College News & Analysis

2022 PFF College All-Transfer Portal Team: QB Sam Hartman, WR Tez Johnson and more

Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers wide receiver Dominic Lovett (7) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Abilene Christian Wildcats at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman: After a dominant past two years, he’s the biggest prize in the transfer portal.

Jackson State cornerback Travis Hunter: The new Colorado Buffalo is the best defensive player in the portal after a dominant freshman season.

Missouri wide receiver Dominic Lovett: After a dominant season, the new Georgia Bulldog is the top receiver in the portal.

Estimated Reading Time: 9 mins

The college football transfer portal is brimming with talent, with hundreds of players searching for their next home.

Following our ranking of the top 25 players in the transfer portal, here’s PFF’s All-Transfer Portal team, showcasing the best players at every position in the portal.

Last Updated: 7 a.m., Jan. 2

Quarterback: Sam Hartman (Wake Forest Demon Deacons)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Not only is Sam Hartman the best quarterback in the transfer portal, he’s one of the best returning quarterbacks period.

Among Power Five quarterbacks over the past two seasons, only Alabama’s Bryce Young, PFF’s top prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft has a higher grade than Hartman’s 92.5 mark. He’s also the most valuable Power Five player over the past two seasons, according to PFF’s wins above average metric. According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Hartman is expected to land at Notre Dame next season.

Running Back: Ray Davis (Vanderbilt Commodores)

Transfer Destination: Kentucky Wildcats

Vanderbilt’s offensive line finished the 2022 campaign with the worst run-blocking grade in the Power Five (44.4). Even with that unit doing him no favors, Davis still produced.

The senior ranked fourth in the SEC this season with 1,044 rushing yards. Even more impressive, 737 of those yards came after contact, the third most in the conference. Davis will join Devin Leary at Kentucky next season.

Running Back: Carson Steele (Ball State Cardinals)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Steele led the country with 1,161 rushing yards after contact this season. His 94 forced missed tackles trailed only Texas’ Bijan Robinson, this year’s Doak Walker Award winner and a first-round prospect on PFF’s 2023 NFL Draft big board.

Steele's 88.8 grade tied for the third-best mark in the Group of Five among running backs and ranked 12th in the nation. And he did it all as just a true sophomore.

Wide Receiver: Dominic Lovett (Missouri Tigers)

Transfer Destination: Georgia Bulldogs

Lovett was quietly one of college football's best receivers this season. His 83.7 grade ranked fourth best among Power Five receivers.

Lovett averaged 2.94 yards per route run, which tied him for seventh in the Power Five. Those accomplishments came as just a true sophomore, meaning the best could be yet to come.

Lovett will stay in the SEC next season, as he’s transferring to Georgia.

Wide Receiver: Tez Johnson (Troy Trojans)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Johnson was the fifth-most-valuable wide receiver in the country this season, according to PFF’s wins above average metric.

His 89.9 grade this season trailed only Marvin Harrison Jr. among all FBS receivers. The sophomore averaged 3.52 yards per route run, which ranked second among the same group. Johnson’s 5-foot-10, 150-pound build may scare some teams off, but make no mistake: He can play.

Wide Receiver: Dante Cephas (Kent State Golden Flashes)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Cephas missed three games this season due to injury, but he was one of the most efficient receivers in the country when on the field. His 3.12 yards per route run ranked seventh in the FBS.

He’s a menace with the ball in his hands, as well, racking up 421 receiving yards after contact since last season (10th most among wide receivers). He’s also a big-play threat, as his 49 catches of 15-plus yards since 2021 also ranks 10th in the nation.

Tight End: Jaheim Bell (South Carolina Gamecocks)

Transfer Destination: Florida State Seminoles

Get the ball in Jaheim Bell’s hands and good things will happen. Among Power Five tight ends returning next year, only Georgia’s Brock Bowers has a higher two-year receiving grade than Bell’s 88.8 mark since 2021.

Bell has forced 24 missed tackles in that span, which is tied for the most among all FBS tight ends. This year, Bell also tallied 257 rushing yards, over 100 more than any other tight end in the country. Bell announced that he’ll be attending Florida State next year, where he should form a lethal connection with quarterback Jordan Travis.

