Every Big Ten team's biggest loss to the transfer portal
Tis the season for the portal.
College football players are coming and going as never before thanks to the loosening of NCAA restrictions that required players to sit out a year before playing for their new program.
Every Big Ten program has multiple players in the transfer portal, though in most cases these are guys looking to go somewhere they can actually get onto the field.
In some instances, though, those players have actually shown some promise for the program they intend to leave.
Here is a look at every B1G team’s biggest defection this offseason. This list helps make it clear that not all transfer portal losses are equal.
Illinois: WR Deuce Spann
Spann entered the portal on Wednesday afternoon.
The redshirt freshman signed with the Illini as a quarterback before being moved to receiver this season.
Spann was considered the fastest player on Illinois’ offense, and made a major impact the few times he touched the ball — 5 receptions for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns.
It’s unclear whether Spann realized he should be getting the ball more or wants to move back to quarterback, but the Florida native will be taking his talents elsewhere.
THANK YOU! pic.twitter.com/24zb83QxIX
— DEUCE (@deucespann) December 22, 2021
Indiana: WR Miles Marshall
Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. seems like the obvious answer here, but this season it became clear a reset would be best for both sides of that relationship. Penix was unlikely to start at IU next season.
Marshall, on the other hand, was poised to be a major contributor next season. He was third on the team with 22 receptions for 311 yards, and actually led the Hoosiers with 14.1 yards per catch.
Iowa: WR Tyrone Tracy (Purdue)
Tracy’s usage decreased over his Iowa career, but with David Bell leaving for the NFL he’ll have a chance to make an impact at his new school.
After catching 36 passes for 589 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2019, Tracy caught 14 balls for 154 yards in 2020 and 15 for 106 this season.
Maryland: LB Branden Jennings
Jennings is just a freshman, and on the surface it looked like a promising career was in front of him at Maryland. In 7 games, Jennings recorded 23 tackles with a forced fumble.
Jennings was a 4-star recruit who originally committed to Florida State before flipping to Maryland. A reversal could end up being in order now that he’s in the portal.
Michigan: OG Nolan Rumler (Kent State)
Because the Wolverines are still alive in the College Football Playoff, only 2 players have entered the portal at this time.
Rumler, who has 2 years of eligibility remaining, only made 2 career appearances at Michigan and will continue his career at Kent State.
Michigan State: TE Trenton Gillison
Gillison, a former 4-star recruit, aims to revive that potential in a fresh setting after seeing his playing time tail off significantly this season. He only appeared in half of Michigan State’s games in 2021.
Gillison had 18 catches for 201 yards in his Michigan State career.
Minnesota: OT Saia Mapakaitolo
Mapakaitolo was a freshman who didn’t make an appearance in his lone season with the Golden Gophers.
The 3-star recruit ended up at Minnesota because he was told by USC’s then-coaching staff that they didn’t want him to sign until February. He went with the Gophers last December. Mapakaitolo’s marriage of convenience with Minnesota is now over.
Nebraska: QB Adrian Martinez (Kansas State)
Martinez’s erratic play was maddening at times, but there’s no easy way to replace a 4-year starter at quarterback.
Martinez figures to benefit from pairing with Kansas State coach Chris Klieman and quarterbacks coach Collin Klein, while Scott Frost may benefit from finding a fresh face who is less mistake-prone.
Northwestern: DL Te-Rah Edwards (Illinois)
There aren’t many defections in Evanston when it comes to players who have actually gotten onto the field.
Edwards, who has 2 career tackles in 2 seasons, is the most accomplished Wildcat to enter the portal. He’ll be heading down to Champaign to continue his career at Illinois.
Ohio State: QB Quinn Ewers (Texas)
Ewers, who infamously enrolled early at Ohio State for the explicitly stated reason of cashing in on the NCAA’s newly-passed NIL rules, is already gone.
He was the Buckeyes’ 4th-string quarterback, but as the top-rated prospect in the country last year his transfer to Texas is still considered a pretty big deal. 5-star quarterbacks don’t grow on trees.
Penn State: QB Ta’Quan Roberson
Once the Nittany Lions signed a 5-star quarterback in this year’s signing class (Drew Allar), Roberson could read the writing on the wall.
Roberson struggled mightily against Iowa when he was pulled off the bench for an injured Sean Clifford. The former 4-star recruit will get a chance somewhere that’s looking to use a true dual-threat quarterback.
Purdue: QB Jack Plummer
Plummer split quarterbacking duties with Aidan O’Connell over the course of 3 years until O’Connell finally wrestled away the starting job for good midway through this season.
Plummer, a native of Gilbert, Ariz., has 2 years left to play. He’s thrown 26 career touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Wisconsin: RB Jalen Berger (Michigan State)
Talent wasn’t the issue for Berger, who was dismissed from Wisconsin’s roster in October after reportedly missing team meetings and workouts.
Berger was the No. 15-ranked running back in the country when he signed with Wisconsin in 2019. Now he will attempt to duplicate Kenneth Walker’s transfer success at Michigan State.