College football players still in transfer portal face challenging headwinds as spring semester begins

Former Hawkeyes fared better than national trends in finding new fits

College football players still in transfer portal face challenging headwinds as spring semester begins

Iowa quarterback Alex Padilla (8) throws a pass during warmups before Iowa’s win over Wisconsin at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Some of the athletes across college football who entered the transfer portal in the last 45 days could soon face a problem — a problem Kirk Ferentz predicted more than a month ago.

“A couple months from now, how many guys are going to be homeless in terms of leaving a scholarship situation and then ending up without one?” the Iowa head coach said a day before the first transfer portal window opened.

The recruiting site On3 Sports has tracked 1,840 players who entered the transfer portal. About 51 percent have committed to a new school, and about 2 percent have returned to their original school.

That leaves another 48 percent of players still looking for a home as spring semesters begin this week at many colleges across the country.

College football programs could fill some of its transfer-induced vacancies either with high school recruits or walk-ons worthy of a scholarship, so the remaining 48 percent have plenty of competition for opportunities.

Iowa’s 10 departing scholarship players have mostly fared better than the national trends, though.

Three ex-Hawkeyes — linebacker Jestin Jacobs and wide receivers Keagan Johnson and Arland Bruce IV — landed at other Power Five schools.

Jacobs went to Oregon, Johnson to Kansas State and Bruce to Oklahoma State. All three schools went to bowl games last season.

Another three — running back Gavin Williams and defensive backs Dallas Craddieth and Reggie Bracy — committed to smaller, “Group of Five” FBS schools. Craddieth committed to Kent State, Bracy to Troy and Williams to Northern Illinois.

One player — offensive lineman Josh Volk — committed to FCS-level Northern Iowa.

The three remaining players — quarterbacks Alex Padilla and Carson May and defensive back Terry Roberts — have not committed to a new school.

Roberts announced offers from several Power Five programs on social media, including Penn State, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Minnesota. May’s lack of signing is no surprise considering he did not enter the portal until Jan. 3.

Time is ticking for the uncommitted players to make a decision, though.

Officially, an athlete does not have to make their commitment during the portal entry windows. But in reality, the longer someone waits, the more likely they could be stuck without a home for the spring semester.

If someone committed in February and wanted to participate in spring football, for example, they would need to catch up on a month of schoolwork while also having offseason conditioning to do.

The likely scenario for those who do not commit somewhere soon — to train without a team and hope for an opportunity after spring practices — is not ideal.

Not having a scholarship for the spring semester would force athletes to either take a semester off from school or pay tuition somewhere. Roberts, Padilla and May no longer are listed on the University of Iowa’s student/staff directory.

The NCAA has eligibility requirements surrounding progress toward graduation, but Padilla and Roberts already have graduated.

The transfer portal windows — lasting from Dec. 5 to Jan. 18 and May 1 to May 15 — are new. The musical chairs-esque situation for players is not, however.

FBS players who entered the transfer portal between the 2020 and 2021 seasons enrolled at another NCAA school 54 percent of the time and withdrew from the portal 4 percent of the time, according to data released by the NCAA.

That leaves another 42 percent who either were still in the portal after the 2021 season, transferred to a junior college or NAIA school or left the sport.

Comments: [email protected]

Leave a Comment