top of page

The 20 best players in college football's transfer portal - RIGHT NOW - VERSION 2.0

With the college football regular season complete, the fun has really just started.

That's right, people! It's TRANSFER PORTAL SEASON!

We here at Aaron Torres Media take the portal very seriously (some might say "too seriously") actually. That's why in addition to our regular content on the podcast and YouTube, we also run the college football transfers Twitter page. You can follow along here - and make sure to follow the live blog here.

Still, with the portal now open for a full 72 hours, we're starting to get a feel for all the big names who've entered and where they stack up - because of it, it's time for the first version of our "Best 15 players in the transfer portal RIGHT NOW."

We'll continue to update this throughout the winter, as everything moves fast (We've already had a few players who would be on this list) commit.

So, let's get to all the big names and where they could end up.

1. Walter Nolen, DL, Texas A&M

Nolen officially entered the portal just a few days after it opened - and when he did, it sent shockwaves throughout the college football world. You simply don't find players this good, with this much experience and talent, available at a premium position.

Nolen was the No. 2 overall ranked player in the 2022 high school class (behind only Travis Hunter) and top ranked player in the historic 2022 Texas A&M recruiting class. And once he got to campus, he did not disappoint, finishing this season with 8.5 TFL's and four sacks. He did it on a deep defensive line and playing through a late season injury suffered at Tennessee.

Add it up, and Nolen has "Top 10 in the NFL Draft type talent" which is why he has schools lining up to try and sign him.

Nolen took his first visit of the portal cycle to Oregon this weekend, and is expected to visit Ole Miss this coming weekend. Others such as Tennessee (his home state school), Georgia, LSU, Texas and more expected to be involved in his recruitment.

2. Fadil Diggs, DE, Texas A&M

While Walter Nolen was the most notable of all the former Texas A&M players to hit the transfer portal last week, it was actually Diggs who was indisputably the most productive.

The fourth-year senior has been a menace along the defensive front for the Aggies the last two years, and is coming off his best season in 2023. This past fall, Diggs finished second on Texas A&M with 11 tackles for loss, while also tallying four sacks, for one of college football's Top 10 defenses.

Diggs could have gone pro this spring, but instead, appears ready to pursue college options instead, and appears to have set two visits.

Per 247 Sports, Diggs will visit Alabama and Syracuse this weekend. Remember, former Texas A&M d-line coach Elijah Robinson is now Syracuse's new defensive coordinator.

3. Will Rogers, QB, Mississippi State

Poor Rogers has had a near impossible last year, as he - and all of the Mississippi State football community - lost head coach Mike Leach right around a year ago. Then he returned to Starkville, only to see former head coach Zac Arnett completely change up the offense, before injuries plagued him throughout the season.

Because of it, it's hard to forget of just how productive this kid was, when he was in a system that fit his skill-set and abilities. Remember, his 12,315 career passing yards are second most in SEC history, and his 94 career passing touchdowns rank fourth as well. That included back-to-back 35 touchdown performances in 2021 and 2022, helping the Bulldogs to a 9-win season a year ago.

Rogers has officially been in the portal for a few days now, and it appears as though Washington has emerged as the favorite to land his services.

4. Trey Moore, DE, UTSA

Moore followed up a Freshman All-American season in 2022, with one of the elite performances anywhere in college football in 2023. That's because this past fall, Moore had a staggering 17.5 TFL's and 14 sacks, finishing in the Top 10 nationally in both categories.

In the process, he earned AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Unfortunately in the new era of college football, it also meant that he will now enter the transfer portal looking for a bigger stage and more NIL opportunities.

In terms of Moore's next stop, a handful of crystal balls have been logged for Texas, although Ohio State appears to still be in the mix.

5. Princely Umanmielen, DE, Florida

There weren't very many bright spots for Florida this pasts season, but Umanmielen was one. The 6'4 edge rusher was a breakout star for the Gators leading them with 11.5 tackles for loss as well as in sacks, with seven.

After speculation that he could enter the NFL Draft, he has instead decided to use his final year of eligibility elsewhere, much to the chagrin of frustrated Gator fans.

Umanmielen reportedly visited Ole Miss earlier this week, with other buzz indicating Nebraska could be a factor as well.

6. Antwane "Juice" Wells, WR, South Carolina

Another player who was beset by injuries this year, Wells was quite literally one of the most productive receivers in the SEC when healthy in 2022.

During his debut season at South Carolina (after transferring in from James Madison), Wells led the SEC in receiving yards with 928, making 68 catches, and averaging 13 yards per grab. Unfortunately, he was beset by injuries that limited him to just three games this season.

Now in the portal as a grad transfer, Wells might be the most coveted player on the board. He was expected to visit Texas this weekend but eventually cancelled, with the Longhorns, Ole Miss and Oregon all emerging as players in his recruitment.

7. Cam Ward, QB, Washington State

After transferring in from the FCS level two years ago, Ward quickly established himself into one of the most prolific passers in all of college football the last two seasons.

In two years in Pullman he threw for 7,165 yards with 61 total touchdowns, including 25 touchdowns this past season. In the process, the Cougars finished sixth nationally in total offense.

Since entering the portal, Ward has been linked to several major schools, and visited Miami this week. He also could look into his potential NFL Draft future, throwing a wrinkle into his entire recruitment.

8. Trevor Etienne, RB, Florida

There weren't very many bright spots for Florida this year, but Etienne was one.

Now, unfortunately for Gators fans, he is headed out the door.

The sophomore finished second on the team in rushing with 573 yards on the ground, averaging five yards per carry, with eight touchdowns. He also caught 21 balls out of the backfield.

Now though, Etienne will move on.

And in a gut punch to Gator fans, Georgia is the perceived favorite.

9. LT Overton, DL, Texas A&M

A second Texas A&M defensive lineman makes this list (and likely a third if/when Fadil Diggs officially enters the portal), as Overton announced on Tuesday he was out after two years.

Overton was actually regarded as one of the top players in the high school class of 2023, before deciding to reclassify and enroll at Texas A&M in 2022. His best season came as a true freshman where he had three TFL's and one sack, before tallying 17 total tackles before.

While the production isn't off the charts, the bottom line remains that there just aren't that many guys his size, who move like he does.

Overton visited South Carolina this past weekend, and has been tied to Alabama as well.

10. Aidan Chiles, QB, Oregon State

One of the highest rated recruits to ever commit to Oregon State, Chiles was the quarterback of the future in Corvallis under Jonathan Smith. But when the Pac-12 fell apart and Smith opted to go to Michigan State, Chiles decided to enter the portal.

The former four-star QB from the Los Angeles area, Chiles played one season in Corvallis, throwing for 309 yards and four touchdowns in limited snaps.

With Smith heading to East Lansing, there are reports that Chiles could follow him and be the focal point of Michigan State's rebuild.

11. Dante Moore, QB, UCLA

Another highly-coveted QB in the high school class of 2023, Moore - like Chiles - is on the move. In Moore's case, it was after one year at UCLA.

Unlike Chiles, Moore got plenty of reps, starting several games, completing 53 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. And while the returns weren't great (there's been conversation from Moore's side about how he was used in Chip Kelly's offense) everyone in college football seems ready to bet on the upside of Moore. He was ranked as the No. 2 quarterback in the 2023 recruiting class after all, behind only Arch Manning.

A report from 247 Sports seemed to indicate that an early four have emerged for Moore, a four which includes Florida State, Miami, Michigan and Oregon.

Interestingly, we got a report this weekend that Moore could still land at Oregon, where he'd back up Dillon Gabriel this season, before presumably taking over as starter in the fall of 2025.

12. Will Sheppard, WR, Vanderbilt

It was a largely forgettable season at Vanderbilt, but Sheppard's play - not only this year, but for the last few - has been one of the Commodores' few bright spots.

Sheppard was again awesome this year, making 47 catches, 684 yards and eight touchdowns. Those numbers are actually a bit down from a year ago, when he had 60 catches for 776 yards and nine scores.

The bottom line is that Sheppard is elite, and frankly maybe too low on this list.

It will be interesting and fun to (hopefully) see him in a more dynamic offense come to 2024.

13. Nyland Green, CB, Georgia

Green is a former five-star, Top 20 prospect in the class of 2021. And although it didn't quite work out at Georgia, that might be more of an indictment on the Bulldogs' insane defensive back depth, than anything he did wrong.

In three seasons in Athens Green had just 13 total tackles, with one pass break up this season.

Still, he is a highly-coveted player, at a position of need, and has no shortage of suitors. He will visit North Carolina and Arkansas this weekend.

14. Kyle McCord, QB, Ohio State

If you listen to the Aaron Torres Pod at all, you know that I've become a bit of a Kyle McCord truther.

Do I think he's the perfect prospect? Far from it. Do I think he's as good as CJ Stroud or Justin Fields before him? Absolutely not. Do I think he got wayyyyy too much of the blame for Ohio State's loss to Michigan? I do.

And I think it's best for all parties that he move on.

In terms of what he brings, well, we've all seen him at this point. He isn't super-athletic, but did still throw for over 3,100 yards and 24 touchdowns this season.

McCord is reportedly on Nebraska's campus right now, with the Huskers emerging as a front runner.

15. Samuel Okunlola, DE, Pitt

A redshirt freshman this year, Okunlola was a breakout star for an otherwise forgettable Pitt team. In his first full season on the field, the 6’4 rusher had five sacks, six TFL’s, and one forced fumble.

And if there was any doubt of just how coveted Okunlola is, well his early offer list tells the story. Among the schools to extend scholarship offers are Florida State, Washington and USC among many others.

It's also worth noting that Okunlola's younger brother Samson, just completed his freshman year at Miami.

16. Jake Johnson, TE, Texas A&M

Of all the former Texas A&M players now in the portal, Johnson was one of the least surprising - considering his older brother Max entered the portal as soon as the regular season ended.

But while Max is easily replaceable, Jake isn't.

The big tight end emerged as a big-time receiving threat this year, catching 24 balls, including four touchdowns, as one of the lone bright spots on the Aggies this season.

In terms of his future, it'll be interesting to see if Johnson follows his older brother (who committed to North Carolina) or tries to forge his own path somewhere else. He could play for much any program in college football.

Other names to know:

17. Tyreek Chappell, CB Texas A&M

18. Julian Fleming, WR, Ohio State

19. Marvin Jones Jr., Edge, Georgia

20. Will Howard, QB, Kansas State

21. Joey Slackman, DL, Penn

Players from last week's list who've committed

Dillon Gabriel, QB, Oklahoma (committed to Oregon)

Riley Leonard, QB, Duke (committed to Notre Dame)

Jacori Maclin, WR, North Texas (committed to Kentucky)

Chris "Pooh" Paul, LB, Arkansas (committed to Ole Miss)

RJ Oben, DT, Duke (committed to Notre Dame)

Chip Trayanum, RB, Ohio State (committed to Kentucky)

Brock Vandagriff, QB, Georgia (committed to Kentucky)

bottom of page