Coaches have decidedly mixed feelings towards the transfer portal.
Some see it as a problem. They have to work harder to make sure players are happy. In other words, how they do their job is changing and they don’t like it. They don’t want to have to appease their players and change their approach in roster construction. Others, however, see it as an opportunity to fix roster issues and turn over a roster more quickly.
In the AAC, there are a few great examples of coaches who have truly embraced the transfer portal. UCF’s Gus Malzahn is bringing in multiple Power 5 starters to compete in Orlando, while rival Jeff Scott and USF have 14 players committed to enter the program as a transfer. Others, meanwhile, have remained more passive in their usage of the portal, still preferring to bring in and develop freshmen.
With that being said, the teams bringing the most talent in the portal are a little lopsided right now, at least in the AAC. For instance, according to 247 Sports’ transfer portal player rankings, UCF has landed the top three prospects of any AAC team. Other rankings, meanwhile, will have entirely separate players in their rankings. So, this list of players tries to acknowledge that some teams are having more success in the portal, while also giving credit where it’s due.
Now, without further ado, here are the top five players currently set to transfer into the AAC.
Beau Corrales - Wide Receiver
North Carolina to SMU
Beau Corrales is a wide receiver with good size from Texas, now on his way back home from North Carolina to SMU. He should be entering SMU with two more seasons of eligibility after he missed the 2021 season. Before that, though, Corrales found a ton of success. While in Chapel Hill, he had averaged 14.7 yards per catch on 80 receptions with 12 touchdowns.
SMU needs the help at wide receiver too, as they’re losing multiple receivers to the NFL. It will also be a new era, with Rhett Lashlee taking over as head coach. So, while it shouldn’t be too much different, there does need to be a veteran presence in that room for the transition.
Kobe Hudson - Wide Receiver
Auburn to UCF
Gus Malzahn recruited Kobe Hudson to Auburn, and now he’s recruited him to UCF too. The former four-star prospect chose Auburn over multiple schools, like Alabama and Clemson. He found early success there, grabbing 44 catches for 580 yards and 4 TDs as a sophomore in 2021. He was Auburn’s leading receiver. Then, according to Hudson, he was kicked off the team.
It seems like a terrible mistake to make by Bryan Harsin, who has already fallen under heavy criticism for numerous reasons. However, that loss is going to be UCF’s gain. The Knights are going to be able to reload their receiving room and help bring the offense back to its old explosiveness.
Ajou Ajou - Wide Receiver
Clemson to USF
Ajou Ajou is going from Clemson to USF after two seasons with the Tigers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bulls head coach Jeff Scott made the same maneuver, going from the Clemson co-offensive coordinator role to the head coaching job at USF. To this point, he’s had a relatively quiet career at Clemson, only registering 8 career catches and 1 touchdown.
Still, Ajou has his entire college career ahead of him now at USF. He’s only ever played six games. There is plenty of time to grow in what could be an explosive offense. He has ideal size for a wide receiver, and at one point he was a borderline four-star prospect.
Kemore Gamble - Tight End
Florida to UCF
If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. At least, that’s what they say. It’s true for Kemore Gamble too, as he’s making the move from Florida to UCF, the last team he played and lost to as a Gator. Gamble was the Gators’ starting tight end in 2021, replacing the elite Kyle Pitts. Those are massive shoes to fill, but he managed to do a pretty solid job. 31 catches and 4 touchdowns out of a tight end is excellent production, after all.
Gamble is expected to be the starting tight end at UCF next season, entering a room that needs help to fit into Gus Malzahn’s offense after years of Heupel’s. His size and speed, in their turn, should make him one of the more formidable players to cover in the AAC. Think 2021 Grant Calcaterra at SMU.
Joseph Bissinger - Offensive Line
Virginia to SMU
Coaching changes are going to mean that the transfer portal is hit heavy on both ends by a team. SMU is a great example of this. A lot of players at SMU are going to want to leave so that they can play for a coach who they chose to play for, rather than one chosen for them. Incoming head coaches, in this case, Rhett Lashlee, will then use the portal to replace those lost players and bring in players who fit their own image.
Joseph Bissinger is an offensive lineman pushing 300 pounds, coming over from Virginia to SMU. Bissinger started for the Cavaliers beginning in 2020. He’s a solid, P5 quality lineman who has two more seasons of eligibility.