21 Key Instant Impact Transfers: 21 For 2021 College Football Topics, No. 13

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21 for 2021 College Football Topics: 21 key transfers who should make an instant impact on the 2021 season.

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The transfer portal is the new recruiting world.

Let everyone else develop your players – all you have to do is go shopping in the portal, and boom, problems get solved.

You could come up with a list of at least 200 transfers who should be on this list, but here’s our call on 21 who should be the biggest deals. Does that mean everyone here will rock? Nah, but most of them will.

21 transfers you need to know about are …

21 for 2021 Preview Topics (so far)
21. Thoughts, Wishes, Hopes for 2021
20. Best Teams To Not Make CFP
19: Teams That Will Rebound Big
18. Teams That Will Fall Back
17: Every Power 5 Team’s Letdown Game
16. Expectations For New Head Coaches
15. Expectations For 2nd Year Head Coaches
14. Power 5 Hot Seat Coach Rankings

CFN 2021 Preview: All 130 Team Previews

21 Key Instant Impact College Football Transfers

21. QB McKenzie Milton, Florida State from UCF

No matter who wins the Florida State starting quarterback job, Milton will be one of the best stories of the college football season. It’ll be a battle for the gig – Jordan Travis and Chubba Purdy will get every shot – but after battling back from a horrific leg injury suffered a few years ago, anything Milton does will be amazing.
CFN 2021 Florida State Preview

20. QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee from Virginia Tech and/or Joe Milton, Tennessee from Michigan

The Vols lost a ton of talent to the transfer portal, but new head coach Josh Heupel has a slew of quarterbacks to choose from. There are already a few nice options in place, but Hooker was a rising star at Virginia Tech and Milton has all the tools – but couldn’t put them together – at Michigan. Whoever gets the gig will be a statistical star.
CFN 2021 Tennessee Preview

19. OT Cain Madden, Notre Dame from Marshall

The Irish needed to revamp the line, and they’re hoping a few superstar young prospects can rise up right away. Madden should be much more than a veteran insurance policy, though, as an all-star blocker coming in from Marshall.
CFN 2021 Notre Dame Preview

18. WR Charleston Rambo, Miami from Oklahoma

The Hurricanes already have a terrific receiving corps returning, and they added another big piece to potentially take over the home run hitting role. A former star recruit for Oklahoma, Rambo is a deep threat averaging over 17 yards per catch last season.
CFN 2021 Miami Preview

17. DT Siaki Ika, Baylor from LSU

Baylor has a star defensive mind in head coach Dave Aranda, and he brought in the bulk to make his D rock. The former LSU defensive coordinator took the 350-pound Coke machine from the Tigers. Now the Bears have their anchor.
CFN 2021 Baylor Preview

16. S Tykee Smith, Georgia from West Virginia

The Georgia defense was already going to be good, and now it has a few all-star caliber defensive backs coming in. More on the corner part of the equation in a moment. At safety, Smith was a key performer at West Virginia with 111 tackles and four interceptions and nine broken up passes in his two seasons.
CFN 2021 Georgia Preview

15. QB Bailey Zappe, WKU from Houston Baptist

Easily one of the most exciting offenses early in the weird 2020 season, Houston Baptist gave everyone fits. WKU didn’t have an offense, so it took the top guys from the Huskies. The Hilltoppers got HBU’s offensive coordinator, a few great receivers, and the quarterback who hit Texas Tech for 572 yards and Texas for 480.
CFN 2021 WKU Preview

14. LB Mike Jones, LSU from Clemson

The Tigers have their linebacking corps now. They got Navonteque Strong from the JUCO ranks to go along with the 6-0, 220-pound Jones, a guided missile of a defender who was great at getting into the backfield at Clemson. Now he should break out with a bigger role.
CFN 2021 LSU Preview

