Michigan Claims Top Spot in Final Coaches Poll as Players Hit Transfer Portal

Michigan sits at No. 1 spot in final US LBM Coaches Poll of the season

The US LBM Coaches Poll decided the Michigan Wolverines are the best team of the 2023 season. Dan Wolken reflects on what lies ahead for next CFB season.

The end of spring practices across the country signals the reopening of the college football transfer portal. Many players who have gone through offseason workouts are looking for new homes after finding their current roster situation isn’t to their liking. Others may have been told their opportunities to see the field aren’t promising or that their playing time this fall will be diminished.

Some of those looking for new opportunities will be familiar names or heralded recruits who can step into their programs and provide immediate impact. Who are the best ones available in this cycle?

Here’s the best of the best that will be in demand from schools looking to improve their rosters:

KeAndre Lambert-Smith, WR, Penn State

Lambert-Smith considered entering the NFL draft after leading the Nittany Lions with 673 receiving yards. His return was seen as a major coup with Penn State in need of receiving options to help make its offense more explosive against top defenses. But Lambert-Smith won’t be part of that group this fall and will look to make an impact elsewhere.

Damien Martinez, RB, Oregon State

A running back that totaled more than 1,000 yards rushing in a Power Five league last season is going to draw interest from major programs. Martinez put up big numbers for the Beavers last year and stayed this spring despite the loss of coach Jonathan Smith to MIchigan State and the school in a transition phase with the Pac-12 down to two teams. Now he is available on the market and should be in demand.

Kaydn Proctor, OL, Iowa

It’s already been an eventful career for Proctor after just one season in college football. He committed to staying home at Iowa as one of the top high school recruits in the 2023 class before signing with Alabama. As a freshman, he was an immediate starter for the Crimson Tide but decided to transfer to the Hawkeyes after the retirement of Nick Saban. A few months, later, Proctor is back in the portal and looks to be return to Tuscaloosa.

Damonic Williams, DL, TCU

A two-year starter for the Horned Frogs, Williams helped the team to the College Football Playoff title game as a freshman and followed that up with 33 tackles and three sacks in 2023. He is expected to draw attention from any number of teams looking to fortify their defensive line.

Cormani McClain, DB, Colorado

One of the prized high-school recruits from the first recruiting class of Deion Sanders, McClain struggled to make his mark in his one season with the Buffaloes. He played in nine games and registered 13 tackles. Previously committed to Miami, McClain could potentially return to his home state of Florida or be wooed elsewhere.

Tacario Davis, DB, Arizona

Davis is one of many significant losses for the Wildcats after the departure of coach Jedd Fisch to Washington. He led the Pac-12 with 15 pass breakups and will be a valuable addition to a team seeking an immediate starter in the secondary.

Elijah Herring, LB, Tennessee

It’s rare to see a leading tackler from an SEC school available in the portal. Herring’s decision to leave Knoxville after starting 11 games and posting 80 tackles comes with his playing time uncertain due to the return of Keenan Pili. Still, his production makes him an attractive option for programs with a need in the middle of their defense.

Jason Zandamela, OL, Southern California

One of the top signings for the Trojans last December, Zandamela leaves after going through his first spring practice. He may not be ready to make be an instant starter this fall but this is a potential project in the interior of the offensive line that could pay big dividends in the future.

Peny Boone, RB, Louisville

Boone ran for 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns for Toledo last season before making the move to Louisville this winter. But after spring practice with the Cardinals, he is on the move again and should have plenty of options. His size (6-1, 242 pounds) is unique to the position.

Jaden Rashada, QB, Arizona State

It’s already been quite a college journey for Rashada. He signed with Florida in 2023 and left before the season after a fallout with his NIL deal that now has the Gators under NCAA investigation. He started the first two games for the Sun Devils before an injury sidelined him until the team’s final game against Arizona. Now, he’ll try to find his footing at another program.

Sam Brown, WR, Houston

The leading receiver for the Cougars is headed out to catch passes for another school. Brown totaled 815 yards on 62 catches in a breakout season. His skills should be valued by any team looking for a wide receiver that can play right away.

Jacoby Mathews, DB, Texas A&M

It’s been an offseason of transition for the Aggies with Mike Elko taking over for Jimbo Fisher. Matthews is the latest starter from last year’s defense that is departing for a portal. He registered 42 tackles in his first season of major contribution.

2024-04-24 12:09:46
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