The 20 best players in college football's transfer portal right now - Version 1.0

Updated: Dec 8, 2021



Say this for college sports - whether you agree or disagree with the one-time transfer rule being put into place (and I think most of us kind of think it's the right thing at this point) what can't be denied is that it has unquestionably changed how we consume college football and college basketball in the winter.


Because of it, here at Aaron Torres Online, we're trying to be your one-stop shop for all things transfers.


We have our ever-updating transfer tracker. You can bookmark that page and come back for all the latest transfer news.


We have a Twitter feed dedicated specifically to college football transfers - you can follow @CFBTransfers.


And now, we unveil our "Top 20 list."


While the tracker is designed strictly to give you a running tab of all the players entering the portal, this list is designed to tell you who the best players are in the portal, where they may be leaning, or ultimately committing.


Understand that this will be changing throughout the winter, and off-season in general as more kids hit the portal and more players become available.


With that said, here is our first edition of the "20 Best Players in the Transfer Portal - Right Now."


1. Eli Ricks, CB, LSU (Uncommitted): While there will be plenty of debate the further we get into this list, it feels like there should be little doubt who is No. 1. And frankly it might not even be close.


Ricks is a former five-star recruit and Top 20 player overall in the high school class of 2020, and a player who is seemingly tracking to one day be a first round pick in the NFL Draft. As a freshman last year he finished with four interceptions and 20 total tackles, and had one interception in 2021 before an injury cut short his season.


Ricks has publicly said he came to LSU to play for Ed Orgeron, so when Coach O was fired, it wasn't surprising that he elected to leave the school. Since entering the portal he has heard from some of the biggest names in college football, including Ohio State and Alabama.


2. Dillon Gabriel, QB, UCF: In his two years playing under Josh Heupel at UCF, Gabriel was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in college football, putting up nearly 7,000 yards passing in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, with 32 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 2020.


Still, he never seemed like a natural fit under Gus Malzahn and following a season-ending injury early in the year, elected to hit the portal.


He should receive all sorts of interest from big-time programs, and because he's originally from Hawaii, many anticipate he heads out to Pac-12 country. It also isn't inconceivable that he re-unites with Heupel at Tennessee, but with Hendon Hooker back for another year, that seems a bit less realistic.


However the first team that will have a chance to make an impression on Gabriel is Lane Kiffin's Ole Miss Rebels - where he'll visit this weekend.


3. Zach Evans, RB, TCU: Evans is a former five-star running back and one of the top high school running backs in the class of 2020, that was once committed to Georgia before ending up at TCU.


In two years at the school he showed off his explosive play-making abilities (averaging seven yards per carry and 13 yards per catch) but also seemed under-utilized this season, with just 92 total carries.


With Gary Patterson's departure he elected to enter the portal following the season.


4. Jadon Haslewood, WR, Oklahoma: With Lincoln Riley leaving Oklahoma for USC, you'll see quite a few former Sooners on this list, and Haselwood is towards the top.


A former five-star wide receiver originally from Georgia, Haselwood battled injuries his first two years, before breaking out with 39 catches and six touchdowns in 2021. Those 39 catches and six touchdowns were both tops on the Sooners this season.


Expect Haslewood to receive interest from just about everyone in the SEC and Southeast portion of the country now that he's officially in the portal.


UPDATE: Haselwood has committed to... ARKANSAS


5. Theo Wease, WR, Oklahoma: Wease and Haselwood are essentially interchangeable on this list, and what's especially interesting is that their trajectories are the exact opposite.


While Haslewood was hurt most of this year and banged up earlier in his career, Wease missed all of this past season with an injury. But in 2020 he was nothing short of a star, tallying 37 catches, which was tied for most on the team.


Like Haselwood, he'll have no shortage of suitors. Originally from Texas, you'd have to think the two big Texas schools (A&M and Texas) would especially have interest.


6. Jake Haener, QB, Fresno State: Haener is one of the more interesting names on this list, as he began his career at Washington only to transfer to Fresno State where he put up prolific numbers this season. Overall, he ranked in the Top 10 nationally in both total passing yards (over 3,800) and touchdown passes with 32.


Ironically his head coach Kalen DeBoer took the Washington job this off-season, and it seems expected that Haener will eventually follow his coach there.


Because this is his second transfer, he would require a waiver from the NCAA to be eligible in the 2022 season.


7. Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma: Unquestionably the biggest name in the portal, Rattler will also probably draw the most attention of everyone available.


