The biggest winners and losers of the 2023 transfer portal in the Pac-12

The Pac-12 may not be able to stand up to other conferences like the SEC or Big Ten when it comes to College Football Playoff appearances, but there is one area of the game where there is no better conference in the nation than the schools out west.

When it comes to the transfer portal, nobody quite dominates like the Pac-12 does. According to the 247Sports transfer portal team rankings, four teams in the Pac-12 — Colorado, USC, UCLA, and Oregon — are ranked inside the top 10 nationally, and Arizona State ranks inside the top 15.

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As the portal has become more prevalent in the world of college football, it’s increasingly important for teams to adapt and find ways to add some of the most talented players in the nation who are looking for a new team.

In the Pac-12, who has done the best job of that? It’s not the easiest question to answer, and not one that can be solved simply by looking at the portal team rankings. Deion Sanders and the Buffs might be ranked No. 1 and have added 25 transfers this off-season, but how many of those additions are blue-chip players who will make a difference right away?

In order to get an accurate answer to this question, we went to the 247Sports top 150 transfer portal player rankings to get a clearer view of things. Which Pac-12 teams gained the most in terms of top-150 players, and who lost the most?

For example, the Arizona Wildcats picked up Oregon LB Justin Flowe in the portal, but they lost WR Dorian Singer, CB Christian Rolland-Wallace, and DL Parish Shand. Thus their net gain in the portal for this exercise is -2, because they lost two more top-150 players than they gained. Make sense?

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There are several instances where Pac-12 teams have an identical net-gain, so in those cases, we took the total ranking of players gained and compared who improved the most.

Let’s take a look at who has done the best when it comes to the transfer portal so far this off-season.

Stanford Cardinal — Net Gain: -4

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Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

None

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

  • No. 66 — OT Walter Rouse (to Oklahoma)

  • No. 120 — OT Myles Hinton (to Michigan)

  • No. 126 — C Drage Nugent (to Michigan)

  • No. 146 — LB Levani Damuni (to Utah)

Net Movement: -4

Analysis

Things are setting up for Stanford to have another tough season. With new head coach Troy Taylor taking over an unimpressive roster, the Cardinal lost some of their best players from last season, mostly on the offensive line. It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Cardinal finish at the bottom of the conference once again.

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Arizona Wildcats — Net Gain: -2

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Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

  • No. 88 — LB Justin Flowe (from Oregon)

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

  • No. 27 — WR Dorian Singer (to USC)

  • No. 32 — CB Christian Roland-Wallace (to USC)

  • No. 41 — DL Parish Shand (to LSU)

Net Movement: -2

Analysis

Arizona might have gotten a little bit better at the linebacker position if Justin Flowe can reach his potential in Tucson, but losing a couple of difference makers like Dorian Singer and Christian Roland-Wallace — both in-conference to USC, nonetheless — is always tough.

Washington State Cougars — Net Gain: -2

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Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

None

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

  • No. 44 — LB Francisco Mauigoa (to Miami)

  • No. 74 — WR De’Zhaun Stribling (to Oklahoma State)

Net Movement: -2

Analysis

It was a tough offseason for Washington State, losing one of their top linebackers in Francisco Mauigoa, who followed his brother to Miami, and one of their top wide receivers, De’Zhaun Stribling, to Oklahoma State. On top of that, they added zero top-150 players in the portal.

Arizona State Sun Devils — Net Gain: 0

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Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

  • No. 108 — OT Aaron Frost (from Nevada)

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

  • No. 15 — DL Ladarius Henderson (to Michigan)

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Net Movement: 0

Analysis

Arizona State has seen a lot of roster turnover already under Kenny Dillingham, and they rank No. 13 in the nation when it comes to the transfer portal rankings. However, many of their additions are outside of the top 150, so its hard to see them improving a ton in the first year under a new coaching staff.

Oregon State Beavers — Net Gain: 0

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Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

  • No. 97 — QB D.J. Uiagalelei (from Clemson)

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

  • No. 135 — LB Omar Speights (to LSU)

Net Movement: 0

Analysis

The Beavers got a potentially big addition with QB D.J. Uiagalelei coming over from Clemson, but they also lost one of their best defensive players with LB Omar Speights leaving for LSU. All in all, it feels like a net even off-season, if maybe a small net-positive.

