NCAA Football Preview
Top Transfers 2016 season
While college players have been transferring to new schools for years, it seems like they’re having a much bigger impact on the college football landscape now than ever before. A large reason for this is the graduate transfer rule that allows players to move to a new school after receiving their degree and not have to sit out for a season. To start off the 2016 NCAA Football preview (play at FP), here are five of the top transfers for the upcoming season.
5. Duke Catalon, RB, Houston: Catalon had originally committed to Texas out of high school. He became a four-star member of Texas’ 2014 recruiting class, but never really gained traction in Austin. He redshirted his inaugural season on campus, then, for whatever reason, he decided to transfer and moved on to Houston where he sat out last season.
Now, Catalon is in a prime position where he could play a large role in an offense that was very dangerous last season. Houston QB Greg Ward Jr. was the show for the Cougars. He prepares to be that again in 2016 with some reinforcement. Kenneth Farrow, Houston’s second-leading rusher last season behind Ward, is now holding a position with the San Diego Chargers. This opens the door for Catalon to step in and have a major impact in Tom Herman’s offense.
4. Hardy Nickerson Jr., LB, Illinois: Cal hasn’t exactly been recognized for its defense in recent years. When the Bears did make a tackle, odds are it was Hardy Nickerson dragging the ball carrier to the dirt. Nickerson had 112 tackles for the Bears last season, and 245 in his Cal career.
Nickerson has now transferred to Illinois, where his father, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer linebacker Hardy Nickerson, is now the team’s defensive coordinator. Junior steps into a situation where he’ll be sorely needed, as Illinois lost its three leading tacklers from last year, including two linebackers. Illinois will need Nickerson to continue being the tackles machine he was at Cal.
3. Kenny Hill, QB, TCU: Kenny Hill showed up at Texas A&M as a four-star recruit in 2013. He saw a little bit of time as a true freshman behind Johnny Manziel. The following year Hill began the season as the Aggies starter. He threw for 511 yards and three touchdowns in A&M’s opening game versus South Carolina. With a incredible month of September, his name started to be tossed around as a Heisman candidate. He even got fitted with the nickname of Kenny “Trill”. In October, it all came crumbling down. The losses started piling up, and eventually Hill lost his starting gig after a 59-0 stomping against Alabama.
Hill transferred the following season, and after sitting out last year, he seems to be the apparent heir to Trevone Boykin at TCU. It will be large shoes to fill, but if Kenny “Trill” shows up again for the Horned Frogs, they’ll once again be a major factor in the Big 12.
2. Dakota Prukop, QB, Oregon: For the second year in a row, Oregon is counting on a graduate transfer from FCS to fill it’s QB slot. Last season it was Vernon Adams making his way to Eugene from Eastern Washington, and this year Dakota Prukop comes from Montana State. During his two seasons as a starter at Montana State, Prukop threw for 5,584 yards and 46 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,743 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Ducks will need him to keep on being productive if they want to compete for a Pac-12 title and College Football Playoff berth this season.
Last year, Vernon Adam wasn’t able to enroll at Oregon until mid-august, which left him a month to get himself acquainted with the new team. The Ducks won’t have the same issue with Prukop this year. He has been at Oregon since January, so he’ll have gone through spring and fall camp before the season begins.
1. Trevor Knight, QB, Texas A&M: It looked like Trevor Knight was on his way to becoming another star quarterback for the Sooners a couple of years ago. In Oklahoma’s 45-31 win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl following the 2013 season, Knight threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns. After that game however, things were not good anymore. Knight struggled a bit in 2014, throwing for 2,300 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in nine games before suffering a scary neck injury. That injury cost Knight the rest of the season. He lost the starting job to Baker Mayfield. Mayfield later led Oklahoma to a Big 12 title and a CFP berth.
Following that, Knight chose to transfer to Texas A&M. The move was made right after both Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray left the Aggies. He’s now poised to take over the reins of Texas A&M’s offense. He’ll also have plenty of explosive weapons surrounding him. If Knight can limit the turnovers that plagued him in 2014, the Aggies offense could become a major force in 2016.