 — and catching a touchdown in all four of the Bulldogs' College Football Playoff games — Mitchell decided he wanted to be closer to his 2-year-old daughter, Icylinn, who was living with Mitchell's parents just outside of Houston. He transferred to Texas last offseason and caught 55 passes for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns, including a 1-yard touchdown reception in Texas' 37-31 CFP semifinal loss to Washington.

7. Denver Harris, CB, TEXAS A&M to LSU

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (9)

Harris committed to Texas A&M as a top 50 player in the Aggies' historic 2022 recruiting class. His talent has been overshadowed by multiple controversies since entering the college ranks. He was suspended twice at Texas A&M and was involved in an altercation at an LSU practice ahead of his first and only season with the Tigers in 2023. He saw action in five games in Baton Rouge before missing the final seven contests for undisclosed reasons. He re-entered the portal, this time as the No. 150 overall transfer, this offseason and landed at UTSA.

6. WALTER NOLEN, DL, TEXAS A&M to OLE MISS

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (10)

Transfer Rating (2024): 0.9900

Nolen headlined Texas A&M's historic 2022 recruiting class. The former five-star and No. 1 overall recruit played in a total of 22 games and made 14 starts in two seasons with the Aggies, recording 66 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss and five sacks. He also notched a pass breakup, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He's the crown jewel of an Ole Miss transfer class that ranks second in the nation behind Texas A&M.

5. KADYN PROCTOR, OT, ALABAMA to Iowa to Alabama

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (11)

Transfer Rating (2024): 0.9900

Proctor is the highest-ranked offensive lineman to enter the transfer portal since its inception.He left Alabama after Nick Saban's departure for Iowa but landed back at the Crimson Tide less than three months later. He started every game at left tackle for the Crimson Tide last season, earning a 66.3 PFF College grade, which ranked second nationally among all true freshmen starting offensive linemen. The former five-star prospect ranked as the No. 5 overall recruit and No. 1 offensive tackle in the class of 2023.

4. CALEB DOWNS, S, ALABAMA to Ohio State

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (12)

Transfer Rating (2024): 0.9900

Ohio State added three of the top-10 transfers from the winter window. That group include Downs, a five-star safety who starred as a true freshman at Alabama in 2023. The 6-foot, 203-pound safety started in all 14 games and earned the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year award in college football. Downs totaled 107 tackles, becoming the first freshman in Crimson Tide history to lead the program in stops. He also had two interceptions, three pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

3. TRAVIS HUNTER, CB/WR, JACKSON STATE to COLORADO

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (13)

Transfer Rating (2023):0.9900

A lacerated liver may have limited Hunter to nine games, but last offseason's highest-profile transfer still made a big splashin his first season atColorado. Hunter starred on both sides of the ball and further asserted himself as an elite prospect for the 2025 NFL Draft. He racked up 50 tackles and three interceptions on defense and caught57 balls for 721 yards and five touchdowns on offense, averaging a mind-boggling 116 snaps per game.

2. QUINN EWERS, QB, OHIO STATE to TEXAS

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (14)

Transfer Rating (2022):1.0000

Ewers has long been considered an elite NFL prospect, projecting as a future first-round pick during his high school career. The former five-star recruit was the No. 1 overall player in the 2021 class, and after initially signing with Ohio State, transferred to Texas as the No. 2 player in the 2022 transfer portal cycle behind Caleb Williams. After an up-and-down first season with the Longhorns, Ewers came into his own last season and threw for 3,479 yards and 22 touchdowns with six interceptions, leading Texas to its first College Football Playoff.

1. CALEB WILLIAMS, QB, OKLAHOMA to USC

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (15)

Transfer Rating (2022):1.0000

No question here. The No. 1 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft racked up 4,537 passing yards and 42 touchdowns with just five interceptions throughout a historic campaign in his first year with the Trojans. He added another 10 touchdowns on the ground. While he fell short of Heisman contention in 2023, Williams still registered 3,633 yards and 30 touchdowns through the air, finishing the campaign as the nation's seventh-leading passer on a per-game basis.

