The college football offseason is in full swing, and all eyes are on the ever-changing transfer portal. A record amount of players have entered the portal this offseason, including some previously established stars. Some teams suffered from the losses, but others have become contenders nearly overnight.

In this article, we’re going over the biggest college football transfer portal winners this offseason. This list features teams that were at the bottom of their conferences last season, as well as teams that nearly made the College Football Playoff. Before we get to the top five, though, let’s go over some brief honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

  • Arizona State: Normally a quality-over-quantity approach is the way to go, but the Sun Devils earn a mention due to the sheer number of transfers they have. They have 16 commitments so far, with the highlights being Aaron Frost, a four-star offensive tackle formerly at Nevada, and former Notre Dame quarterback Drew Pyne.
  • Oregon: On the other hand, the Ducks are firmly taking a quality over quantity approach. The Ducks only have seven commitments, but five of them are four-stars. Their highlights include former South Carolina edge rusher Jordan Burch and former Alabama receiver Traeshon Holden.
  • UCLA: The Bruins are using an interesting idea of plucking under-the-radar talent from smaller schools. Of UCLA’s 10 commitments, six of them come from Group of Five schools, and a seventh comes from the FCS. The one player who jumps off the page is four-star quarterback Collin Schlee, formerly at Kent State.
  • Michigan: Michigan is retaining a good portion of its 2022 roster next season, and the transfer additions only bolster it. The Wolverines have five four-star recruits so far, including former Nebraska linebacker Ernest Hausmann, the second-best player in the portal.
  • SMU: Compared to every other Group of Five team, SMU is absolutely crushing the transfer portal. According to 247Sports, the Mustangs have the sixth-best recruiting class in the country, and the next-closest Group of Five team (not counting the teams joining the Big 12 next season) is Nevada at 56th.

With the honorable mentions out of the way, here are the five biggest transfer portal winners this offseason.

5. LSU

LSU had a very interesting first season under Brian Kelly. From the highs of beating Alabama to the lows of losing to Texas A&M, the Tigers were truly on a roller coaster. Still, they flashed great potential, and the transfer portal additions could help them realize that potential in 2023.

The Tigers have secured eight commitments so far, including six four-stars. LSU’s biggest add this season is former Texas A&M cornerback Denver Harris, the third-best transfer in the entire country. The Tigers snagged another four-star corner in Zy Alexander from Southeastern Louisiana, as well as three other four-stars on defense. The lone four-star on offense is former Alabama receiver Aaron Anderson, a big add for Jayden Daniels and co.

4. Auburn

Auburn had a 2022 season to forget, finishing just 5-7 and missing a bowl game. The Tigers fired Bryan Harsin during the season, and later hired Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze as his replacement. If Freeze’s first transfer class is anything to go by, the Tigers got a clear upgrade at coach.

Auburn has landed 11 commitments so far, including eight four-stars. Interestingly, five of the Tigers’ top six commitments all come from Group of Five schools, with the top one being former ECU offensive lineman Avery Johnson. Another big highlight is former South Florida running back Brian Battie, who led the nation in all-purpose yards this season.

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3. Colorado

Colorado’s recruiting class goes to show just how much sway Deion Sanders has as a coach. The Buffaloes not only have 13 commitments already, but they have some big-name players in that group. Coach Prime promised big moves in recruiting, and he has certainly accomplished that so far.

The two biggest additions for Colorado both come from Jackson State, Sanders’ previous stop. The Buffaloes landed cornerback Travis Hunter, the former top recruit in the nation and only five-star transfer in this class, and quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Deion’s son and a potential star at this level. Colorado’s other four stars are former Arkansas State tight end Seydou Traore and former South Florida receiver Jimmy Horn Jr.

2. USC

Lincoln Riley has been dominating the transfer portal for years now. Last year, he pulled in stars like Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison, and it led to USC going from 4-8 to 11-3. With the talent in this transfer class, the Trojans may finally be able to get over the hump and make a title run.

USC has landed six four-stars already, plus three three-stars. The highlights include defensive linemen Anthony Lucas from Texas A&M and receiver Dorian Singer from Pac-12 rival Arizona, both top-25 transfers in the class. The Trojans have two other players in the top 50, plus former Oklahoma State linebacker Mason Cobb at 57.

1. Florida State

Florida State broke out of an awful half-decade with a 10-3 finish in 2022. With the offseason the Seminoles have had, which includes most key players returning and a monster transfer class, they have a real chance to emerge as title contenders again in 2023. The Seminoles may only have eight commitments, but the quality of those commits is unmatched.

Florida State is the only school in the country to land two top-ten transfers this offseason, those being Virginia corner Fentrell Cypress and South Carolina tight end Jaheim Bell. Of the top 50 recruits in the nation, the Seminoles have five of them, plus tight end Kyle Morlock at 55. The only other schools that even have four in the top 50 are USC and LSU.

With their existing roster plus these transfers, Florida State has the talent to make a playoff run next season. The question is whether or not the Seminoles can put it all together and return to their past glory.