Keeping up with all of the activity in the college football transfer portal might feel like an overwhelming task.

Sure, you noticed Dillon Gabriel leaving Oklahoma for Oregon and DJ Uiagalelei bolting Oregon State for Florida State. You read about Caleb Downs leaving Alabama for Ohio State and plenty of other big-name moves.

But there are thousands of other transfers, too.

Worry not, my football-loving friend, B/R is here to help. We’ve highlighted key offensive and defensive transfers in the January window and mentioned a few notables from the April stretch.

The list of impact transfers is extensive, and we’re digging into a less heralded group of players. They are likely unfamiliar to most CFB followers but could be very important on their new team in 2024.

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Unless you’re a fan of a Mountain West program or live in the conference’s footprint, UNLV’s situation may be completely unknown.

Sure is fascinating, though.

Barry Odom—who spent the 2016 to ’19 seasons as Missouri’s head coach—oversaw a rapid Year 1 ascent. UNLV tallied nine victories, the program’s highest mark since the 1984 campaign. But then freshman quarterback Jayden Maiava transferred to USC. Veteran backup Doug Brumfield medically retired, too.

Nevertheless, the Rebels are still a strong MWC contender thanks to Holy Cross departure Matthew Sluka.

Sluka threw for 1,728 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for 1,247 yards and nine scores last season. He finished fourth in voting for the Walter Payton Award, which is the FCS version of the Heisman Trophy.

Campbell transfer Hajj-Malik Williams also joined UNLV, but Sluka is the front-runner to lead the Mountain West title hopefuls.

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After a breakout 11-win season, Missouri needs to replace star running back Cody Schrader. He leaves a substantial void of 1,818 scrimmage yards and 14 touchdowns at the position.

Thanks to the portal, the Tigers brought in a couple of intriguing solutions from Group of Five teams.

Marcus Carroll rushed for 1,350 yards and 13 touchdowns with 23 receptions for 234 yards at Georgia State last year. Nate Noel, a four-year contributor at Appalachian State, has scampered for more than 3,000 yards and caught 50 passes in his college career.

The exact split is unclear, of course, but Carroll and Noel will likely share carries this season.

And if Missouri plays to its potential, the program will be a legitimate threat to make the College Football Playoff.

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The major concern in the 2023 preseason about Notre Dame’s receiving corps held true. The unit lacked a true No. 1 target.

Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, not even Sam Hartman’s presence would atone for the weakness. No wideout topped 500 yards last season, and the passing game faltered against ND’s best competition.

Kris Mitchell can reshape the perception of the room.

Last year, he reeled in 64 passes for 1,118 yards and six touchdowns at Florida International. Most importantly, Mitchell was a consistent factor. He posted 73-plus yards in 10 of FIU’s 12 contests.

Mitchell raises the ceiling of the offense and, in turn, bolsters the chances of Notre Dame earning a trip to the CFP.

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Wisconsin always seems to crank out stout defensive players, and John Pius brings a whole lot of production to Madison.

A three-year standout at William & Mary, the edge-rusher amassed 19 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks during his FCS All-American season in 2022. Pius generated 53 total tackles with 16 for loss and 9.5 sacks last season.

Pius can immediately slot into the starting lineup next to Darryl Peterson, who posted 10 TFLs in 2023.

Wisconsin likely will be a tier below the Big Ten front-runners, but this defense can be a thorn for Alabama, USC, Penn State and Oregon during the regular season.

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For good reason, quarterback DJ Uiagalelei commanded most of the attention for incoming Florida State transfers. The former Clemson starter had a quality season with the Beavers in 2023.

But there’s a second Oregon State arrival to know.

Sione Lolohea collected 47 tackles with 8.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last year, earning second-team All-Pac-12 recognition.

Now, it’s understandable why he was overshadowed. Top pass-rusher Patrick Payton briefly explored the transfer portal but withdrew, and legacy defender Marvin Jones Jr. left powerhouse Georgia for the program where his father starred in the 1990s.

Lolohea, nevertheless, will be a critical defender on a reshaped roster seeking back-to-back ACC titles.

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Last offseason, Oregon hired UTSA offensive coordinator Will Stein. This time around, the Ducks plucked an on-field talent from the thriving program in the Lone Star State.

Kam Alexander landed first-team All-AAC honors in 2023, totaling 34 tackles, two interceptions and 15 pass breakups.

Now, he joins a rising Oregon secondary. Last year, the Ducks tied for ninth nationally with 6.1 yards allowed per pass attempt—a substantial jump from 58th in Dan Lanning’s first season.

Washington transfer Jabbar Muhammad is a splashier addition, but Alexander can be a valuable starter right away, too.

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Shortly after Nick Saban retired, the Crimson Tide saw standout safety Caleb Downs hit the portal. There’s no reasonable way to consider his departure anything but a significant loss.

Replacing him with Keon Sabb is a good start, however.

As the third safety on a stacked Michigan defense last season, he provided 28 tackles, two interceptions and five pass breakups.

Sabb, who recorded six tackles in the national championship win over now-Bama coach Kalen DeBoer and Washington, should immediately hold a first-string role in Tuscaloosa. He would slide in next to Malachi Moore, the lone returning starter in Alabama’s secondary.

In a best-case scenario, Sabb will be a part of another CFP-bound team and elevate his 2025 NFL draft profile.


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