13. QB Jack Coan, Notre Dame from Wisconsin

The hope is for Drew Pyne to grow into the type of baller who can do a little bit of everything for the offense, but before that happens – if it does – the Irish will hope the veteran accurate passer to take over the offense. Coan might not run, and he might not be next-level great, but he can be what this slightly-rebuilding team needs.
CFN 2021 Notre Dame Preview

12. LB Ben Davis, Texas from Alabama

Yet another Alabama five-star recruit, Davis didn’t do too much for the Tide, and now the linebacking corps in place is otherworldly. That’s fine – Davis just followed former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian over to the Longhorns where he should quickly be one of the leaders and statistical stars.
CFN 2021 Texas Preview

11. WR Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky from Nebraska

The UK offense has always been more steady than sensational, and now it’s going to try cranking things up a few notches. Offensive coordinator Liam Coen – a former assistant for the LA Rams – has a few nice weapons to work with, and getting Robinson from Nebraska gives the attack a versatile, do-it-all playmaker who needs the ball in his hands.
CFN 2021 Kentucky Preview

NEXT: 2021 Top Transfers To Watch, Top 10

10. QB Charlie Brewer, Utah from Baylor

The Utes have the lines, they have the defense, and they should have the running game with a little bit of work. What they need is a veteran quarterback who has been through it all – or almost everything – and that’s Brewer. They’re getting a four-year starter who can push the passing attack.
CFN 2021 Utah Preview

9. RB Keontay Ingram, USC from Texas

USC has a whole slew of interesting and dangerous transfers – Colorado WR KD Nixon will be a playmaker, and Alabama DT Ishmael Sopsher is a desperately needed interior presence – but after losing Stephen Carr (Indiana) and Markese Stepp (Nebraska), landing an 1,800-yard big back who can catch is a big deal.
CFN 2021 USC Preview

8. RB Ty Chandler, North Carolina from Tennessee

Who wants to be the next home-run hitting back for the Tar Heels? The offense lost Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, and in comes Chandler after spending the last four years trying to plow away for the Vols. He ran for over 2,000 yards and has the receiving skills to add a little of everything to the UNC attack.
CFN 2021 North Carolina Preview

7. DE Jordan Strachan, South Carolina from Georgia State

South Carolina might be in rebuild mode, but it has the defensive line in place to be a factor. It was already going to be good, but getting a 6-4, 220-pound pass rusher will make the transition to the Shane Beamer era a bit easier. Strachan didn’t do much in his first two years at Georgia State, but last season he blew up with 9.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 41 tackles.
CFN 2021 South Carolina Preview

6. OT Wanya Morris, Oklahoma from Tennessee

The Sooners have enough talent to put together the best team in the Lincoln Riley era, but the one thing that might have been missing was an NFL-caliber offensive tackle. The 6-5, 313-pound Morris can work just about anywhere on the line, but if he works out at left tackle, that opens up a slew of options to put together the best possible front five.
CFN 2021 Oklahoma Preview

NEXT: 2021 Top Transfers To Watch, Top 5

5. RB Eric Gray, Oklahoma from Tennessee

CFN 2021 Oklahoma Preview

The Sooners have the passing game to hang shot-for-shot with anyone. The defense should be the best in the Big 12 – or close to it – and Spencer Rattler is in the preseason discussion for the 2021 Heisman Trophy.

The O line got a key piece in Wanya Morris, and it got an instant factor at running back in the 5-9, 206-pound Gray. The former Tennessee Volunteer led the team with 772 yards and four scores last season, and he caught 30 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns.

Ultra-quick, he has seen time as a punt returner, he can be a third-down back, and he proved he could be a workhorse runner if needed. He might not have to carry the offense with Kennedy Brooks back after opting out in 2020, but he can do it if Rattler needs a little break.

CFN 2021 Preview: All 130 Team Previews

NEXT: 2021 Top Transfers To Watch, No. 4

4. LB Henry To’o To’o, Alabama from Tennessee

CFN 2021 Alabama Preview

In a rich-getting-obscenely-richer way, Alabama doesn’t need Henry To’o To’o, but it got him.

