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Peak Perspective: Categorizing the players who departed in the transfer portal.

We examine the motives of each player based on where they landed or didn’t.

Eastern Washington v UNLV Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Love it or hate it, the transfer portal is alive and active in the college sports world, especially for football. This year, May 31 marked the deadline for when a player can enter the portal and still be eligible to play in the upcoming season. However, players are still joining new schools, so the start of July seems like a good time to review the additions and attrition for every Mountain West team. Last week, the Mountain West teams were evaluated based on the players they gained and lost. This week, we examined the players who left MWC schools via the transfer portal this year. Instead of labeling them “winners” or “losers” based on where they ended up, a different approach will be used. This is partly to refrain from calling college players losers based on trying to make the best decisions for themselves that they can. However, it is also partly because there are many different reasons to transfer and this is an attempt to highlight some of those factors in the categories below.

You can see where specific players came from or went to in our Player Movement Tracker.

Note: As of 7-4-22, there are 218 Mountain West players who entered the transfer portal. All info is accurate as of this date.

Players who were looking to go Power 5

This category is pretty straightforward. Playing who excelled in the Mountain West Conference wanted to look for greener pastures and attracted the attention of more prominent schools. While rarer compared to other categories, it is what most dream of when they enter the portal. It is for those looking to prove themselves at the next level or be affiliated with a school of greater prestige. It will be worth watching which of these players end up starting or playing meaningful roles and which ones become talented depth for teams. At the end of the day, good for them for attracting the attention of these teams.

MWC Players (30 players/13.76% of MWC transfers): K/P Fabrizio Pinton, TE Trevor Faulkner, K Robert Liss, P Jackson Ray, OL Mike Ciaffoni, OG Vince Picozzi, TE Brian Polendey, DB Rashad Ajayi, DB Donovan Dalton, WR Kilohana Haasenritter, LB Darius Muasau, DL Jonah La’ulu, DB Khoury Bethley, LB Daiyan Henley, DB Jordan Lee, OL Cade Briggs, OL Jack Buford, RB Aaron Dumas, OL Chris Martinez, DL Sinjun Astani, LB Jacoby Windmon, WR Cam Lampkin, LB Chuck Hicks, DB Keyon Blankenbaker, WR Isaiah Neyor, CB Azizi Hearn, CB C.J Coldon, RB Xazavian Valladay, LB Jaylen Pate, DE Solomon Byrd

Players going to Junior College in hopes of getting noticed by bigger schools

This category was much more common before the creation of the transfer portal and the one-time transfer rule that followed. Now it is the smallest category in this article. However, there are still benefits to a player transferring to a junior college from a traditional four-year program. First, it may be an opportunity to get one’s grades up, so they qualify at another school. Also, it can be a springboard of placeholder, allowing a player to spend showcasing their abilities to attract the attention of coaches and schools they may not have gotten coming out of their first school. It is basically a chance to keep playing while preserving the ability to transfer, so they don’t make a choice that isn’t beneficial to them.

MWC Players (8 players/3.7% of MWC transfers): RB Coleby Hamm, DB Kamron Forest, TE Matt Lowe, DE Gabriel Iniguez, DB Quinn Potts, DL Daniel Caloca, QB Josh Calvin, OL Malik Williams

Players looking for a change of scenery

This is another category that was surprisingly small compared to others. The title may not be the most fitting, but it was difficult to capture what seems to be more or less a lateral move. Transferring from one group of five school to another one isn’t really a step up, step down, or a placeholder for another option. While it’s true it may be a move for more playing time, considering the similar level of competition, it’s not an obvious guarantee like the category below. So the essence of this category seems to come down to finding a better fit for the player.

MWC Players (13 players/6% of MWC transfers): OL Kyle Juergens, QB Colton Fitzgerald, CB Wylan Free, WR Tru Edwards, WR Nick Mardner, OL Leke Asenuga, OL Desmond Bessent, WR Isaiah Holliness, LS Val Penn, RB Enoch Nawahine, DB Zahodri Jackson, DB Rome Weber, DB Bryce Jackson

Players looking for more playing time

These are players who are moving down a level, going to an FCS or Division II school. As they will now, in theory, be bigger fish in smaller ponds, the theory is that they were probably looking for more playing time. Even if they weren’t, they will likely receive more playing time. It is also possible some players had big dreams of being courted by many schools from the Power 5 or the rest of the FBS, and when the offers didn’t come, they instead set their sights on the schools that wanted them, which is another reason they may have ended up in these schools. Regardless of the reason, they now have a chance to show off their talents at their new schools. As demonstrated below, this is where a large number of MWC transfers end up, which fits the pattern that most movement in the transfer portal goes down a level as opposed to up a level.

