In case you missed it, last spring I dove into the success rates of transfer quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. And at first glance, it looks like transfers, and transfer success in general is on the rise. Quarterback transfers certainly look like the safest play. Wide receiver transfers are trending in that direction. And transfer running backs – although we don’t have a huge sample – seem like they can hit in the perfect storm. In fact, just this past year we saw two more transfer running backs see Day 2 NFL Draft Capital: Antonio Gibson and Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Things are looking up for these transfers after all. This coming season we may see the highest number of success story transfers ever too.
Due to the COVID restrictions during the recruiting cycle, gobs of returning super seniors with an extra year of eligibility — and thus record numbers of transfers looking to find a home in college football — are going to shatter the total transfer records two or three times over when it’s all said and done.
Don’t believe it? Take Western Kentucky, for example, this year. They realized they couldn’t win the recruiting cycle amid a coaching change and restricted recruiting guidelines, so they brought in a program-record 14 transfers this year. And that’s just one team! Things are going to get interesting for a number of these transfers and programs reshaping entire rosters thanks to the transfer portal and extra year of eligibility for anyone who wants it due to the pandemic.
But what transfer players should we be expecting the most from this year? And which ones actually have the best shot at an NFL future? Let’s take it position by position and dive into the top players we should target for future NFL fantasy football value.
1. Eric Gray, RB Oklahoma (from Tennessee)
Eric Gray is everybody’s favorite transfer running back this year, just like Trey Sermon (leaving Oklahoma for Ohio State) last year. And at first glance, there’s good reason for this hype.
Gray opened up his career with a decent start in 2019, posting a 56% backfield dominator rating. He stacked up over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in just nine games last fall amidst the dumpster fire that was the Tennessee football program last year. He certainly has some intriguing talent and early Day 2 draft capital upside if all goes well at Oklahoma. Plus, there’s a good shot the powerful Lincoln Riley offense helps propel Gray up draft boards.
But there may be two problems standing in Gray’s way: Kennedy Brooks and Seth McGowan. Brooks took the year off last fall, but already has two 1,000-yard seasons for the Sooners. McGowan burst onto the scene last year as a productive true freshman that finished second in yards from scrimmage for Oklahoma. Will the Sooners feature Gray or split the load between three fully capable dual-threat running backs?