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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Surprise Players

We generally think of surprises as good things; that’s not always the case

UCF v USF Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The transfer portal has changed the landscape of college football. Players who struggle to find time at big schools often leave and find important roles at smaller schools. It has also made predicting how the season will play out much more difficult. In this week’s edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” we are going to look at a top transfer from each Mountain West program and gauge what kind of impact they will have at their new school.

The Good

Mikey Keene (Fresno State)

Keene will probably go down as the most impactful transfer in the Mountain West. He has big shoes to fill with Jake Haener off to the NFL. Keene will have a really good season and help the Bulldogs contend for another Mountain West championship.

Howard Brown (Boise State)

Brown is an intriguing player at the defensive tackle position. The Iowa State transfer should contend for a starting spot at position of need for the Boise State defense. I think Brown will be an immediate contributor. Brown still has three years of eligibility and should become a fixture of the defense for years to come.

Kuao Peihopa (Hawaii)

The Washington transfer is a massive addition to a Rainbow Warrior defensive line that struggled to stop the run in 2022. Peihopa will be an immediate contributor and should fit in nicely to what Timmy Chang is building in Honolulu.

JD Coffey (San Diego State)

The Aztec secondary struggled some in 2022, which was a surprise considering that it is usually the strong spot for the team. Coffey might be a little small for a safety, but the Texas transfer is a solid athlete and should be an immediate contributor for the Aztecs.

Jay Butterfield (San Jose State)

The Oregon transfer quarterback was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school. Butterfield had some solid programs recruiting him in the transfer portal. His commitment to the Spartans is huge for the future of the program. He likely won’t start until 2024, but he provides depth behind Cordeiro and should step in nicely next fall.

Zavier Carter (UNLV)

Carter is easily the msot inriguing prospect in UNLV’s transfer class. Carter’s playing time was limited at LSU, but if you watch his high school tape and even some of the brief highlights of his time in Baton Rouge, there is no reason he can’t be a high level pass rusher in the Mountain West.

Colby Bowman (Utah State)

The Aggies need a dynamic wide receiver that can make plays down the field. Stanford transfer Colby Bowman is their best chance at an elite playmaker in this transfer class. My concern is that Bowman struggled to contribute in a Stanford offense where playing time should have been plentiful. Bowman will play, but I don’t expect him to be a significant contributor.

The Bad

Dallin Holker (Colorado State)

Holker is a big tight end with a really high ceiling. The transfer tight end has the ability to make an impact as a blocker and a receiver. I was a little surprised to see the BYU transfer select Colorado State. Jay Norvell is notorious for underutilizing tight ends. Maybe Holker will be the exception.

Dylan Hopkins (New Mexico)

Lobo fans are understandably excited about what Hopkins can bring to the table at quarterback for the Lobos. Hopkins found success in a UAB system that has some solid athletes that could make plays around him. He does not have the same kind of help around him at New Mexico. Hopkins will be an upgrade, but that doesn’t mean he won’t strugggle.

The Ugly

Devin Boddie Jr. (Wyoming)

For a team that has been ravaged by the transfer portal in recent seasons, I expected the Cowboys to do a better job in the portal. Boddie was the only Power Five addition in this class for the Cowboys and he is much smaller than the typical Cowboy wide receiver. Maybe Boddie will bring another level of athleticism to this offense, but if this is your top addition, the class has to be considered disappointing.

Brandon Lewis (Nevada)

We saw plenty of Brandon Lewis during his time with Colorado. Lewis struggled on intermediate and deep passes. He will compete for the starting job in Reno, but I would be concerned if I was a Wolf Pack fan and he wins it.

Air Force can’t utilize the transfer portal

Which transfer will have the biggest impact for your school? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.