For better or worse, the portal is the new normal. When big coaching changes happen you will, within days, have players “entering the portal” as they fish around to see what other colleges are interested in their services.
The big change of late is the one time waiver on sitting out a season when you transfer. The other is that players transferring are being recruited far more publicly by other colleges.
On the whole this is a very good thing. If you support the student athletes then supporting these young adults in having some more autonomy in their life is necessary. As with all things in life walking away from one school to try out anther is going to be mixed bag for them, but now it’s their bag.
This does mean that the idea of finding a diamond in the rough and solid player development by a G5 school is less likely to produce that guy who builds up to an amazing junior and senior season.
It used to be that you wanted player development and program building above all else. One of the reason Kansas fans are so sour on Rob Ianello is because he was heavy into JUCO recruiting while on the Weis staff.
But in an environment where players bolt for any and every reason the motivation to find those guys that are raw but talented decreased, especially if you’re a P5 school. Why take the risk on a three star guy that you’re not positive about when some CUSA program can take them, train them, test them, and develop them for two or three years?
Sure you’ll still go hard at those four and five star players if you’re Kansas, but do you really want to burn a scholarship on a guy you’re not sure about when you can pop into portal land and pick up an experienced college player that will make an impact, right away, for the next year or two?
Quite often you see players decide to look for a higher profile opportunity their senior season, hoping to get more eyes on them ahead of the NFL draft.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.
Long term it will be interesting to see how it works out for players.
Buffalo.... I mean Miami receiver KJ Osborn ended up getting into the NFL after a transfer. (which would have done anyways but I digress). Meanhwile Bulls... errr Terps tight end Tyler Mabry got an UDFA shot, but didn’t stick.
For those that don’t make the next level what are the impacts to their education going to be? Mabry was a grad transfer, so I’m sure he’s doing fine and more power to him.
This is on my mind because in the wake of Lance Leipold departure more than a half dozen Bulls have entered the portal. And what’s happening at Buffalo is pretty typical, it’s also something that will burn even the big bad P5 schools when there is a coaching change.
This was all supposed to be a look at Buffalo’s portal... So let’s get to that.
Who’s gone and Back
QB - Matt Myers
RB - Kevin Marks
LB - Tim Terry
These three all entered the portal this spring, took a look around, and came back. Marks left and came back before all the coaching drama.
Marks is obviously the highlight here, put a good line in front of him (we will get to that later) and he could set some records next season.
Terry is a solid piece of the front seven for Buffalo and with some of the other action in the portal his retention could be huge for the Bulls.
Myers is going to be a junior, and will push KVT for the starting role. The coaching change gives him a much better chance than he otherwise would have had. Even if he does not win the job this year, he’s the heir apparent to KVT or the guy you can expect to step in if the Bulls need a backup.
Who’s gone for good
Roy Baker - Off to EKU
Zac Lefebvre - Off to WKU
Jelani Foster - Off to Rhode Island
Let’s start with Lefebvre. What does UB have to do to keep the tight ends from leaving? I mean it seems like every year our most productive ends depart. It hurts but we do have some depth.
Baker stings because our secondary is not the deepest unit on the team.
Foster was gone long before the coaching change came up, never really did much at Buffalo but never had the chance.
Who’s “in play”
I say “in play” but really we don’t know how likely it is any of these players can be retained. But... Here is the order I would like to see them retained in.
TOP PRIORITY: Jacob Gall & Mike Novitsky
Buffalo has a great game managing quarterback and an absolute star running back. Put them behind a solid line and they are going bowling again this season. UB lost
two a linemen to graduation, and now two more to the portal?
We have depth on the line, to be sure, but these losses would hurt badly.
CLOSE SECOND: Eddie Wilson & Frendy Darelus
Opposite side of the line, same story. UB has a solid pipeline of talent in the defensive trenches. This was going to be a great year for Wilson and that defensive front makes a lot of good things happen for Buffalo.
THIRD: Tyrece Woods, Justin Mulbah, & Rich Miller
I think we can weather losing one or *MAYBE* two of these guys given what is still in place. But all three would really soften the middle of our defense
FOURTH: Cory Gross
We need every secondary player with experience we can get at this point
FINALLY: Trevor Solomon-Wilson, LeMaro Smith, and, Jordan Avissey
Wilson or smith would be nice, both looked to be solid pieces of the next receivers unit. Avissey could have provided some much needed depth for the defensive line (or, if we can’t get anyone back) step in and take a spot.
The challenge for Coach Maurice Linquist is two fold.
First he’s going to have to try and “re-recurit” some of these portal players and if he fails to retain them he will have to hit the portal hard and fast to replace them for the upcoming football season.
And he has to do this while still building out his coaching staff.