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Is your college football team looking for a quarterback or another stud linebacker coming out of Spring practice? Luckily, coaches are about to get another window of opportunity to find an additional piece to their teams puzzle. For some, one or two pieces from the transfer portal could be the difference in fighting for a conference title.
The Spring transfer portal period opens for college football players on April 15th, and will run through the 30th. There are a number of schools still looking for a veteran quarterback that can come into the program and add competition to the room. But it’s also safe to assume that a number of players will enter the portal thinking a better opportunity is out there, only to be stuck in the portal like we witnessed during the winter.
NCAA Changed Portal Window To Suit The Athletes
Back in the Fall, the Division-1 council voted to move the portal period from May 1st-15th to April. The thought process was to give the transferring athlete more time to acclimate themselves before summer workouts began. There is also a little caveat to this new period. Players entering the portal do not have to complete the transfer process before April 30th, but entering during this time period will maintain their eligibility for the upcoming season.
As we saw with Auburn during the winter period, look for the Tigers to fill some needs in the Spring. The quarterback position continues to be a worry on the Plains, with Robby Ashford and TJ Finley trying their hardest to impress new coach Hugh Freeze. But, Freeze struck out on a quarterback the first time around and I don’t expect him to miss out over the next month.
No matter which school it is, having a player enrolled before summer workouts begin is imperative. Giving the players a better window to find a new home might be one of the smartest things the NCAA has done in the last few years.
Players Looking For More Action After Spring Practice
Coming out of Spring is the perfect opportunity for players that have a sense of their roles in the football team. If they were buried with the 2nd or 3rd team over the 15 allotted practices this Spring, maybe they take a gamble on switching schools, or at least trying to.
During the December portal period, we saw a total of 1,285 FBS scholarship players enter the transfer portal during the 45-day window. If you go back to August, that number was over 1,500 players, which was a massive burden on programs across the country.
There were 532 scholarship players still looking for a home after the winter portal period.
“That period was absolute madness. We had staffers sleeping at the office, waiting for the next notification on a player entering the portal. The amount of guys who thought they’d find a better opportunity was insane. If that period taught players anything, it should be that the grass isn’t always greener,” one power-five assistant told OutKick.
The NCAA is also taking a much stricter approach to the one-time transfer rule, with a number of these players having to apply for a waiver if this isn’t their first time moving around.
Coaches Saving Room For The Next Playmaker
Last May, we saw a number of fantastic playmakers enter the portal. The list included USC wide receiver Jordan Addison and TCU cornerback Josh Newton. Coaches entered the signing day period with an open mind that there would be talent hitting the market in the Spring. So these same coaches knew how to handle the amount of scholarships available.
If you’re team didn’t take the full allotment during the 2022-2023 signing period, there was a reason for it. Given the current landscape of NIL, you can expect a number of high-profile players to search for a better monetary situation.
As previously mentioned, this scenario could pay-off for Auburn and Hugh Freeze. The competition during Spring practice did not present a clear frontrunner for the starting job. For this reason alone, Hugh Freeze will not hesitate to pull the trigger on a quarterback that could help Auburn in 2023.
Current QB TJ Finley met with the media following Auburn’s spring game, mentioning that even though he wasn’t focused on the future at the time. Finley is ‘not sure’ if he’d stick around Auburn if he were not named the starter. His job is to compete, which he did for 15 practices this spring.
But again, this is the current situation on the plains and other schools around the country. This upcoming transfer portal window is the last chance some coaches have at finding the right guy to fit a role. On the other side, player’s are looking for the best opportunity. Even if that includes negotiating the right NIL deal for their future.
The Transfer Portal Is The New Normal
This is what college football has turned into, so don’t blame the players looking for the money. If a coach is heading into summer workouts with a number of glaring problems on one side of the ball, then they’ll do whatever it takes to fix that situation, with NIL helping the cause.
“I know we need a high-caliber wide receiver, somebody that can wreak havoc on a secondary. We’re lacking that right now, so we’re certainly going to scour the portal. But, these highly-ranked skill players aren’t cheap. Let’s not act like NIL is one of the main factors for the well-known players looking to make noise. There’s always some agent or representative trying to sell their client. Even if the kid isn’t in the portal, that’s just the new college football,” one SEC assistant coach mentioned to OutKick.
We are about to see what a college football Spring transfer period looks like with NIL in full force. Yes, we saw glimpses of it last year. But these collectives and programs have had time to reassess how to handle their money.
Overall, this short portal window that’s four days from opening up will tell us a lot about the two different transfer windows. For some players finishing up Spring practice, they’re getting closer to making one of the biggest decisions of their lives.