The Reemerging Transfer Portal


Austin Boynes, Editor

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a sudden spike in college athletes transferring schools at the end of the season. This is more popular in the news of college football as multiple 5-star recruits have decided to leave their current school and have made the choice to take their talents elsewhere.

The college athletic transfer portal works as such: a student at an institution must first contact that school’s compliance department and let them know that they want their name to be placed into the portal. That compliance department then has 48 hours to enter in that student’s name. Now, the student can sit back and wait for any college to contact him to move forward in the process. But just because a student has their name entered into the portal does not mean that it is permanent or that he is set on transferring. The students have the ability to remove their name if they would like. The portal also allows for students to filter the schools all the way down to the conference, division, and even the name into a “transfer watchlist.”

There have been many high profile college athletes that have taken advantage of the transfer portal, including Travis Hunter, who transferred from Florida State to the Jackson State Tigers, Texas Longhorn quarterback Quinn Ewers, who was originally at Ohio State, and former Oklahoma Sooner quarterback Spencer Rattler, who committed to South Carolina.

All of these situations are interesting in their own right and really do show the power of the transfer portal, as well as how much of a difference this makes in the far future.

For example, Travis Hunter is the highest recruited prospect in the 2022 class according to 24/7 Sports. Hunter originally committed to Florida State, but Deion Sanders, the former 49ers and Cowboys great turned head coach at Jackson State, continued recruiting Hunter and the star prospect reversed course, making him the highest ranked recruit to commit to an HBCU.

Quinn Ewers is another interesting case because he was the highest ranked high school prospect in 2021, but after committing to the Ohio State University he sat behind red-shirt freshman C.J. Stroud, who will likely be the Ohio State starting quarterback for the next two to three years. And after the former Texas quarterback Casey Thompson decided to transfer, Ewers saw his opportunity to play in his home state and then decided to become a Longhorn.

Spencer Rattler, who entered the 2021 season as the Heisman trophy favorite, saw his season quickly derailed as he was benched in the Red River Showdown game against Texas for former Gonzaga Eagle, Caleb Williams, who has also entered the transfer portal. Rattler now joins a stacked recruiting class in South Carolina and hopes to get his career back on track in his junior season.

Even DeMatha’s own 4-star basketball player Earl Timberlake ’21 decided to put his name into the transfer portal after he committed to the Miami Hurricanes in 2019, which ultimately led him to become a Memphis Tiger. Timberlake averaged 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists as a freshman at Miami, but told ESPN that he initially transferred because, “I’ve been dealing with a lot this season as far as being away from home and ankle and shoulder injuries.” So far this season, he has averaged 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists for Memphis.

Gavin Weddington, a senior at DeMatha Catholic and a runner on the track and field team, believes that the transfer portal is a good thing. “It can give an athlete the option to leave if it isn’t working out.” Gavin would like to be committed to a school, saying, “Ideally I hope that I make the right choice the first time but if it isn’t, then the transfer portal would definitely be an option.” He wouldn’t want to stay and be “miserable at school.” The only issue that Gavin sees with the portal is “athletes jumping ship just either with one bad year or one thing making them leave. For me, it would have to be something major and a build-up over a long period of time for me to consider the portal.”

The transfer portal has been used for many reasons. It can be used by players to weave their way through the everlasting coaching carousel that has been happening in college sports recently, and it can put them into a situation that fits them better than they were originally in.