Had To’o To’o stayed at Tennessee, he might be a preseason All-SEC choice as the leader and big-hitting star of the revamped defense under a new coaching staff. At Bama, though, he’s just another amazing linebacker in what should be the nation’s best corps.

To’o To’o’s got 6-2, 225-pound size, great range, and next-level pop with 148 tackles with 15 tackles for loss over his last two years. However, as amazing as he is, he only came up with three tackles in the two games against the Crimson Tide.

He might not be an instant replacement for Dylan Moses, but Christian Harris is a superstar on the inside, Christopher Allen is a big-time pass rusher, and Will Anderson is a devastating outside option. To’o To’o will be a major factor, too.

CFN 2021 Preview: All 130 Team Previews

NEXT: 2021 Top Transfers To Watch, No. 3

3. CB Derion Kendrick, Georgia from Clemson

CFN 2021 Georgia Preview

Georgia lost a ton of speed and talent from its secondary – the NFL was all over Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes – but it’s no big deal. All the Dawgs did was go get one of the nation’s best corners to step in and keep it all rolling.

The 6-0, 190-pound Kendrick came to Clemson as a dangerous wide receiver prospect, moved over to the defensive side early on, and … boom. He turned into a two-time All-ACC performer with 61 tackles, three picks and 11 broken up passes over his last two seasons. Now he’s on the verge of being one of the top defensive backs selected in the next NFL draft.

Kendrick has the size and the ball-hawking skills to erase one side of the field, and he gets to show off his talent right away to start the season against … Clemson.

CFN 2021 Preview: All 130 Team Previews

NEXT: 2021 Top Transfers To Watch, No. 2

2. WR/TE Arik Gilbert, Georgia from LSU

CFN 2021 Georgia Preview

It’s unfair to call Gilbert a wide receiver and even crazier to think of him as just a tight end. No, he’s not going to be the SEC East’s replacement for former Florida Gator and new Atlanta Falcon Kyle Pitts, but he’s not terribly far off.

The 6-5, 248-pounder was a mega-recruit for LSU, caught 35 passes for 368 yards and two scores in just eight games as a freshman, entered the transfer portal and appeared to be on the way to take over for Pitts at Florida, and then he pivoted to the Bulldogs.

A mismatch nightmare, he’s listed as a wide receiver but he’ll be used by the Georgia coaching staff in a variety of ways. Too big, too fast, and with too much upside, he’s a future NFL star who’ll turn into one of JT Daniels’ favorite targets right out of the gate.

NEXT: 2021 Top Transfers To Watch, No. 1

1. QB Tyler Shough, Texas Tech from Oregon

CFN 2021 Texas Tech Preview

Okay, okay, okay, so we went a bit overboard last year by calling the transfer of KJ Costello from Stanford to Mississippi State one of the biggest moves of the offseason – but it looked fantastic for a week after that LSU performance.

Let’s just dive right in again with a guy who has all the NFL tools to go along with an offense to put them to good use.

There’s still work to be done – the game needs to slow down a bit – and he’ll have to prove he can quickly read his progressions better than he did at Oregon, but it’s not crazy to think that he’s one mammoth statistical season away from being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

He was supposed to push for the starting job with the Ducks as a freshman, but that Justin Herbert guy was too good and kept the gig. Shough split time as a sophomore, but he hit 64% of his passes for close to 1,600 yards with 13 touchdowns and six picks – and ran for 271 yards and two scores – on the way to a Pac-12 title.

Now it’ll be his job to take the Texas Tech offense up several notches and make the passing game go again.

21 for 2021 Preview Topics (so far)
21. Thoughts, Wishes, Hopes for 2021
20. Best Teams To Not Make CFP
19: Teams That Will Rebound Big
18. Teams That Will Fall Back
17: Every Power 5 Team’s Letdown Game
16. Expectations For New Head Coaches
15. Expectations For 2nd Year Head Coaches
14. Power 5 Hot Seat Coach Rankings

CFN 2021 Preview: All 130 Team Previews