MWC Players (64 players/29.36% of MWC transfers): TE Coleman Kuntz, DB Dru Polidore, LB Isaiah Washburn, P David Chapeau, ATH AJ Snow, RB Jorden Gidrey, RB Andrew Van Buren, WR Maclaine Griffin, DB Semaj Verner, QB Andy Peters, TE Kyle Helbig, RB Marcus McElroy, DL Ellison Hubbard, QB Jonah O’Brien, WR Kyjuan Herndon, QB Todd Centeio, OL Cam Reddy, DB Robert Floyd, TE Dylan Walker, DB Branden Coleman, QB Matt Valecce, QB Evan Olaes, LB Payton Polson, RB Jordan Hornbeak, WR Rodney Wright III, OL Pedro Timoteo, DL Julius Lewis, DB Sterlin Ortiz, QB Boone Abbott, RB Dae Dae Hunter, WR Dayton Toney, LB Lamin Touray, DE Jack Powers, WR Emmanuel Greene, DB Marquae Kirkendoll, DE Ben Bertram, RB Bobby Cole, DB Mathias Bertram, WR Zarak Scruggs, DL EJ Ane, WR Andre Crump, K Matt Mercurio, WR Donald McKinney, CB Malik Welch, LB Farrell Hester, TE Noah Bean, CB Mychal Victor, DB Tre Caine, WR Pat Ballard, WR Steve Jenkins, DL Jameson Helu, DB Jaylen Lane, CB Terin Adams, LS Jesse Vasquez, TE Jackson Rigsby, LB Jaymason Willingham, DB Cameron Murray, QB Sean Chambers, DL Victor Jones, DL Ravontae Holt, DB Randy Jordan, LB Sherwin King Jr, DL Zacchaeus McKinney, WR Will Horn IV

Players who must really like the Mountain West.

There are an interesting number of players who stayed in the conference but are now at a different school. Some of the reasons are obvious, like all the players who transferred from Nevada to Colorado State to follow Coach Norvell and his staff. Others may just be coincidental, but they do make for some funny anecdotes. For instance, Utah State and Wyoming swapped backup quarterbacks while many players in the secondary bounded around from one school to another. It makes sense players are finding new teams who are more or less at the same level of competition as their old team. Especially if the depth chart is better at their position or if they are one of the missing pieces in cementing the new team as a contender.

MWC Players (35 players/16.1% of MWC transfers): DB TJ Urban, LB Andrew Faoliu, OL Cole Feinauer, QB Chevan Cordeiro, DL Justus Tavai, DB Chigozie Anusiem, DB Cameron Lockridge, OL Trevyn Heil, WR Elijah Cooks, OL Gray Davis, DT Teivis Tuioti, WR Justin Lockhart, WR Melquan Stovall, QB Clay Millen, WR Tory Horton, DB A.J. King, LB Peter Montini, RB Avery Morrow, OL Jacob Gardner, DE Daniel Grzesiak, P Paddy Turner, OL Joey Capra, QB Baylor Horning, RB Kaegun Williams, QB Lucas Johnson, WR BJ Busbee, WR Koby Duru, WR Kobe Smith, DL Anthony Sagapolutele, QB Andrew Peasley, DL James Hansen, LB Elijah Shelton, QB Levi Williams, DB Stan Livingstone, QB Matthew Der Torossian

Players who have yet to find a home.

This is by far the largest category, which is very unfortunate. It’s all pretty obvious what it refers to. These players have entered the transfer portal and are still in it, not yet finding new homes. Most of them will not end up landing at a new school for various reasons. The rules don’t work that way, as teams cannot replace every player they lose. Also, some players bet on themselves, and it doesn’t work out. Maybe they hold out for offers that don’t come while other offers dry up. Regardless of the reason, the dark side to transferring should be noted and considered for any player trying to make the best decision for their future. It’s not a statement of whether or not to transfer, but instead something important to consider when weighing the pros and cons of the decision.

MWC Players (68 players/31.2% of MWC transfers): WR Conner Wnek, LB Grayson Cook, RB Marceese Yetts, QB Warren Bryan, P Charles Bein, OL Joshua Sauickie, DB Jordan Little, TE Troy de la Vega, QB Jack Sears, DB Damon Cole, RB Tanner Hollens, CB Linwood Crump, RB Christian Hunter, OT Elijah Johnson, OL Tau(tai)leua Li’o Marks, DB Dominique Hall, DE Issac Garcia, TE Rory Hanson, K/P Alberto Arroyo, LB Hunter Nabers, QB Anthony Arnou, LB Malik Brooks, LB Kalani Kamakawiwo’ole, DB Michael Graham, DB Solo Turner, DL O’tay Baker, LB Brigden Craig, WR Carson Walters, LB James Lewis, CB Damon Gentry, DL Ben Gansallo, WR CJay Boone, DL Ilaisa Gonebure, DB Allan Mwata, QB Jordon Brookshire, DB Rashad Scott, WR Elijah Kothe, DB Chance Johnson, WR Jamar Simpson, RB Charlie Bostic, DB Joshua Gomez, WR Aaron Holloway, DB Jeremiah Houston, LB Malakai Salu, LB Malcolm Johnson, DB Jamel Hamm, WR Malik Weasley, QB Justin Rogers, DB Dominic Brown, LB Dondi Fuller, OL Jeminai Leuta-Ulu, DB Kamren Blanton, DE Mata Hola, LB Simon Thompson, RB Elelyon Noa, LB Patrick Maddox, DB Keith Harris, CB Shawn Gates, WR Tim Patrick, K Joey Rouly, DE Holden Tennant, WR Micah Davis, LB Malakai Grant, DB Jordan Nichols, RB Jakai Torres, DB Monte McGary