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked (2024)

FAQs

The highest-rated players in college football transfer portal era, ranked? ›

There are currently 3,843 names in the FBS transfer portal, per a source, which smashed the previous record of 3,502 set in the 2022-23 cycle. More than 1,200 of those names entered during this spring's 15-day window, injecting a jolt into college football midway through spring practice for many programs.

How many college football players used the the transfer portal? ›

There are currently 3,843 names in the FBS transfer portal, per a source, which smashed the previous record of 3,502 set in the 2022-23 cycle. More than 1,200 of those names entered during this spring's 15-day window, injecting a jolt into college football midway through spring practice for many programs.

How long does the transfer portal last in college football? ›

For example, in college basketball, athletes have a 44-day window (March 18 to May 1) to enter the portal and select another school. In college football, there are two windows, one that runs from early December until early January, followed by a 15-day spring window that begins and ends in April.

What is 247Sports? ›

247Sports is an American network of websites that focus mainly on athletic recruitment in college football and basketball.

What happens if you enter the transfer portal and don't get picked up? ›

If you are currently receiving financial aid of any type, make sure you're aware of the terms. If you are on an athletic scholarship when you enter the Transfer Portal and do not get picked up by another school, your scholarship status could be at risk as early as the following term.

How many times can an NCAA player enter the transfer portal? ›

The legislation will not limit the number of times an athlete can transfer -- and there are still two transfer windows -- but they can't transfer midyear and play for a second school in the same season.

Do you lose your scholarship if you enter the transfer portal? ›

According to the NCAA, once a student-athlete enters the transfer portal, their current institution has the ability to cancel or reduce their scholarship for the upcoming academic year. This means that a student-athlete may indeed lose their scholarship if they decide to enter the transfer portal.

Why are so many players entering the transfer portal? ›

If a college athlete is not happy with their NIL income, the transfer portal has become leverage for a player to seek out more NIL money at a different institution or attempt to renegotiate with their current school (not actually the school, but usually the school's affiliated collective).

Can a college football player transfer every year? ›

7 to challenge the NCAA's transfer eligibility rule as an illegal restraint on college athletes under the Sherman Antitrust Act. The NCAA, which has allowed a one-time, penalty-free transfer since 2021, still required multi-time transfers to sit out a year and forgo one season of eligibility, sans a waiver.

What does ath mean in football? ›

What does ATH stand for in football? It's shorthand for athlete, and you'll see some recruits' and signees' position listed as ATH. Of course, all players are athletes, but someone listed as an ATH plays multiple positions and what position he'll play in college is unknown.

What is a composite 5 star? ›

With that said, many view that the most useful and informative are the composite rankings that 247 sports put out. A five-star prospect is deemed to be amongst the top 30 players nationally, ones that are expected to immediately contribute as freshmen regardless of where they sign.

How much does 247Sports cost? ›

It's the best value on 247Sports.com! An annual subscription costs $107.40 plus applicable sales tax. You will be automatically billed once a year upon renewal.

Why are so many college football players entering the transfer portal? ›

If a college athlete is not happy with their NIL income, the transfer portal has become leverage for a player to seek out more NIL money at a different institution or attempt to renegotiate with their current school (not actually the school, but usually the school's affiliated collective).

How many student-athletes are in the transfer portal? ›

Thousands of student athletes now enter the college transfer portal each year in the hope of finding a better path to the pros. NCAA statistics show that between August 2021 and July 2022, more than 20,900 Division I student athletes entered the transfer portal. Of those, about 12,000 found a home at another college.

What is the transfer portal data for football? ›

The NCAA transfer portal allows student-athletes to sign up to transfer to another member institution by formally entering into the portal database. The database includes stats, positions and other information that allows member schools to scout players who may be a good fit for their team.

How many Clemson players entered the transfer portal? ›

The Tigers have lost 54 total players to the transfer portal in the last six years, and as you would expect, the number has grown annually. Clemson lost seven players in 2019, four players in 2020, eight in 2021, 11 in 2022 and 12 each in both 2023 and 2024.

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