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What Graduate Transfers Have Joined Conference USA Programs?

This time of the year is when rosters across the nation begin to take shape. How are graduate transfers changing Conference USA programs?

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The college football offseason is an odd time that includes players from all over the country making moves in what can only be dubbed the transfer market. Even weirder is the Graduate Transfer rule that allows a player that has graduated from his original school the ability to transfer to another program and play immediately. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and not ever player ends up with the program he transfers to, but Conference USA has been able to find a multitude of reclamation projects.

With that in mind, let's take a look at Conference USA and what graduate transfers are headed where. Remember, this is graduate transfers only, not regular transfers.


  • Jared Johnson, QB, Sam Houston State
  • Jevonte Domond, OL, LSU
  • Ronnie Feist, LB, LSU
  • Jordan Jones, TE, Gardner-Webb

Johnson is a huge pickup for the Roadrunners with question marks at quarterback. He was a star at Sam Houston State with over 5,300 yards passing (39 TD) and just over 1,600 yards rushing (11 TD). Johnson was the Southland Offensive POY in 2015. Jevonte Domond is a mammoth offensive lineman that saw playing time in four games at LSU. UTSA writer Jared Kalmus breaks down the former four-star recruit’s exit from LSU and commitment to UTSA here.

Feist is also moving to UTSA after being unable to find his true position at LSU. The former four-star recruit chose LSU over offers from Stanford, Texas A&M, and USC among others. He made eight career tackles at linebacker and defensive end, but was moved to fullback during the 2015 season. Jones is coming from the FCS level after spending time at Gardner-Webb. Jones only caught five passes in the run heavy offense, but two went for touchdowns.

Western Kentucky:

  • Keith Brown, LB, Louisville
  • Nick Dawson-Brents, LB, Louisville
  • Tyler Ferguson, QB, Louisville
  • Steve Donatell, TE, Wake Forest

The rich get even richer with WKU landing two linebackers, a quarterback, and a tight end from ACC programs Louisville and Wake Forest.

Brown was a former four-star recruit that chose Louisville over 17 other offers. Brown is still looking to find the form that earned him freshman All-American honors by Dawson-Brents was another former Army All-American that struggled to find a role within the Cardinals defense. He only made 19 tackles during his time with Louisville.

Ferguson has been just about all over the country during his college career. He started at College of the Sequoias for a year, played the 2013 season at Penn State, redshirted as a transfer in 2014, spent the 2015 season with Louisville, and is now with the Hilltoppers.

Former Wake Forest tight end is the son of NFL assistant coach Ed Donatell. The three-star recruit out of Colorado chose the Demon Deacons over offers from Nebraska and Northern Colorado. Donatell started his career on defense and made 12 tackles before moving to tight end. He caught three passes in 2015.

Southern Miss:

  • Devontre Parnell, CB, Louisville

Recently added from ACC power Louisville, the former three-star recruit was unable to overcome a multitude of injuries throughout his career. The South Carolina native is headed down south to join high school teammate Devonta Foster in the Golden Eagles secondary where he is expected to compete for the open cornerback position vacated by Kalan Reed graduating and heading to the NFL.


  • Terry Richardson, CB, Michigan.

While yet to be listed on the Marshall roster, Richardson is indeed headed to Huntington this fall. He is a former Under Armor All-American Game participant (2012) that never seemed to find his role at Michigan. The former four-star recruit out of Detroit chose the Wolverines over 15 other offers.

Louisiana Tech:

  • Jordan Harris, LB, Iowa State
  • Dalton Santos, LB, Texas

Harris, a Mississippi native, chose the Bulldogs after making the decision to play closer to home during his final year. The former two--star recruit spent two years at the JUCO level before joining the Cyclones in 2014. He was redshirted in 2014, but finished the 2015 season with 70 tackles.

Santos chose Texas over 11 other offers consisting of the who’s who of college football. The 6-2, 254 pound inside linebacker had his best year in 2013 with 74 tackles, but injuries kept him out of the lineup too often in 2014 and resulted in him missing the entire 2015 season.


  • Zach Greenlee, QB, Fresno State

A former three-star quarterback out of Stockton, California, Greenlee was an Under Armour All-American selection and played in the All-Star game. He spent three seasons with the Bulldogs, redshirting in 2013, passing for 213 yards in 2014, and passing for 866 yards in 2015. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

North Texas:

  • Alec Morris, QB, Alabama

H/t to @AldoAvina for reminding me of Morris. He slipped my mind since it seems like he has been with the program much longer. Morris was a three-star recruit out of Allen, Texas and the only quarterback signed in Alabama's 2012 class. He was redshirted in 2012, saw action in one game in 2013, played in four games in 2014, and saw action in three games in 2015. He only attempted one pass in his career with the Crimson Tide.

Middle Tennessee, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Old Dominion, Charlotte, Rice:

  • None.

Which team came out on top with the best graduate transfers this offseason? My personal vote goes to UTSA for adding much needed talent on the offensive line and at quarterback.