Watching the college football graduate transfer market

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It’s slowly become fashionable to graduate in three years as a college football player and seek greener pastures as a transfer. Welcome to college football’s version of NFL’s unrestricted free agency.

In some cases, players just never reached their potential. Perhaps a coaching change in some instances expedited the process of leaving the program. Nearly 50 percent of the players looking for a fresh start have been elite national recruits according to 247 Sports.

The players in the highest demand are the quarterbacks. Even a signal caller who was a backup in one program could patch a hole in another.

NFL potential or just hope fuels the transfer engine. Nearly every college football player who straps on a helmet has been told at one time or another that they can play in the NFL. Often times, the advice is misguided. I have been monitoring for the past couple of weeks since the college football season officially concluded. There were a few grad transfers expected to cut ties with their current program. There will always be a team where a grad transfer can plug in and play immediately.

Close to home, Tulane center Junior Diaz was granted his release after graduating in December. The 6-foot-2, 300 pounder from Miami started 18 contests during his career with the Green Wave, including 11 this past season. Look for Stanford to be a possible landing spot for Diaz.

On a side note, I also expect the Green Wave staff to give sophomore guard Corey Dublin a long look at center in spring drills. That would be an ideal fit for the Jesuit alum.

Drew Barker is a grad quarterback transfer leaving the University of Kentucky. The former 4 star prospect in the 2014 class won the starter’s job for the Wildcats in 2016, but was overtaken this season by Stephen Johnson. Barker (6-3, 222) chose Kentucky over Tennessee and South Carolina.

Jalen McClendon (6-5, 222) played in the Matt Canada offense at North Carolina State. The former 4 star quarterback will graduate in May and will be free to look for a new home. Starter Ryan Finley returns for the Wolfpack in ’18.

Former Miami quarterback Evan Sherriffs (6-5, 210) graduated in three years. As a bonus for this transfer, he will have two years of eligibility remaining. The Jefferson, Ga. product will walk across the stage in May and will not have to sit out in the fall.

Keller Chryst (6-5, 234) was the Stanford starter in 2017, but unseated during the season by sophomore K.J. Costello. For his career, Chryst has thrown for 1,785 yards (56.3% completions) with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. His dad is the Denver Broncos tight ends coach (with 27 years in NFL) and his uncle is the head coach at Wisconsin.

Jeff George Jr. is an Illinois grad and son of ex-NFL QB Jeff George. The Indianapolis, Indiana native played in seven games in ’17 for Illini with 1,273 yards passing, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. George (6-3, 205) will have two years of eligibility at his next stop.

Dual threat quarterback Brandon Dawkins from Thousand Oaks, California did not want to sit and watch Arizona Wildcats starter Khalil Tate. The grad transfer is seeking a better situation after pacing UA in rushing (1,029 yards and 10 TD’s) and passing (1,348 yards, 8 TD’s, 6 INT’s) in 2016.

Arizona State QB Brady White (6-2, 202) was a top prospect in 2015. He grew tired of holding clipboard with the Sun Devils so White has headed to Memphis as grad transfer where starter Riley Ferguson is headed to NFL. Former Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell is now head coach at Memphis.

Wide receiver Dylan Collie (5-10, 175) transferred from BYU, where he was a 2012 signee, and tallied 89 catches for 968 yards and 8 TD’s the past two seasons for Hawai’i. He will have one season left whevever he ends up, even if he decided to return to BYU.

Calvin Anderson is an intriguing prospect and a rare commodity as a proven three-year starter at left tackle for Rice. He will be in high demand in the open market. The 6-foot-5, 300 pound product of Austin, Texas has drawn interest from Texas, Michigan, Auburn, TCU, Oklahoma and others.

Offensive guard Venzell Boulware (6-3, 306) graduates in either the spring or summer from Tennessee. This fall he plans to join the Miami Hurricanes where he will have two seasons to play.

Mammoth offensive tackle Kevin Feder out of Ramsey, New Jersey is an Ohio State grad transfer. Feder (6-9, 303) will have two seasons to contribute at his next destination.

Jahvoni Simmons (5-11, 235), a redshirt sophomore linebacker, is leaving Virginia with degree in hand.

Darrion Owens (6-3, 240), former Miami linebacker, played in 12 games in 2017, contributing 32 tackles. He was December graduate.

The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns could be a significant benefactor in the grad transfer business. Cornerback Kendall Johnson (6-0, 190) earned All State honors at St. Thomas More before moving on to be a two-year starter at Nevada where he recorded 102 career tackles and 10 PBU. He is headed home to Cajunland for his final season of college football. Johnson was recruited by Tulane, Tulsa, Nevada, La. Tech and ULM in 2013.

A pair of Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish contributors, WR/KR CJ. Sanders and DT Pete Mokuwah, both graduated early. Sanders (5-8, 181) and Mokuwah (6-4, 325) have one season remaining at their next stops.

For many of these men, along with a few others, the recruiting process awaits for the second time during their football career. They are older and wiser, and hopefully the next decision is the best one yet.

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Rene Nadeau

Rene Nadeau

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…

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