College football’s version of free agency is in full swing and more than a few highly touted names are on the move. While all of the pieces haven’t finished falling into place, here’s a look at five newcomers who’ve made their way to Group of Five teams and how their play will be a major factor in their team’s success.
1. Terence Williams RB-Houston
The Cougars added five grad transfers in the off-season. It’s clear Major Applewhite is in win-now mode. Williams, who is a former 1,000 yard rusher at Baylor, tops this list because he fits the most immediate need for the Cougars. Houston returns only one experienced running back in Mulbah Car. Their running game as a whole last year was by committee and finished in the bottom third of the American Athletic Conference. Williams has averaged near 5.8 yards per carry in his career. At 6’1, 220 pounds he can provide the interior running game Houston desperately needs.
2. Tre Nixon WR-UCF
13 Days before UCF’s undefeated National Championship season, Mike Hughes arrived on campus as a talented but unknown commodity. Five months later, the man labeled by his JUCO coach as “A gift from God” helped the Knights win the Peach Bowl. This year’s gift from the heavens is former Ole Miss wideout Tre Nixon. He’s a former four-star recruit who runs a sub 4.40 yard dash, giving quarterback McKenzie Milton yet another lethal weapon in an offense that has the potential to be the most exciting in college football.
3. Brady White QB-Memphis
White arrived at Arizona State as one of the highest rated recruits in Arizona State history. However, Manny Wilkins beat out him in 2015 and has had a stranglehold on the job ever since. White takes his talents to Memphis where he has to fill the decorated shoes of Riley Ferguson. The Tigers return the best running game in their conference and a talented receiver in Tony Pollard. If White can live up to his potential, Memphis will be making a return trip to the AAC conference championship game against UCF.
4. Junior Diaz C-Florida Atlantic
The Owls come into 2018 with expectations of potentially replicating the success of their in-state neighbors in Orlando. A huge part of making that a reality depends on the play of it’s offensive line. Diaz is a South Florida native who returns home after anchoring Tulane’s run game to its second highest rushing yards per game average in school history last season. He’ll be penciled in as the starting center and will be counted out to help Devin Singletary repeat last year’s 1,920 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns.
5. John Austin Cook T-South Alabama
As a reader of Underdog Dynasty you care about all of the group of five schools right? Let’s show some love to the Sun Belt and South Alabama who picked up an FCS All-American in Cook. At 6’5, 335 pounds, Cook has NFL size at left tackle and will look to prove himself against FBS competition. First-year head coach Steve Campbell brought Cook with him from Central Arkansas, in an effort to get the Jaguars back to a bowl game for the first time since 2016.