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MWCConnection Roundtable: Which team will benefit most from their transfer additions in 2023?

The team shares their thoughts on transfers.

NCAA Football: Mountain West Championship-Fresno State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

As the weekly roundtable marches on, we take a week to turn out attention toward the incoming transfers for Mountain West teams. The transfer portal has made a significant impact on college football and the Mountain West Conference has seen many players enter and leave through the portal. Looking to the 2023 football season, which team will receive the biggest boost from the transfers they have brought in this offseason?

Mike: I believe there are multiple right answers to this question. It is important to keep in mind some teams, like Boise State and San Diego State, use the portal to fill specific needs in small doses. Other teams, like Colorado State, Hawaii, or Nevada, use a high amount of their recruiting efforts on transfers, accounting for at least half of their class. Taking all of that into consideration, my answer will be Nevada. I’m a bit partial to what the Wolf Pack have done, especially on offense. While I’m not completely sold on the quarterback, they addressed that need. I really like what they did at running back, getting a 1-2 punch there once again. They bolstered the offense line, as well as the defensive line/edge position. I think those gaps will help them compete more consistently next year, even if there is still a long way to go.

Graham: I think that the team that receives the biggest boost from transfers brought in is going to be Nevada. 247 Sports does rank Nevada a place behind San Diego State in the transfer rankings for the Mountain West, however Nevada is bringing in 13 transfers which should help to fit specific needs for the Wolfpack and bring a boost. Among notable transfers are receiver John Jackson III (USC), tight end Keleki Latu (California), quarterback Brendon Lewis (Colorado), running back Sean Dollars (Oregon), and linebacker Adrian Jackson (Oregon). These players will provide depth and experience, especially on offense and defense which should help Nevada to be more competitive this season. I really like the running backs that Oregon added as well as the talent at quarterback in Brendon Lewis.

Zach: Jeff Tedford seems to have a really good grasp on how to find success in the transfer portal. I think people are sleeping on Mikey Keene. Keene will finish the season as one of the top three or four quarterbacks in the league. It is not a huge transfer class, but the Bulldogs also did a nice job of filling in some holes at wide receiver with the additions of Mikel Berkley and Jaelen Gill.

Jeff: The Aztecs are entering the twilight zone with their status as a conference member in limbo. Too detailed to explain here but it looks like lawyers will determine if they left and need to reapply or if another conference will pick them up. That aside, Brady Hoke is entering what looks to be an extremely challenging year of plugging some major cracks in the Aztec system. Seven transfers show at this time led by some intriguing possibilities. Western Carolina WR Raphael Williams, New Mexico LB Cody Moon and Oregon CB Jamie Tucker are the main headliners followed by Texas S JD Coffee and Oklahoma State DL Samuela Tuinhalamaka. There look to still be some needs that will have to be addressed heading into fall camp. There is much to look forward to, but this year could be full of twists and turns in the Aztec Zone.

NittanyFalcon: I’m not going to jump in on something I’m not all that knowledgeable about. I will say that Utah State has been the best at this in the past, but nothing about this year’s transfers looks all that helpful. I also will comment about how bad the combination of easy transfers and NIL money is for Air Force. This year, the Falcons lost Michael Mack to the portal as a senior. To leave as a senior means that he is responsible for repaying his education costs back to the Air Force. I’m not sure what the going rate is for costs at the Academy, but the total will be a level that normal people couldn’t easily pay unless there is a good deal of money coming in from NIL deals. That of course means the Big 10 or the SEC, and sure enough, he got an offer from Wisconsin.

Jack: Readers may have been surprised when UNLV was projected at 6 wins, despite the transition to new head coach Barry Odom. A big reason why is how much talent and experience they brought in with the transfer portal. I’ll attempt to be brief. The RB room adds Pitt veteran Vincent Davis and W&M standout Donavyn Lester. Four quality WRs were signed to take some workload away from Ricky White and Senika McKie. Five offensive lineman were brought in, with Buffalo center Jack Hasz and Arkansas 4 star Jalen St John expected to start. I won’t name every defensive addition, but the LB room picked up LSU’s Zavier Carter and CSU’s Bam Amina, who are both breakout candidates. Arizona safety Jaxen Turner is a proven P5 starter, and Nevada’s JoJuan Claiborne should also make some plays. And last but not least, Missouri State kicker Jose Pizano was an FCS All-American. The Rebels may not win the conference, but they will certainly win a bunch of games due to their acquisitions through the transfer portal.

Matt: I could be the homer pick and go for Fresno State after picking up Mikey Keene, Jaelen Gill, and Dean Calrk, but I think that Nevada did the best this year. Year 1 under Kevin Wilson showed a lot of spots that need improvement, and they’ve recruited and hit the transfer portal hard to address those needs. Peyton Dixon continues his tour of the MWC, but they cleaned up on PAC-12 transfers. 3 from Oregon, 4 from Cal, and one each from USC and Colorado should provide a lot of boosts to a team looking to take a 2nd year jump in Reno.

Dom: Every team has a different approach in the transfer portal. Nevada went out and pounced, bringing in 13 transfers, which makes them the team with the biggest boost. When you’re not only able to fill a lot of holes, but also able to fill them with players from highly ranked schools, I’d say that’s a win. Bringing in linebackers Adrian Jackson, Jackson LaDuke, and running back Sean Dollars from Oregon was a huge step in Nevada’s rebuild. Quarterback Brendon Lewis is going to provide a lot more competition and talent in the QB room as well. Ken Wilson definitely took the right step forward for his second year, and I see Nevada having a huge improvement over last year’s two-win season.

Adam: Time to be a homer once again and promote the New Mexico Lobos. This is a team that at the end of last season was atrocious on offense. I’ve documented that many times this offseason. So, what could be the most beneficial to a struggling offense and a new coordinator? The coordinator’s old quarterback. The addition of Dylan Hopkins to UNM is underrated across the board. Hopkins led a UAB team to average 36 points a game, accounting for 12 touchdowns last season himself. The Lobos as a team only scored 14 the same season. On defense, Bryson Washington coming from Oklahoma will help out a defense returning just five starters. Nothing like Power 5 athleticism to shore up a weak spot for UNM.