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California Golden Bears — Net Gain: +1

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Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

  • No. 77 — CB Nohl Williams (from UNLV)

  • No. 105 — QB Sam Jackson (from TCU)

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

  • No. 27 — WR J. Michael Sturdivant (to UCLA)

Net Movement: +1

Analysis

The Golden Bears did well to land a new QB out of the portal, and they got a good CB in Nohl Williams as well, but losing a playmaking WR like Sturdivant is definitely not ideal.

Utah Utes — Net Gain: +2

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Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

  • No. 102 — EDGE Logan Fano (from BYU)

  • No. 146 — LB Levani Damuni (from Stanford)

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

None

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Net Movement: +2

Analysis

Utah got a net positive when it comes to the portal, but neither Fano or Damuni project to be massive difference makers this year, though they will be solid pieces. The biggest bonus is that the Utes didn’t lose any major pieces in the portal.

UCLA Bruins — Net Gain: +3

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Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

  • No. 21 — RB Carson Steele (from Ball State)

  • No. 24 — QB Collin Schlee (from Kent State)

  • No. 27 — WR J. Michael Sturdivant (from California)

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

None

Net Movement: +3

Analysis

The Bruins did very well in the portal this year, making sure they held onto their best players while picking up solid additions in Carson Steele, Collin Schlee, and J. Michael Sturdivant. We will now see who takes over as the starting QB.

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Washington Huskies — Net Gain: +4

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

  • No. 53 — RB Dillon Johnson (from Mississippi State)

  • No. 121 — TE Josh Cuevas (from Cal Poly)

  • No. 124 — WR Germie Bernard (from Michigan State)

  • No. 149 — CB Jabbar Muhammad (from Oklahoma State)

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

None

Net Movement: +4

Analysis

Washington had some solid positive movement in the transfer portal this offseason, picking up nice pieces that should be able to contribute, though nobody immediately blows you away. More than anything, they held onto all of their existing pieces as well, which is the best thing they could do.

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Oregon Ducks — Net Gain: +4

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Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

  • No. 9 — EDGE Jordan Burch (from South Carolina)

  • No. 37 — OT Ajani Cornelius (from Rhode Island)

  • No. 57 — S Evan Williams (from Fresno State)

  • No. 78 — WR Traeshon Holden (from Alabama)

  • No. 119 — LB Jestin Jacobs (from Iowa)

  • No. 127 — OG Junior Angilau (from Texas)

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

  • No. 56 — WR Dont’e Thornton (to Tennessee)

  • No. 88 — LB Justin Flowe (to Arizona)

Net Movement: +4

Analysis

The Ducks lost a couple of solid players in Dont’e Thornton and Justin Flowe, but they did a great job of replacing them with some of the top talent on the board, including 3 of the top 60 and 4 of the top 80 players available. Oregon certainly upped the level of talent on the roster.

Colorado Buffaloes — Net Gain: +5

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Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

  • No. 1 — CB Travis Hunter (from Jackson State)

  • No. 23 — QB Shedeur Sanders (from Jackson State)

  • No. 29 — TE Seydou Traore (from Arkansas State)

  • No. 94 — LB Demouy Kennedy (from Alabama)

  • No. 100 — WR Jimmy Horn Jr. (South Florida)

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

None

Net Movement: +5

Analysis

Nobody will argue with you that Colorado did an incredible job in the transfer portal this off-season. They grabbed the No. 1 overall player in Travis Hunter, and got 3 of the top 30 players in the nation, thanks to Deion Sanders and what he’s doing in Boulder.

USC Trojans — Net Gain: +6

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Top 150 Transfer Portal Gains

  • No. 28 — WR Dorian Singer (from Arizona)

  • No. 32 — CB Christian Roland-Wallace (from Arizona)

  • No. 49 — DL Anthony Lucas (from Texas A&M)

  • No. 50 — RB Marshawn Lloyd (from South Carolina)

  • No. 67 — LB Mason Cobb (from Oklahoma State)

  • No. 117 — EDGE Jack Sullivan (from Purdue)

  • No. 131 — OG Ethan White (from Florida)

Top 150 Transfer Portal Losses

  • No. 118 — WR CJ Williams (to Wisconsin)

Net Movement: +7

Analysis

Once again, the Trojans are dominating the transfer portal. After they ranked No. 1 last season with the addition of QB Caleb Williams, the eventual Heisman winner, Lincoln Riley and Co. have done a great job again this year, adding 4 of the top 50 guys, and 5 of the top 70. The Trojans should once again be as talented as anyone at the skill positions this year.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire