Each year, Cam Newton’s of the world get their chance to thrive in a new location. Sometimes, it’s for a fresh start after not having the chance to meet their potential in their first college choice. For others, it’s thanks to off the field issues that they were “forced” to relocate.
While I’m not ready to say that any of these players will be of the Cam Newton level at the college or pro level, these top transfers should have an impact as the start with their new teams for the first time this season.
1 . Janoris Jenkins – CB – Sr – North Alabama – formerly of Florida
The most well-known transfer it seems thanks to his first round NFL talent potential and his play at one of the best schools in the country, Janoris Jenkins has had an interesting road thus far. After being a top recruit and being a shutdown cornerback as a sophomore and junior, he was forced to decide between declaring for the supplemental draft or transfer down a level after he was faced with his third marijuana charge while at Florida. Now he’ll be playing at North Alabama, a school known for taking in division one transfers (four in the top 20 on this list), so he should be around other next level talent players. He still has a chance to be a first rounder if he really impresses and, most importantly, stays out of trouble.
2 . Bryce Brown - RB - Jr - Kansas State - formerly of Tennessee
One of my favorite prospects that isn’t getting enough attention, Brown was viewed as the next “great” running back prospect out of high school. Here’s an article I wrote on Brown a few weeks back. He decided against Miami (FL) out of high school at the last second, and went to Tennessee with Lane Kiffin. However, as a freshman, he played sparingly, and decided to transfer to Kansas State to play with his brother (below). Now he’ll have a chance to be the feature back in an offense with a solid offensive line. Don’t be surprised if he’s not a top three rounder if he decides to declare.
3 . Marcus Dowtin - OLB - Sr - North Alabama - formerly of Georgia
Georgia’s top back-up linebacker and 4th leading tackler from last year, Dowtin was charged (but never arrested) on an assault on a Maryland native, but was resolved last December. However, Georgia still felt the need to grant him his release, and now Dowtin has moved onto Division II North Alabama along with Janoris Jenkins. While he was set to start in 2011 for Georgia, he’ll now be the feature linebacker on the Division II powerhouse, and should have a chance to get his much needed playing time and show off his athleticism as a linebacker.
4 . Russell Wilson - QB - Sr - Wisconsin - formerly of NC State
The Cam Newton of this season, Wilson left the NC State program for the Wisconsin Badgers. Now, he’ll be in an offense that is completely different from his NC State offense, where he’ll be less mobile, making plays on his own less, and having to be less of the end all-be all for his offense, and more of the passive handoff quarterback who manages a game and makes the plays in big moments. As far as a college quarterback, Wilson makes Wisconsin one of the best teams in the country. As a pro quarterback, he’s undersized and playing in an offense that suited an undrafted Scott Tolzien. He’s a better MLB prospect, and it’s likely he takes that route, because he’s more of a 5th-6th round quarterback prospect for the NFL.
5 . Arthur Brown - ILB - Jr - Kansas State - formerly of Miami (FL)
Brother of the above Bryce Brown, he and Arthur are the first ever five star recruit brothers. Though Bryce stole headlines because of his indecisiveness as a recruit and plays a glamorous position, Arthur has NFL talent as well, great range, athletic ability, and should thrive at Kansas State as the feature inside linebacker.
6 . Rishaw Johnson - OG - Sr - California (PA) - formerly of Ole Miss
Formerly Ole Miss guard who was suspended to after the first game last year, he is rumored to be highly viewed by many NFL scouts. I haven’t seen enough film on him personally to give him my best evaluation, but with his size and being a former well-respected recruit, he has a chance to dominate the PSAC this year. (Thanks to Matt Elder @Matthewcelder for the advice).
7 . Blake Ayles - TE - Sr - Miami (FL) - formerly of USC
A highly touted recruit out of college, Ayles will have a chance to go from one tight end college in USC to the best tight end school in the nation in Miami. It’s unsure if he’ll be able to work with Jacory Harris and if Harris will want to use him to the fullest, but this could be the first Miami (FL) tight end draft high in sometime.
8 . Brandon Maye - ILB - Sr - Mississippi State - formerly of Clemson
Formerly of Clemson last year and quite productive over the past two years, Maye was considered a draftable prospect for this past year’s draft before he decided to transfer to Mississippi State for his 5th year. Now he’ll replace Chris White and KJ Wright as the feature linebacker with the Bulldogs, and should be able to be a force in the middle of the defense.
9 . Demetrius Goode - RB - Sr - North Alabama - formerly of Alabama
Stuck behind a a host of talent at running back at Alabama, most notably Trent Richardson, Goode thought it’d be best to seize his final year as a full time feature starter someplace. He’ll be the 3rd player so far on this list to transfer to Division II North Alabama, and he should instantly become the focal point of the offense.
10 . Washaun Ealey – RB – Jr – Jacksonville State – formerly of Georgia
Was set to be in the rotation with Caleb King (now declaring for the NFL’s Supplemental Draft after being ruled academically ineligible) and freshman stud Isaiah Crowell at running back, Ealey will now be the focal point for a team that has a chance to win Ohio Valley conference.
11 . Dan Buckner - WR - Jr - Arizona - formerly of Texas
12 . Darrell Scott – RB – Jr – South Florida – formerly of Colorado
13 . Zach Maynard – QB – Jr – California – formerly of Buffalo
14. Nate Montana – QB – Jr – Montana – formerly of Notre Dame
15 . Lamaar Thomas – WR – Jr – New Mexico – formerly of Ohio State
16 . Hebron Fangupo - DT - Sr - BYU - formerly of USC
17 . Brandon Smith – OLB – Jr – Temple – formerly of Michigan
18 . Thomas Mayo - WR - Sr - California (PA) - formerly of Concord
19 . Brandon Clear - WR - Sr - Illinois - formerly of Clemson
20 . DeAndre Morgan - CB - Sr - North Alabama - formerly of NC State
21 . Austin Wells - TE - Sr - Northern Iowa - formerly of Nebraska-Omaha
22 . Tyson Williams - WR - Sr - Texas Tech - formerly of West Texas A&M
23 . Uona Kaveinga - OLB - Jr - BYU - formerly of USC
24 . Chazz Anderson – QB – Sr – Buffalo – formerly of Cincinnati
25 . DeMario Bennett - WR - Jr - Coastal Carolina - formerly of South Carolina
26 . Korentheus Bailey - DE - Jr - Georgia Southern - formerly of Western Kentucky
27 . Bryant Allen - WR - Jr - Illinois State - formerly of Minnesota
28 . Greg Zuerlein – K – Sr – Missouri Western – formerly of Nebraska-Omaha
29 . Greg Jenkins - QB - Sr - Alabama State - formerly of Troy
30 . Al-Ghaffar Lane - OLB - Sr - Bethune-Cookman - formerly of Rutgers
31 . Barry Brunetti - QB - Sr - Ole Miss - formerly of West Virginia
32 . Myles Wade - DT - Sr - Portland State - formerly of Texas Tech
34 . David Isabelle - QB - Jr - Alabama A&M - formerly of UAB
35 . Sean Stackhouse - TE - Jr - Chattanooga - formerly of Kentucky
36 . Tyler Bass - QB - Jr - Florida A&M - formerly of Memphis
37 . Chris Jackson - RB - Jr - Georgia State - formerly of Georgia Tech
38 . Ryan Bass - RB - Jr - Idaho - formerly of Arizona State
39 . Evan Frierson - OLB - Jr - Illinois State - formerly of Illinois
40 . Nate Palmer - DE - Jr - Illinois State - formerly of Illinois