CFB News of the Week: 6/4/2021

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SEC Allows Intraconference Transfers Immediate Eligibility

Earlier this spring, the NCAA set into motion a rule that now allows for one-time immediate eligibility for transfers. Players can still transfer as many times as they want, but now they do not have to sit for a year in order to do so. While this was already true of graduate transfers, it will now be the case for everyone, even freshman.

Intraconference transfers have generally come with slightly different rules and stipulations, though. At least for the SEC, that will not really be the case anymore. The SEC ruled this past week that players may now transfer freely within the conference and be immediately eligible, assuming they had not previously used their one-time immediate eligibility. Some conferences, such as the ACC and PAC-12, have also ruled the same as the SEC just did.

The ruling will already have some important implications. Former Tennessee linebacker Henry To’o To’o will be eligible out of the gate to play for Alabama, who may want to fill a linebacker spot next to Christian Harris right away. Likewise, former five-star recruit and LSU TE Arik Gilbert will be able to insert into the Georgia offense immediately, giving the Bulldogs another weapon in an already potent offense. Florida can also now use DT Daquan Newkirk, formerly of Auburn, as soon as they please.

It’s possible this ruling also invites more players to transfer within their conference. All these transfer restrictions now being removed is going to create a shakeup in the transfer landscape, which is already as booming as it’s ever been.

Georgia nets two star transfers in TE Arik Gilbert and CB Derion Kendrick

Everyone is saying it: 2021 has to be Georgia’s year. All of the other top schools are reloading at QB, yet the Bulldogs return a bulk of their offense, including QB JT Daniels. The Bulldogs also just added two stellar cherries on top to an already impressive roster: TE Arik Gilbert and DB Derion Kendrick.

Kendrick was the first domino to fall (barely). A former Clemson starter, Kendrick was getting billed as a future first-round pick before getting arrested on misdemeanor charge of unlawful carrying of a handgun. He had already been sidelined towards the end of the 2020 season for disciplinary issues, so the following arrest only made things worse. The Bulldogs are taking a chance on the talented senior, though.

Kendrick is a former wide receiver who transitioned to cornerback at Clemson and quickly became a star. He appeared in 39 games for Clemson, starting most of those appearances over his final two seasons on campus. Kendrick’s got fantastic ball skills, which can be expected of a former WR, as well as the quick feet and explosive athleticism to consistently work back towards the ball. His technique and vision still need work, but that is no surprise for a player so new with the position. Bulldogs HC Kirby Smart should be able to iron out some of those issues a bit. Either way, Kendrick is still a high-end starting caliber CFB CB who fills into a Georgia secondary that lost basically their entire starting secondary.

Gilbert, on the other hand, was not booted from his previous school for disciplinary issues. If anything, LSU is in pain seeing him go. As a true freshman last season, Gilbert snagged 35 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns. Tight ends usually take some time adjusting to the speed of the game as they move up a level of competition, but Gilbert had very little issue getting right to work, which is hardly shocking from someone appraised as perhaps the best TE recruit of the modern era.

While Gilbert should be the starter right away, he does join up with another intriguing tight end in Darnell Washington. Washington is 6-foot-7 and 265-pounds, and looks more like a pseudo-offensive tackle than your modern tight end. Washington moves quite well for his size, though, and could be a fearsome No.2 tight end next to Gilbert in heavier formations. With star WR Georgie Pickens out for the year with an ACL, do not be surprised if Georgia's offense leans on a lot of 12 personnel (one RB, two TE) with both Gilbert and Washington on the field.

Former four-star RB Kevontre Bradford now on transfer market

It’s been a brutal 12 months or so for LSU. Not only were recruits bailing as the program collapsed during the season, but now players who were already on the roster are looking for opportunities elsewhere. QB TJ Finley, TE Arik Gilbert, and now RB Kevontre Bradford have all left this offseason.

Bradford was a four-star recruit in 2020, making him a true freshman last season. Bradford did not see a ton of playing time, though. He only earned 10 carries for 58 yards, in addition to three catches for 13 yards and a touchdown.

Despite his limited use in 2020, things could have been different in 2021. There is no star at the top of the Tigers RB rotation, so it is entirely plausible Bradford could have worked his way up the depth chart and become a consistent contributor in his second season with the team. The former four-star is instead leaving, and it’s not entirely clear if his decision to do so has anything to do with his playing time in 2020 or just the overall collapse of the program.

Either way, some other team around the country is going to get a talented player. Do not expect a former four-star such as Bradford to stay on the market for very long.

Former Troy WR Kaylon Geiger moves up to Texas Tech

One of the nation’s best sub-Power Five talents got to move up this spring. A former JUCO product, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Kaylon Geiger balled out for two seasons at Troy in order to earn his shot with a Power Five team.

Despite Troy not having a particularly electric offense, Geiger netted a stunning 141 passes for 1,625 yards over just 23 games. He was Troy’s bread and butter in the passing game and earned just over 200-yards more the next-best receiver on the team in each of his two seasons on campus.

Though not the biggest or toughest wide receiver, Geiger is a menace in the short-to-intermediate area, especially once he gets the ball in his hands. Geiger has short, explosive steps that give him all the change of direction necessary to be a nifty route-runner as well as a devilish yards-after-catch threat. That should be a welcome addition to a Texas Tech offense that needs a short-range threat to make good on the space a player like Erik Ezukanma can create as a vertical threat.

Geiger probably will not be cutting into Ezukanma’s production very much because they are different players, but everyone else’s snaps may be up for grabs. Much of the rest of the Texas Tech air raid offense under Matt Wells consists of shorter routes from spread formations, which is the perfect environment for Geiger to slot right into the lineup and make a difference.

Keep in mind, the Red Raiders are also adding former Oregon QB Tyler Shough. Shough is no superstar, but should be a comfortable upgrade over Alan Bowman and Henry Colombi, neither of whom threw for more than 7.0 yards per attempt with Texas Tech last season. If both Shough and Geiger hit the way they are expected to, this Texas Tech offense could see a pretty noticeable turnaround in a hurry.