The transfer portal continued to spin last season with no signs of slowing down. As the first college football games of 2022 begin this weekend, we take a look at the most compelling transfer stories in each Power Five conference. Next: Pac-12.
1. How good can USC transfers be — and how soon?
Lincoln Riley put a lot of pressure on himself at Pac-12 Media Days when he boldly announced that he had come USC win titles, win them now and win them for a long time. If he manages to win a conference championship in 2022, it will be because of his massive move to the transfer window.
No program in the country has brought more high-profile talent through the portal than the Trojans, including a former five-star quarterback. Caleb Williamswide angle receivers Jordan Addison and Mario Williams and runs back Travis Dye. The influx of talent makes USC one of the most intriguing teams in the country to watch this season. But will it be enough to turn a team that went just 4-8 last year into a Pac-12 title contender? The first real measuring stick should come on Sept. 10 when the Trojans travel to Stanford in week 2.
2. Can Bo Nix lead Oregon to a conference title?
Despite transferring from USC and UtahBased on the conference’s name a year ago, recruiting rankings would suggest the most talented team in the Pac-12 resides in Eugene. From 2019 to 2021 former head coach Mario Cristobal signed three top-10 recruiting classes, including the nation’s No. 3 class a year ago. Those signing classes included five five-star prospects.
in Dan LanningThe first season to replace Cristobal, the Ducks bring most of the talent back from the team they beat state of ohio on the road and looked like a College Football Playoff contender last season for a while. But the big question mark is the quarterback after graduation Anthony Brown. Lanning decided to bring Bo Nixthree-year start on Chestnuts, through the portal. While Nix was not named the starter for the team’s season opener Georgia however, he is widely expected to start.
Nix has been inconsistent throughout his maroon career, looking great at times and struggling with decision-making and ball security at times. However, it’s worth noting that Lanning should have a pretty good idea of what Nix is capable of, having coached against him in each of the last three seasons he’s been with Georgia. If Nix can find more consistency, he could have the type of talent around him that can not only contend for a conference title, but a CFP berth as well.
3. How will Washington State QB Cameron Ward adjust to Power Five football?
Cougar fans are excited about their team’s offense in 2022 thanks in large part to a trio of new faces. Jake Dickert took over as thrown away Nick Rolovic during the offseason and committed to running a “Coug Raid”-like offense Mike Leach“Air Raid” philosophy. Quatterbacking that pass-happy unit will Cameron Wardand his primary catcher could be Robert Ferrellboth transferred from FCS Incarnate Word.
Ward and Ferrell put up huge numbers last season. Ward threw for 4,648 yards, 47 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 13 games. Ferrell caught 74 passes for 815 yards and nine scores. The question, of course, is how much the jump to the Pac-12 will affect their productivity. Ward, in particular, impressed during the team’s spring game, but there’s no telling how he’ll handle the likes WisconsinOregon and Utah in live game action until we see it.
4. Which other transfer quarterbacks will live up to the hype?
No power conference has seen as much turnover behind center as the Pac-12. In addition to USC, Oregon and Washington State, four other programs have brought in quarterbacks from the transfer portal who are expected to start their season, meaning more than half of the conference will trigger signal transfers. This list includes Jayden de Laura in Arizona, Emory Jones in state of arizona, Jack Plummer in California and Michael Penix in Washington.
Each of these four players comes with previous Power Five starting experience, but with some question marks. De Laura earned Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors last season, starting 11 games at Washington State. He threw for 2,798 yards and 23 touchdowns. However, he will need to cut down on turnovers after 13 saves in 16 career games. Jones comes to Arizona State from Florida, where he put up solid numbers last season but struggled to lead his team to wins. In addition, Jones added to his stats with great performances against Vanderbilt and Samford and was expected to lose his starting job Anthony Richardson this year. Plummer started 13 games over three seasons for Purdue but lost his job Aidan O’Connell after four games a year ago. Penix helped guide Indiana to one of the best seasons in school history in 2020 and was garnering preseason buzz for the Heisman before last season, but he didn’t seem fully recovered from the ACL injury he suffered late in the 2020 campaign and struggled mightily. last fall Huskie fans will be hoping for a reunion between Penix and Washington’s new head coach Kalen DeBoerwho coached Penix as Indiana’s offensive coordinator in 2019, will bring the best out of the fifth-year senior.
5. Can Arizona State’s transfer additions save Herm Edwards’ job?
Any list of coaching hot spots in the Pac-12 begins Herm Edwards. The former NFL head coach led the Sun Devils to the postseason in each of his three full years on the sidelines, but an NCAA investigation into the program’s recruiting violations led to turmoil this offseason. Five full-time assistant coaches (including the offensive and defensive coordinators) left the staff, a number of players were transferred (including a starting linebacker Jayden Daniels) and the Sun Devils signed just six high school prospects in the 2022 class.
Through it all, Edwards will have a chance to save his job with a strong season. And if he does, it will be thanks to the transfers he’s added to the roster to make up for the departures. Jones is the headliner, but Arizona State also added several other players who are expected to play significant roles right away, including former Wyoming Run back Xazavian ValladayVanderbilt transfer wide receiver Cam Johnson and former Miami defensive line Nesta Jade Silvera.