We’ve seen the Transfer Portal become a different animal in 2020, and every conference was affected in a big way. The number of entries into the portal reached an all-time high this year, and we’re not done just yet. For now, it’s time to take a look at who’s coming and who’s going. Today, we look at the top incoming players to the AAC from the Transfer Portal. All of these guys will compete for starting reps, but it’s just a matter of when (depending on eligibility).
QB Tanner Mordecai (Oklahoma to SMU)
Mordecai’s sat behind Kyler Murray, Austin Kendall, Jalen Hurts and Spencer Rattler at Oklahoma, and now he’ll get a chance to actually win a starting quarterback job. SMU’s offense is loaded with talent at the skill positions, so Mordecai won’t even need to be exceptional to keep the offense operating at a high level.
QB D’Wan Mathis (Georgia to Temple)
Mathis battled for the Bulldogs starting job early in the 2020 season, but struggled against SEC competition and eventually lost to job to Stetson Bennett. He heads to Temple, who just had a season in which nearly everyone capable of throwing a football did so. He’ll be the most talented quarterback on the roster, and it will be interesting to see if he can win the job.
QB Peter Parrish (LSU to Memphis)
Parrish needed a fresh start after the former four star landed in Baton Rouge. He was suspended before the 2020 season, and wasn’t expected to report to LSU’s fall camp, and eventually landed at Memphis. He brings a different type of quarterback to the Tigers offense, but he’s talented and can make plays with his arm and his feet.
QB Grant Gunnell (Arizona to Memphis)
Gunnell now has the opportunity to replace another former Arizona quarterback. He took over for Khalil Tate at Arizona, and now he’ll try to win the starting job vacated by former Arizona State trasnfer Brady White. White threw for over 10,000 yards with the Tigers. Gunnell is more similar to White as a passer, and he’ll have to beat out Peter Parrish for the starting job.
QB RJ Harvey Jr. (Virginia to UCF)
This transfer feels like an even better fit now that Gus Malzahn is running the show. UCF under Josh Heupel loved to air it out to set up the run, but now Malzahn’s going to focus on the run game (at least eventually). Harvey’s a dual threat who can gash teams for big yards with his legs.
RB Iverson Clement (Florida to Temple)
After struggling to move the football on the ground, Temple’s addition of Clement seems huge. He didn’t get many opportunities at Florida, but the starting spot is wide open for the Owls.
RB Tre Siggers (North Texas to SMU)
SMU’s rushing attack was already set to be deep in 2021, but they added even more depth to the position. Ulysses Bentley nearly rushed for 1,000 yards, Tyler Lavin and TJ McDaniel averaged five yards per carry in their limited action, and now they add Siggers. He comes to SMU with 1,311 and seven touchdowns to his name, but will things be too crowded for him to get enough touches?
CeeDee Lamb is going to draw a lot of attention from Houston's secondary, but Grant Calcaterra is just as dangerous. pic.twitter.com/7P67OxbTnv— Joe Broback (@joebroback) August 8, 2019
TE Grant Calcaterra (Oklahoma/Auburn to SMU)
Calcaterra returned to football after retiring in 2019, and his path to SMU has been interesting. Before Gus Malzahn was fired, he committed to Auburn, but then opened up his recruitment when Auburn let Malzahn go. He landed at SMU, and will replace another great tight end in Kylen Granson. SMU’s offense didn’t need more playmakers, but it never hurts to add a guy with Calcaterra’s potential.
WR Shamar Nash (Arkansas to Memphis)
Sean Dykes, Calvin Austin III, and Tahj Washington give the Tigers a great trio of pass catchers, and Nash will help Washington when the other two are gone. The former four star gives Memphis a bigger target downfield at 6’4”, something they missed last season with Damonte Coxie not playing.
WR Brandon Johnson (Tennessee to UCF)
A super senior, Johnson gives the Knights another experienced receiver. He brings a career 79 receptions for 969 yards and a touchdown, and should compete for a starting spot. At 6’2”, 203 pounds, he provides a bigger target while Jaylon Robinson and Ryan O’Keefe burn teams with their speed downfield.
WR KeSean Carter (Texas Tech to Houston)
Dana Holgorsen used his Big 12 connections to bring in a number of transfers to Houston, including Carter. The Texas Tech transfer comes to Houston with 83 catches in his three seasons for 831 yards and seven touchdowns. Wide receiver seems to be a wide open position for the Coogs, so Carter could step in to fill one of those spots.
DT Jowon Briggs (Virginia to Cincinnati)
Cincinnati gets depth at a position that needed one more piece up front. Marcus Brown and Curtis Brooks are back, but Briggs should compete for playing time with his new team. The Bearcats will be under new leadership defensively with Marcus Freeman going to Notre Dame, but there’s plenty of talent returning, and guys like Briggs can also make an impact.
DT Latrell Bankston (Iowa State to Houston)
Doug Belk takes over the defense for Joe Cauthen, and it will be interesting to see if he keeps the same front or changes things up. Does Houston go to a more traditional four man front or stick with the one they have? Bankston should compete for the starting job, but Olivier Charles-Pierre and a few others are back too.
DE Tre Williams (Missouri to Houston)
With Payton Turner gone, someone needs to be that guy for Houston this year. Williams was stuck in a rotation at Missouri, but now gets a chance to be the leader of the pack. At 6’5”, 260 pounds, he gives the Coogs great size on the edge.
DE Will Rodgers III (Washington State to Temple)
The AAC is more fun when Temple’s playing great defense. At one point, the Owls relied on their defense to keep them in games. When that started to go away, they struggles. Rodgers comes to Temple to hopefully turn things around and get the Owls back to that level again.
LB Ryan Jones (Oklahoma to ECU)
Jones joins an ECU team that appears to be taking steps forward defensively. With Xavier Smith back as well, the Pirates linebackers will be the leaders of the defense, one that hopefully makes them more competitive in 2021.
CB Julian Barnett (Michigan State to Memphis)
With TJ Carter transferring to TCU, Barnett figures to be in line to take a starting spot. At 6’2”, he gives the Tigers a long cornerback capable of making plays. The former four star had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, and Georgia coming out of high school before picking the Spartans, so the talent’s there.
CB Alex Hogan (Texas Tech to Houston)
Hogan had four passes defended and an interception for the Red Raiders last year, and he’ll give the Cougars depth at a position that’s been hurting for it. Damarion Williams and Marcus Jones are two of the best corners in the conference, and Hogan could be the next man up when they’re gone.