The 10 non-Deion victors of college football, from Alabama to USC

College football’s first spring transfer window closed on April 30. More than 650 FBS scholarship players entered the NCAA transfer portal looking for a new home during that two-week period. These recruits tend to move quickly, but it seemed prudent to wait a few weeks and see where these players bet before judging who won the Spring Cycle.

We’ve already written extensively about Colorado, the players it sent to the portal, and the players Deion Sanders and his staff added to rebuild their roster. So let’s take a look at 10 more teams that were buyers in the spring transfer market and put together promising prizes.

New Commitments: QB Tyler Buchner (Notre Dame), DB Trey Amos (Louisiana), DB Jaylen Key (UAB)

Nick Saban and Tommy Rees made the fascinating decision to get another quarterback after spring prom and received a pledge from Buchner two days after he entered the portal. The fact that he chose Alabama right away and canceled other visits to schools where he was guaranteed to be a starter indicates that he must definitely like his chances of winning the job. The Crimson Tide also won battles for two of the most coveted defensive backs in the spring market, beating Florida and LSU for Amos and then beating Florida State and Ole Miss for Key.


New Commitments: TE Var’Keyes Gumms (North Texas), TE Francis Sherman (Louisville), DL Anthony Booker Jr. (Maryland), DL Keivie Rose (Louisiana Tech), LB Jaheim Thomas (Cincinnati), DB AJ Brathwaite Jr. (Western Kentucky), DB Jaheim Singletary (Georgia), DB Kee’yon Stewart (TCU)

The Razorbacks continue to do a great job recruiting the portal under Sam Pittman and had several valuable additions in this spring cycle, especially on defense. Rose, Booker and Thomas go to make them better beforehand; all three had great options when entering the portal. Singletary was a top-100 recruit in the class of 2022 who could develop into a difference maker. Gumms, a North Texas Freshman All-American, should be a good addition to Dan Enos’ offense and proved he’s on his feet as a pass catcher last season.

New Commitments: QB Payton Thorne (Michigan State), WR Caleb Burton (Ohio State), WR Shane Hooks (Jackson State), WR Jyaire Shorter (North Texas), OL Jaden Muskrat (Tulsa), DL Stephen Sings V (Liberty), LB Jalen McLeod (Appalachian State), LB Larry Nixon III (North Texas)

Hugh Freeze and Auburn’s new coaching staff have been very active in the battle for top players in the Spring Portal, and they had plenty of room to add players after 21 scholarship transfers left this offseason. Freeze got the quarterback he needed in Thorne, a proven two-year starter, and picked up a trio of talented wideouts to boost the offense in Year 1. Hooks was Jackson State’s leading receiver last season, Shorter had 11 touchdown catches, and Burton is a former top-100 recruit. On defense, McLeod and Nixon both have a chance to start right away.


New Commitments: QB Ben Finley (NC State), RB King Doerue (Purdue), RB Isaiah Ifanse (San Jose State), WR Taj Davis (Washington), WR Marquez Dortch (Mississippi State), OL Matthew Wykoff (Texas A&M), DB Patrick McMorris (State of San Diego), DB Marcus Scott II (Missouri)

Don’t sleep over what Cal did in the transfer portal this spring. The Bears have turned their roster around quite a bit this off-season and have found some players who will make an immediate impact. McMorris was one of the top safeties in the Mountain West, having twice earned first-team all-conference honors. Wykoff and Davis are also likely to start right away, and Finley could push TCU Sam Jackson for the starting quarterback job. Adding Doerue and Ifanse, who broke Montana State’s career rushing record (3,742 yards), will complement Freshman All-America back Jaydn Ott.

New Commitments: QB Brady Allen (Purdue), TE Joey Gatewood (UCF), OL Vincent Lumia (Duquesne), OL Eric Miller (Purdue), OL Lance Robinson (Houston), OL Trevone Sylvester (Houston), OL Willie Tyler III (Rutgers), LB Keith Brown (Oregon), DB Storm Duck (Penn State), DB Cam’Ron Kelly (Virginia), DB Marcus Washington Jr. (Georgia)

Louisville’s new coaching staff reloaded impressively this spring after 22 scholarship players departed through the portal this off-season. Their efforts to supplement their offensive line with experienced newcomers stand out. These coaches know what they’re getting in Miller, and it’ll be interesting to see how many of those five new O-linemen earn starting roles. A former four-star recruit, Allen is also well acquainted with running Jeff Brohm’s attack. Duck and Kelly are proven starters who have actually transitioned twice this off-season, and Gatewood is now in his fourth school.