One of the top high school quarterbacks in the class of 2019, Rattler's trajectory is well-documented. He led Oklahoma to a Big 12 title and Cotton Bowl win in 2020, throwing for 28 touchdowns, before losing the starting job to Caleb Williams midway through this season.


At this point, we know Rattler's limitations, but it is worth noting that again, he led OU to a Big 12 title last year, and was actually completing almost 75 percent of his passes when he was benched.


Early reports were that Arizona State would be a logical landing spot for Rattler, but there are reports that the Sun Devils - with Jayden Daniels likely returning for another season - aren't interested.


8. Terrence Lewis, LB, Maryland: Lewis is an absolutely fascinating story, as he was rated the top linebacker in the class of 2021 and once committed to Tennessee before landing at Maryland. However, an injury in fall camp cost him his freshman campaign and he has now decided to transfer.


Lewis is originally from Miami, and you'd assume that the Hurricanes and most SEC programs would be involved.


9. TiYon Evans, RB, Tennessee: Tennessee had an absolute resurgence under Josh Heupel this year, and it was thanks in large part to Evans - who was the team's leading rusher when he decided to enter the portal shortly before the season ended.


Evans showed just how good he can be while in a Vols uniform with 156 yards against Missouri and 119 yards against South Carolina, but appeared to fall out of favor with Heupel, with just eight carries in his final two games before hitting the portal.


A junior college transfer, Evans will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.


UPDATE: TiYon Evans has committed to... LOUISVILLE


10. Myles Brennan, QB, LSU: Poor Brennan just couldn't catch a break at LSU. After sitting behind Joe Burrow for two years, Brennan won the job to start the 2020 season throwing for 11 touchdowns and over 1,100 yards in just three games, before suffering a season-ending injury. He suffered a different injury before 2021 and never got to play at all this past season.


With Coach O out Brennan elected to hit the portal. Assuming he can stay healthy, he has a chance to be really good, at a high-major somewhere. In his final start at LSU all the way back in early 2020, he threw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns against Missouri.


11. Miles Frazier, OT, Florida International: Frazier was a virtual unknown just days ago. But as the old saying goes, "You are the company you keep" and since entering the portal, Frazier's phone has been blown up by some of the biggest programs in college football.


Among the schools that have officially offered Frazier since he entered the portal include Texas A&M, Florida State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn.


It does not appear as though the 6'5 Frazier, who started every game for FIU this season, is in any rush to make a decision on his future.


12. Jordan Watkins, WR, Louisville: Louisville finished its regular season 6-6 on Saturday, but it's been a tough off-season since, with a few of their best players electing to leave the program.


No one is more prominent than the explosive Watkins, who finished second on the team in catches this past season (35), with four touchdowns. In the process he averaged a blistering 15 yards per completion.


Watkins is from Louisville and nearly committed to Kentucky out of high school, so it wouldn't be a shock to see him end up a Wildcat.


13. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Georgia Tech: Gibbs was one of the best running backs in the ACC this season and one of the few bright spots for Georgia Tech, before electing to enter the portal earlier this week.


He finished this season with a team-high 746 yards with an average of five yards per carry, before deciding to leave the school.


A former Top 100 prospect, he had offers from Alabama and Florida among many others coming out of high school.


14. Jacoby Wiindmon, LB, UNLV: Put simply, Windmon was a monster this year at UNLV, tallying 112 total tackles and 6.5 sacks. That tackle total was among the Top 15 in all of college football.


Like Frazier, Windmon is a product of the company he keeps - and he has heard from plenty of power programs since entering the portal. Among the schools that have already offered scholarships include Texas, Minnesota and a handful of other Power 5 schools.


UPDATE: Windmon has committed to MICHIGAN STATE


15. Jack Miller, QB, Ohio State: With four quarterbacks all on the roster who technically had freshman eligibility this year, there was always going to be (at least) one odd man out. That was Miller, who elected to hit the portal immediately after the season ended.


A former four-star, Miller had a total of 14 pass attempts this season, completing seven for 101 yards and zero touchdowns. It's also worth noting that he had a bit of trouble with the law, dealing with a drunk driving infraction.


Originally from Arizona, it's expected that he draw interest from mostly West Coast schools.


Other names to know:


16. Austin Stogner, TE, Oklahoma

17. Tyrese Chambers, WR, FIU

18. Adrian Martinez, QB, Nebraska

19. Khris Bogle, LB, Florida

20. Marcus Banks, CB, Alabama


Players who were previously on this list that have already committed:


12. Lyn-J Dixon, RB, Clemson (committed to West Virginia)


Make sure to follow all our of transfer news on Twitter - @CFBTransfers