The NCAA transfer portal.
Is it good for college football? Or is it detrimental to the game?
Coaches, and many others, are divided on this. It is a debate that will be ongoing across the college football landscape.
While it does, many coaches are taking full advantage of the portal to improve their rosters and fill some needs that may not have been fully met in recruiting.
Florida coach Dan Mullen has been one of the most proactive coaches in the nation taking advantage of the portal. Over the past year, he’s added seven transfers to his roster, including three who were five-star recruits coming out of high school. Two of those five stars are eligible this season.
So, there’s no doubt that transfers are going to have an impact with the Gators in 2020. UF isn’t the only SEC school that likely will benefit from the portal this season.
Here’s a look at 10 transfers who could be influential in the SEC in 2020:
Brenton Cox, DE/OL, Florida — A transfer from Georgia, this five-star prospect had hoped to play last fall, but did not get a favorable ruling from the NCAA that would have made him eligible. That may turn out to be good for the Gators. After sitting out last season — and impressing everyone with his play on the scout team — Cox is expected to battle Jeremiah Moon and others for the starting role at the rush-end position where Jon Greenard excelled last season. He has three years of eligibility remaining.
Lorenzo Lingard, RB, Florida — He did get a favorable ruling from the NCAA, according to his announcement on Twitter over the weekend, and now will be a major contender in the competition to replace Lamical Perine. Coming out of University High School in Orange City two years ago, Lingard was a five-star recruit, rated the No. 2 running back in the nation and the Gatorade player of the year in Florida. He signed with Miami, but made the move to UF to be closer to his father, who is having health issues.
Stewart Reese, OL, Florida — The older brother of UF sophomore linebacker David Reese, he is the latest to transfer to Florida. As a graduate transfer, he is immediately eligible. In three seasons at Mississippi State, he played in 34 games and showed the ability to play both tackle and guard. He brings a lot of experience to a UF line that is still relatively inexperienced. He could be an instant starter for the Gators at either guard or tackle.
Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia — When Jake Fromm announced he was leaving early for the NFL, Kirby Smart went in search of a new potential starting quarterback, and he found one in Newman, a dual-threat QB who had a big year at Wake Forest last season. As a graduate transfer, he’s immediately eligible and UGA’s likely starting quarterback. But keep an eye on J.T. Daniel, a former five-star recruit who is transferring in from Southern Cal and will be seeking a waiver from the NCAA to become eligible this season. If he gets it, the Bulldogs will have an epic QB battle on their hands in August.
Jabril Cox, LB, LSU — Man, the recruiting services were way off on this guy. He was rated a two-star prospect coming out of high school and signed with North Dakota State, where he turned out to be a five-star player and a two-time FCS All-American. He’s an explosive defensive playmaker who should be an instant starter — and impact player — for the Tigers.
Feleipe Franks, QB, Arkansas — This former four-star recruit had an up-and-down career at Florida, but put together an impressive sophomore season in 2018 in which he threw for 2,457 yards and 24 touchdowns. After getting injured early last season and seeing the emergence of Kyle Trask, Franks felt it was time to move on. A fresh start might be just what he needs to reach his considerable potential.
K.J. Costello, QB, Mississippi State — After starting 25 games in three seasons at Stanford, this graduate transfer is the presumptive starter at QB for new head coach Mike Leach. If Leach can find some receivers for Costello, he could put up some tremendous numbers in Leach’s intricate, wide-open offense.
Scott Lashley, OT, Mississippi State — This big guy (6-7, 310) has already been penciled in as a starter at right tackle for the Bulldogs. Lashley is a former four-star recruit who signed with Alabama and saw considerable playing time for the Tide the past two seasons. As a graduate transfer, he’s eligible for the 2020 season.
Cade Mays, OL, Tennessee — After Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman left to become the new head coach at Arkansas, Mays, a former five-star recruit, decided it was time to return home and play for the same school his father did, and with the team his brother signed with in December — UT. Mays started in seven games as a true freshman for the Bulldogs in 2018 and played in 14 games last season. He’s physical and versatile — and likely a starter from Day One with the Vols.
Joey Gatewood, QB, Kentucky — If he gets a special waiver from the NCAA making him eligible this season, this true dual-threat quarterback from Auburn has a chance to be the starter for the Wildcats in 2020. He seems to fit what UK wants to do offensively and former starter Terry Wilson, who injured his knee early last season, still has no timetable for returning to full health. Gatewood has great size (6-5, 233) and a big arm — and maybe an opportunity to display both this season.