New Commitments: RB Logan Diggs (Notre Dame), OL Mason Lunsford (Maryland), DB Andre Sam (Tulane)

LSU is gearing up for a big run with a preseason top-five hype in Year 2 under Brian Kelly. The Tigers had minimal turnover at the end of the spring, but still picked up some premium talent that will help right away. Diggs comes home after a breakthrough season with the Irish (1,033 yards total, six touchdowns) and could become the Tigers’ No. 1. Lunsford, a two-year starter at left guard, can help solidify their offensive line. Sam is an interesting pickup, a safety veteran who went from McNeese to Marshall to Tulane and now LSU in the space of two years and will be a seventh year senior.

New Commitments: RB Ajay Allen (Nebraska), WR Tyler Harrell (Alabama), DL Anthony Campbell (ULM), DB Jaden Davis (Oklahoma), DB Jadais Richard (Vanderbilt)

The Hurricanes landed some gems in the winter portal cycle and brought in a few more this spring that could develop into great catches. Recruiters were very highly on Campbell’s side, a 6-foot-7, 277-pound defensive end, when he became available. Allen flashed exciting potential as a true freshman before a season-ending injury, and Richard looked poised to start at cornerback for Vanderbilt. Harrell is one of the fastest receivers in college football, but was not given the chance to show it off in his lone season at Alabama due to a foot injury.


New Commitments: QB Bennett Meredith (State of Arizona), WR Jahmal Edrine (Florida Atlantic), WR Corey Gammage (Marshall), OL Ben Farrell (Indiana Wesleyan), OL Luke Griffin (Missouri), OL Preston Nichols (UNLV), DL Malik Langham (Vanderbilt ), DL Jeffrey M’Ba (Auburn), DB Markevious Brown (Ole Miss), DB Braxton Myers (Ole Miss), DB Marquis Wilson (Penn State), LS Daniel Hawthorne (Missouri)

Purdue has had 20 scholarship players enter the portal since the coaching change in December, giving Ryan Walters and his staff plenty of room to add to their Year 1 roster. Gammage was a sneaky good find, a 6-foot-4, 220- pound wideout that was productive at Marshall (178 catches for 2,239 yards and 13 touchdowns) and committed to Memphis. Coming off a good redshirt freshman season at FAU, Edrine gives the Texas transfer Hudson Card another big target. M’Ba, the No. 1 junior recruit in the country in 2022, was another intriguing pick.


New Commitments: WR Jordan Hudson (TCU), TE Micah Hilts (Texas State), OL Caleb Johnson (Notre Dame), DL Cam Robertson (North Texas), LB Kobe Wilson (Temple), DB Kyron Chambers (TCU), DB Keyshon Mills ( Colorado), Isaac Pearson (Texas)

SMU has shaken up its depth chart quite a bit going into Rhett Lashlee’s sophomore season by racking up 25 transfers. Hudson has the tools to be a great playmaker and help replace Rashee Rice’s second-round production. The top-100 recruit caught 14 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman and was previously committed to SMU before a late flip to TCU. Wilson was a key addition to their linebacker room that should make an immediate impact, and the Mustangs were able to improve their depth in quite a few places during this spring spell.

New Commitments: OL Emmanuel Pregnon (Wyoming), DL Bear Alexander (Georgia), DB Tre’Quon Fegans (Alabama)

Alexander was one of the most talented young players to hit the portal this off-season. He will have to continue to mature and develop, but he can have a big impact on the Trojans beforehand. Pregnon emerged as one of the most coveted players in the spring portal window based on what he taped in Wyoming. If he is healthy, he can go directly to the starting spot at the left guard. Winning the battle for Fegans also led to a commitment from his younger brother Anquon, a five-star recruit in the 2025 class.

(Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

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