Trading places: One B1G player from each team that every other team would love to have
The transfer portal has changed college football. Whether you love it or hate, you can’t deny its impact. It has allowed players to look for better situations while also creating plenty of entertainment in the offseason.
There are now team personnel assigned to monitor and recruit the transfer portal. I’m sure there are guys on each team that they hope to see enter the portal.
We don’t see a ton of intra-conference transferring, with maybe just a few each year. Jalen Berger going from Wisconsin to Michigan State was the most prominent this season. Oliver Martin will forever be a legend for transferring to a B1G team not once, but twice (from Michigan to Iowa and now Nebraska).
So, let’s play what-if. Here’s 1 B1G player from each team who would make the biggest impact at another B1G school, with the obvious disclaimer that these guys are all seemingly happy with where they are:
Illinois: RB Josh McCray
The true freshman got sporadic playing time in 2021, but he took full advantage when he got the ball. He had 2 games of at least 24 carries and 142 yards (against Purdue and Penn State). But aside from another game in which he got 16 carries, McCray played sparingly. In the game before Penn State and the 2 games after, he played a total of 16 snaps. With leading rusher Chase Brown not draft eligible until 2024, McCray could see more carries elsewhere.
Indiana: WR DJ Matthews Jr.
The Florida State transfer came to Indiana thinking he was joining a budding East power and about to follow in the footsteps of Ty Fryfogle and Whop Philyor. But it was a struggle in 2021, even for Fryfogle. Matthews tore his ACL, and Indiana fired its offensive coordinator on the way to a 2-10 season. When fully healthy, it would be fun to see Matthews in a good offense.
Iowa: QB Alex Padilla
The 6-foot-1 Padilla is something different than the QBs that Iowa usually goes after: tall pocket passers. He actually moves really well and showed promise in the 3 games Spencer Petras was out. It’d be interesting to see him with another team that knows how to utilize his skillset.
Maryland: OT Jaelyn Duncan
The 2-time honorable mention All-B1G lineman could’ve gotten drafted in the middle rounds had he gone pro, but since he is returning, he could be one of the league’s top tackles. And who couldn’t use a guy like that?
Michigan: WR AJ Henning
The former 4-star recruit was sixth among Michigan wideouts in snaps this year, but he still flashed a ton of ability with 3 TDs (2 rushing, 1 on special teams). Henning can fly, and it’d be interesting to see what he could do with a few more reps.
AJ HENNING FOR SIX 🔥🔥
What a start for @UMichFootball in THE Game ‼️
— 247Sports (@247Sports) November 27, 2021
Michigan State: WR Tre Mosley
Mosley’s role as a No. 2 wideout is solidified with Michigan State, though it would be intriguing to add him to another pass-happy squad, like Purdue, and see what kind of numbers he would put up without a No. 1 like Jayden Reed in his way. Michigan State will want to keep him right where he is, though, as he can soak up some of Jalen Nailor’s production.
Minnesota: WR Dylan Wright
The Texas A&M transfer and former 4-star recruit has a ton of ability, but he his snaps went down every week. He played 48 snaps against Ohio State in the opener, when he hauled in a contested-catch TD. He logged 10 snaps or fewer in 5 of the last 8 games. He would be a fun weapon in a pass-heavy offense, which is not Minnesota.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 3, 2021
Nebraska: WR Zavier Betts
The No. 112 overall recruit in the 2020 class hasn’t exactly broken out yet at Nebraska, but the talent is there. He only got 3 carries last season, but he took 1 of them 83 yards to the house. Maybe he will blossom in Mark Whipple’s system, but it hasn’t happened yet.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 3, 2021
Northwestern: OT Peter Skoronski
Northwestern will do everything it can to hang onto one of its top players, obviously. But if Skoronski were to become available, his recruitment would be like Brandon Joseph, who wound up at Notre Dame. That’s to say, he’d have plenty of suitors. The Second Team All-B1G player in 2020 is stuck in a low-ceiling offense.
Ohio State: QB Kyle McCord
Ever since the Buckeyes wound up with 4 blue-chip quarterbacks on the roster this fall, opposing programs have been monitoring the situation with intrigue. Well, 2 of them are gone (Quinn Ewers and Jack Miller) and a new one has come in (Devin Brown), joining starter CJ Stroud and backup Kyle McCord. Stroud is locked in as the starter, meaning McCord could help just about every other B1G team in 2022.
Penn State: RB Caziah Holmes
Holmes was a top-200 recruit in 2020 and showed off that ability as a true freshman in averaging 4.5 yards per carry while appearing in 8 games. But Holmes redshirted in 2021, appearing in only 3 games. He will likely be a backup in 2022 behind Keyvone Lee and true freshman Nicholas Singleton, the Gatorade National Player of the Year. Holmes could help a lot of RB-needy teams.
Purdue: QB Austin Burton
The UCLA transfer has never gotten the chance to show what he can do in a game, and with Aidan O’Connell back for another year, Burton is headed for another season as the backup.
Rutgers: QB Johnny Langan
Langan does a little bit of everything, which is why he could be such an intriguing player for anyone. He was Rutgers’ Team MVP in the Gator Bowl, hauling in 6 passes for 57 yards while also running for 20 yards and completing 2 passes for 21 yards. An innovative offensive coordinator would have a lot of fun using Langan.
Wisconsin: RB Chez Mellusi
I know, Mellusi already transferred once. After opening the season as the starter, though, Mellusi may have gotten Wally Pipped, as in he lost his spot to true freshman Braelon Allen after getting injured. Allen is the future, and it remains to be seen how much work Mellusi will get. Given Wisconsin’s propensity over the years to rely on one back, Mellusi would be very valuable to other B1G teams.