Left Tackle: Dalton Cooper (Texas State Bobcats)

Transfer Destination: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Cooper was a road grader in 2021, earning a 90.1 run-blocking grade that ranked top 10 among offensive tackles.

This year, the redshirt sophomore became an elite pass protector. His 85.1 pass-blocking grade was a top-10 figure among all FBS tackles. If Cooper can put it all together next season at Oklahoma State, he should be one of the best offensive linemen in the nation.

Left Guard: Clark Barrington (BYU Cougars)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Over the past two seasons, Barrington’s 85.3 grade ranks seventh among FBS guards. His 87.5 pass-blocking grade in that span is seventh among the same group.

On 843 pass-blocking snaps over the past two years, the redshirt junior has allowed a sack or hit only three times. Due to his dominance in pass protection, Barrington is the 10th-most-valuable guard since 2021, according to PFF’s wins above average metric.

Center: Drake Nugent (Stanford Cardinal)

Transfer Destination: Michigan Wolverines

Nugent’s 80.2 grade this season was the seventh best among centers in college football. The senior particularly excelled as a run blocker, where he earned an 83.7 grade that ranked fourth.

This is Nugent's second straight strong season. Over the past two seasons, his 89.1 run-blocking grade is seventh among FBS centers. Next season, he’ll play for Michigan. The Wolverines’ last center, Olusegun Oluwatimi, won the Outland Trophy this season as the best interior lineman in college football.

Right Guard: Luke Kandra (Louisville Cardinals)

Transfer Destination: Cincinnati Bearcats

Kandra kept his quarterback’s uniform pristine this season. On 155 pass-blocking snaps, he didn’t allow a single sack or hit. The sophomore was one of only 12 Power Five guards with at least 150 pass-blocking snaps to accomplish that feat.

Next year, Kandra will take his talents to Cincinnati for the Bearcats’ first year in the Big 12 conference.

Right Tackle: Gunner Britton (Western Kentucky Hilltoppers)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Britton recorded an 87.0 pass-blocking grade this season, ranking fifth among all offensive tackles in college football.

The redshirt junior allowed a pressure on only 1.7% of his pass-blocking snaps, the fifth-lowest rate among FBS tackles.

Interior Defensive Lineman: Thomas Gore (Georgia State Panthers)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Gore has dominated for two years now. His 90.6 grade since 2021 ranks fifth among all interior defensive linemen in college football.

Gore excels in all aspects, standing as one of only five interior defensive linemen with 85.0-plus grades as both a pass rusher and run defender in that span.

Interior Defensive Lineman: Braden Fiske (Western Michigan Broncos)

Transfer Destination: Florida State Seminoles

Fiske’s 85.4 grade this season was sixth best among all interior defensive linemen in the country. He was one of only five interior defensive linemen who ranked in the top eight in the FBS in both pass-rushing and run-defense grades. 

Fiske tied for second among that same group with eight sacks, while his 48 pressures were the fourth most. The redshirt senior’s 27 run stops were tied for sixth in the nation, as well. Fiske will play for Florida State next season.

Edge Defender: Rondell Bothroyd (Wake Forest Demon Deacons)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Bothroyd’s 86.0 grade over the past two seasons ranks 10th among Power Five edge defenders.

The redshirt junior’s 36 run-defense stops in that span are the second most for ACC edge defenders, while his 14 sacks are tied for third.

Edge Defender: Anthony Goodlow (Tulsa Golden Hurricane)

Transfer Destination: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Goodlow has played very well for a couple of years now.

The redshirt senior’s 88.0 grade since 2021 is the 16th-best mark among all FBS edge defenders. Goodlow was one of only seven edge defenders last season with 80.0-plus grades as both a pass rusher and a run defender. He’ll move an hour west to play at Oklahoma State next season.

Linebacker: Francisco Mauigoa (Washington State Cougars)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

As just a true sophomore, Mauigoa was the Pac-12’s second-highest-graded linebacker (75.8). 

