The NCAA has finally approved a one-time transfer exception for all players in every sport.
The Division I Council voted to approve a plan that will allow all college athletes to transfer one time as an undergraduate without having to sit out a season, which was made official by the NCAA on Thursday. Most players had been getting deemed eligible over the last few seasons regardless.
Thursday’s official ruling is going to allow several high-level transfers to play for their new schools this season. Florida running back DeMarkcus Bowman is the biggest transfer name in 2021.
He joins the Gators after not playing much for Clemson. Bowman rushed nine times for 36 yards in two games before making the decision to transfer. He was the No. 2-ranked running back in the 2020 class. Circa Sports has Florida listed at 47/1 to win the 2022 College Football Playoff.
Tennessee had several key players transfer following the firing of head coach Jeremy Pruitt. The Vols lost running back Eric Gray, who is headed to Oklahoma after being Tennessee’s biggest offensive weapon last season.
Gray rushed for 772 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. The Sooners have had their rushing attack average at least five yards per attempt in four of their last five seasons, so Gray is expected to follow suit.
He was listed at 150/1 to win the Heisman Trophy heading into the 2020 season and is a former top 100 prospect. Oklahoma, which is listed at +750 to win the title, is losing running back Rhamondre Stevenson.
The Sooners have this season’s Heisman Trophy ‘chalk’ under center in quarterback Spencer Rattler (+400). They added former Tennessee offensive lineman Wanya Morris to the fold this offseason as well. Morris was a five-star prospect in the 2019 class and started 19 games during his first two seasons.
The Tennessee-to-Oklahoma pipeline doesn’t stop there, though. Safety Key Lawrence was the Vols’ top recruit in the 2020 class, but he decided to make the move to Norman. The Sooners are losing several key pieces in the secondary, so Lawrence is expected to play an important role in 2021.
247Sports has one other former Tennessee player listed in their list of top impact transfers this season as well. Running back Ty Chandler, who split time with Gray, will play for North Carolina in 2021.
The Tar Heels picked up a back who ranks fifth in Tennessee history in all-purpose yards. Chandler will play alongside quarterback Sam Howell, who is 12/1 to win the Heisman Trophy. North Carolina is priced at 40/1 to win the CFP.
This year’s most impactful quarterback transfer is expected to be McKenzie Milton, who went from UCF to Florida State after sitting out for the last two seasons. Milton dislocated his right knee and suffered ligament, nerve and artery damage during a game against South Florida in 2018.
He is competing with Jordan Travis, Chubba Purdy and Tate Rodemaker for the starting job at FSU this season. Milton started 33 games for UCF and says he feels good physically.
“I feel really good out there,” Milton told reporters earlier this week. “I don’t feel any hiccups or anything like that running around. I feel comfortable out on the field, seeing the field. I feel like I need to continue to get in my playbook and continue to get reps…but I feel very confident out there.”
Florida State opens the season against Notre Dame on Sept. 5. The Seminoles are 150/1 longshots to win the CFP at Circa Sports.
There are still some big names in the portal as the summer quickly approaches. Former five-star tight end Arik Gilbert is one of them. He left LSU in December and entered the portal, committing to Florida.
Gilbert then decommitted from Florida and entered the portal for a second time. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said he met with Gilbert recently and a return to the Tigers certainly seems to be a possibility. Gilbert was the team’s top pass catcher before opting out of the final two games of the 2020 season.
Former Old Dominion cornerback Kaleb Ford-Dement is another name still floating around. He originally committed to UCLA in early February, but decommitted later in the month. Ford-Dement is getting looks from Georgia, Michigan State and Minnesota.