Rivals National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with a look at several big-time recent transfers and how they could impact the playoff next season, an examination of some odd recent coordinator hires and a list of programs that have work to do in recruiting between now and February.
1. TRANSFERS THAT COULD IMPACT THE PLAYOFF RACE
The transfer portal is the gift that keeps on giving. And while players like Spencer Rattler (South Carolina) and Dillon Gabriel (UCLA) get a lot of attention they likely won’t impact the College Football Playoff race. But these guys could, and some are very under the radar.
QB Max Johnson, Texas A&M — Jimbo Fisher had some quarterback issues this season but Hayes King could be the guy next season. However, Johnson has experience and has put up some solid numbers at LSU and could be the answer.
QB Bo Nix, Oregon — The Ducks have enough roster talent to make a run at the Pac-12 and a lot of it will come down to quarterback play as it did this season. I don’t know if Nix wins the job but if he does he has a chance to make a massive impact on the playoff picture.
DE Khris Bogle, Michigan State — The Spartans might be a bit of a reach for the playoff next season after their run this year but they return a lot of talent and the talented rush end will terrorize Big Ten quarterbacks.
2. PUZZLING COORDINATOR HIRES
You never know how a new hire will work out so it’s silly to judge before the players hit the field. But it’s my job to judge and sometimes look silly, and these five recent hires puzzled me a bit.
Ted Roof, Oklahoma DC – This was one of the most questionable hires in recent memory and I’m honestly shocked that Roof was even in consideration. You would have imagined that Brent Venables would have targeted an up-and-coming coach that he could help shape, but instead he went with the 58-year-old Roof who spent last season as a defensive assistant at Clemson after a disastrous 2020 campaign at Vanderbilt. So while he has plenty of experience, I can’t imagine that he’s going to be much of an asset either on the recruiting trail or in terms of coming up with innovative schemes.
Joe Gillespie, TCU DC – Sonny Dykes hired Tulsa‘s Gillespie as the new defensive coordinator in Fort Worth, and it’s an uninspiring choice. The Golden Hurricanes ranked in the bottom half of the country in passing defense, total defense, and scoring defense last season, and that was going against AAC competition. Imagine what Big 12 competition will do to his schemes.
Austin Davis, Auburn OC – It’s not that I don’t think Davis has the potential to be a strong offensive mind, but it’s a bit out of left field and he doesn’t have much in the way of experience on his side. Davis comes down from the Seahawks where he was the quarterbacks coach, and while Russell Wilson has done well in the past three years working with Davis, his numbers have gotten worse each season. This is also Davis’ first ever job at the college level, so we have no idea if he will have any knack for recruiting. He starts out behind the eight ball as well with Bo Nix moving on to Oregon.
Mike Sanford, Colorado OC – If Ted Roof isn’t the worst coordinator hire of this cycle, then Sanford absolutely is. He comes to Colorado from Minnesota where he served as the offensive coordinator for two seasons that saw the Gophers get worse on offense seemingly every week. They finished this season 99th in total offense, 116th in passing, and 84th in scoring and saw Tanner Morgan regress a ton under him. I cannot foresee this one turning out well for the Buffs in any way.
Brandon Streeter, Clemson OC – Streeter is the only name on this last that was an internal promotion, but he had to be mentioned. He spent last season as the passing game coordinator and the quarterbacks coach for the Tigers – how did that turn out? Dabo Swinney decided to promote from within for both coordinator positions after losing Tony Elliott and Brent Venables to other jobs. I can’t blame him on the defensive side of the ball, but after what we saw this past season, I think an outside voice would have really helped on offense.
3. CONTENDERS THAT NEED A STRONG PUSH IN FEBRUARY
The Early Signing Period has come and gone and there are some programs in need of a serious push into February to add to a roster that could potentially compete for a division title in their conference.
USC — Trojans fans don’t have to worry too much despite small numbers here. Lincoln Riley is being very selective I am told and gearing up for a massive 2023 run as well as some key portal entries. But they will also have to add some quality to this 2022 group that stands at only seven commitments.
Clemson — The amount of decommitments is disturbing for Clemson as losing a commitment was once unheard of. A strong close is needed or this could be a class we look back on as a setback despite a solid average star rating.
Miami — Mario Cristobal has some work to do but he’s in a conference and a division that is just awful. So if he can land a few key players down the stretch who can impact early his first year at Miami could be a good one.
Florida — The Gators have no chance in the SEC East right? Perhaps. But Billy Napier is blowing everything up when it comes to back-to-back lackadaisical recruiting regimes. You never know.
Oregon — Dan Lanning inherits a great recruiting foundation from Cristobal and connections in the Southeast which align with his own. But it will be West Coast recruiting down the stretch here that helps determine where the Ducks finish.