One school to keep an eye out for Mauigoa is Miami (FL). His younger brother, Francis, signed with the Hurricanes as a top-10 recruit and the No. 1 offensive tackle in the nation, according to On3’s consensus ratings

Linebacker: Justin Wright (Tulsa Golden Hurricane)

Transfer Destination: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Wright’s 79.7 grade this season was a top-30 mark among linebackers.

The redshirt senior was especially stingy in coverage, picking off two passes and breaking up a couple more. He also made 13 stops in the passing game, a top-25 mark at the position. Wright will join Oklahoma State next season with one year of eligibility remaining.

Cornerback: CB Travis Hunter (Jackson State Tigers)

Transfer Destination: Colorado Buffaloes

Hunter entered Jackson State as the first five-star recruit ever to commit to a non-FBS school. Now, the No. 2 overall recruit in the 2022 class will presumably move to the Power Five level to show that his game can translate anywhere.

Hunter dominated in his true freshman season for the Tigers. His 84.0 defensive grade was a top-15 mark among all FCS cornerbacks as he picked off two passes and forced eight incompletions.

Those skills flashed on both sides of the ball. The true freshman also caught 18 passes for 180 yards and four touchdowns, one of which was to tie the game with no time left in the Celebration Bowl.

Hunter will follow head coach Deion Sanders from Jackson State to Colorado next season.

Cornerback: Fentrell Cypress II (Virginia Cavaliers)

Transfer Destination: Florida State Seminoles

Cypress had a massive breakout season for the Cavaliers. His 87.8 grade was the third highest among Power Five cornerbacks. 

The junior allowed only 0.53 yards per coverage snap, the fifth-lowest mark among Power Five cornerbacks. Cypress will stay in the ACC with Florida State next season.

Safety: A.J. Haulcy (New Mexico Lobos)

Transfer Destination: Houston Cougars

Coming out of high school, Haulcy had three FBS offers: Kansas, Louisiana and New Mexico.

Just one year later, he became one of the best safeties in the country. His 84.9 grade was the second-best figure among true freshmen defenders and tied for sixth among safeties overall. Haulcy will play for Houston next season in its inaugural season in the Big 12.

Safety: Jaxen Turner (Arizona Wildcats)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

After struggling to a 51.3 grade last season, Turner rebounded with a 79.4 grade this year that tied for 17th among Power Five safeties. The junior recorded nine coverage stops — a top-20 mark.

Flex-D: CB Jabbar Muhammad (Oklahoma State Cowboys)

Transfer Destination: Washington Huskies

Muhammad is the Big 12’s third-highest-graded and fourth-most valuable cornerback over the last two seasons, according to PFF's wins above average metric.

His 19 coverage stops in that span rank second for Big 12 cornerbacks. Next season, Muhammad will play for Washington next season.

Kick Returner: Key’Shawn Smith (Miami [FL] Hurricanes)

Transfer Destination: SMU Mustangs

Smith led the Power Five this season with 644 kickoff return yards. The sophomore was also incredibly efficient, as his 30.7 yards per kick return ranked third in the Power Five. Smith will play at SMU in 2023.

Punt Returner: Zavion Thomas (Mississippi State Bulldogs)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

Thomas’ 199 punt return yards were the eighth most in the Power Five this year. The true freshman was also one of only 10 players in the Power Five to score on a punt return this season. 

Kicker: Richard McCollum (Western Carolina Catamounts)

Transfer Destination: Undecided

McCollum has been automatic over the past two years. The redshirt junior has made 94% of his field goal attempts since 2021. Among the kickers from all 354 teams PFF covers, from the FBS to Division III, that’s the 11th-best rate. McCollum is also a perfect 16-for-16 on kicks 30 yards or longer in that span.

Punter: Ryan Sanborn (Stanford Cardinal)

Transfer Destination: Texas Longhorns

Ryan Sanborn’s 87.0 punting grade over the past two seasons is the fifth-best mark among Power Five punters. The senior’s 4,976 punting yards in that span is also a top-10 figure in the Power Five. Sanborn will punt for Texas next season. 

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