I’m a huge fan of soccer. That’s right, the OTHER football. Nine grueling months of matches that amounts to just one team being really happy and three teams wishing they could stay in the league. But, every January and July-September, they have what is known as the transfer window. All it does is lead to a tremendous amount of chaos, speculation, and sometimes the right story. Players from all over the world are linked with the club you root for, and 99.9% of the time it’s just a bunch of phooey. Only a handful of guys end up being with the club you support, and now it’s officially college football’s turn.
The college football transfer portal has turned into a machine of speculation that every “die hard” fan gets to post his/her wishes of the players they want to see. The trusted media outlets and universities themselves get to tell you of the correct ones, but most of the time coaches either have to ignore what other people say or flat out deny what has been said by internet recruiters.
Nebraska fans will clamor all winter/spring/summer long about who they would like to see at the helm running the Husker offense. Take the man pictured above, Kansas State QB Will Howard. He has officially entered the transfer portal, and now Husker fans will want him to come up north to Nebraska. He has ties with a former Husker QB who transferred to Kansas State recently (Adrian Martinez), and now people will look to Adrian to try and recruit Howard because Martinez is back working with the Husker program. Don’t get me wrong, I like Howard as an option, but let’s pull the reigns back a little and let the program do the work.
Nebraska fans, me included, would also like to take the time to look at other positions of need. Losing multiple upperclassmen due to injury/leaving the team left the wide receiver room barer than old-mother Hubbard’s cupboard. The young guns of Lloyd, Doss and Coleman were all thrown into the fire prematurely in my opinion, but overall impressed me with how quickly they learned and settled in when the time came. Having said that, Nebraska has usually gone into the portal to find at least one upperclassman in the wide receiver area. Time will tell whom that might be, but it will be fun to see the names that come out.
Tony White’s group has largely been praised throughout the season, but don’t think it was just entirely due to the guys who were already there. Transfers played a big role in the new system here, with a few notable guys in the forms of Omar Brown, Phalen Sanford, and MJ Sherman. The defense had to learn on the fly with the 3-3-5 like we did, even if they were here under the last coaching staff. Transfers can play a big role, whether it is depth or starting pieces.
One thing that might help with the defense in the transfer portal is the fact the defense was one of the best statistically in the country. Guys who might want more playing time but want to come to a team with a stronger defense might look to see what Nebraska accomplished, even against a really weak B1G West division. The divisions are now gone, which means the schedule is likely to be tougher on a yearly basis, and strong defenders will be great coming from the portal.
The one thing I would look at for Nebraska in the coming months is this, how many guys bail? If they believe in the system, expect only a handful of names to go away. That also means not many transfers will be coming in, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Nebraska isn’t looking to blow the team up and start over, like Deion did with Colorado. It’s relying on the fact that it can truly develop guys, so the need for transfers will probably be slimmer than most universities. Yes, a key transfer is always crucial, but I feel it never outweighs the overall recruiting of the guys who want to be here for their entire career.
For those that aren’t in the College Football Playoff, most teams (even bowl eligible ones), have already had a handful of players announcing their intention to transfer. This number will rise quickly before the end of the year. I will be keeping my eyes on who might become available, and I will happily join in on the speculation train, but remember, not everyone is an insider, so just let the program do its work. It’s now the transfer portal silly season, so let’s build our super team of hope, but get the good team of actual people who end up here. Go Big Red!