There are a lot of new faces in new places in 2018. Here are some of the players who have changed schools in the offseason that could make a big difference for their teams this fall.
Shea Patterson, QB, Michigan (from Ole Miss)
Let’s start with the biggest transfer of the offseason and one that everyone knows about. Patterson was one of many players who transferred from Ole Miss following the school’s bowl ban extension through the 2018 season. He’s immediately eligible and Michigan fans hope he’ll be the quarterback they’ve been waiting for ever since Jim Harbaugh took over the Wolverines. The former five-star recruit has been an effective quarterback ever since Ole Miss stripped the redshirt off him in 2016 following Chad Kelly’s knee injury.
Patterson’s predecessor at Michigan, Wilton Speight, transferred to UCLA and is contending to start for the Bruins.
Keller Chryst, QB, Tennessee (from Stanford)
Chryst is competing to be the starter for the Volunteers. Tennessee had some wretched quarterback play in 2017 and was also beset by injuries. Jarrett Guarantano and Quinten Dormady both got injured during the season, forcing the Volunteers to pull the redshirt off Will McBride.
Dormady is now at Houston and Chryst should start over Guarantano. Chryst took over as Stanford’s quarterback in 2016 but suffered a torn ACL in the Sun Bowl at the end of the season. He rehabbed in the offseason and opened the season as the Cardinal’s starter before losing the job to K.J. Costello. Chryst isn’t spectacular, but he should provide some stability for the Volunteers as Tennessee tries to get to a bowl game in Jeremy Pruitt’s first season.
Tre Watson, RB, Texas (from California)
Watson is one of the players tasked with improving Texas’ running game in 2018. He should be an integral part of the running back rotation after running for nearly 1,400 yards in his career with Cal. He was the Bears’ opening week starter last season before he tore an ACL and missed the rest of the year. Now at UT, Watson was cleared for full contact last week. Texas’ leading rusher in 2017 was Sam Ehlinger. He had less than 400 yards rushing.
KJ Carta-Samuels, QB, Colorado State (from Washington)
Carta-Samuels has been named the starter for the Rams. You may recognize his last name as brother Austyn Carta-Samuels was a quarterback for both Wyoming and Vanderbilt.
KJ came to Colorado State after initially transferring to UCLA. But he changed his mind when Colorado State had a need at quarterback following another knee injury to quarterback Collin Hill.
Gardner Minshew, QB, Washington State (from East Carolina)
Minshew was another quarterback who changed his mind. He looked set to head to Alabama to compete for the starting job there but ended up at Washington State this spring.
He’ll have a good chance to be the starter for the Cougars following the departure of Luke Falk and the tragic death of Tyler Hilinski in the offseason. Minshew threw for over 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns after taking over the starting job from Thomas Sirk at ECU in 2017. He’ll be in a similar system at Washington State and should put up big numbers like all Mike Leach quarterbacks do.
Kenny Bigelow, DL, West Virginia (from USC)
Bigelow is a former top recruit who hasn’t had much college production because of knee injuries. He transferred from USC to West Virginia in the offseason and should be a significant part of West Virginia’s defensive line rotation.
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (from Ohio State)
Burrow became even more important in 2018 after the transfers of Justin McMillan and Lowell Narcisse last week. Their departures leave Burrow and Myles Brennan as the top two quarterbacks on the roster. One of them needs to be successful.
Burrow is the favorite to win the starting job. LSU will be counting on him to be an upgrade from the meh quarterback play that has plagued the team in recent years.
Deontay Anderson, DB, Houston (from Ole Miss)
Anderson should step right in and be an important part of Houston’s secondary. He was a starter for Ole Miss as a freshman in 2016 after he was the top safety recruit in the class.
Anderson decided to sit out 2017 as a voluntary redshirt as Ole Miss played under a bowl ban. The decision means he’s able to play immediately for Houston, though all of Ole Miss’ transfers from 2017 have been granted immediate eligibility from the NCAA.
Breiden Fehoko, DL, and Jonathan Giles, WR, LSU (from Texas Tech)
An impact transfer from a member of a Texas Tech defense? Don’t laugh, the Red Raiders’ defense has gotten better lately. Fehoko was an important part of it in 2016. He was a two-year starter for the Red Raiders and sat out the 2017 season as part of his transfer. He should slide in as a starter for the Tigers.
Giles had over 1,000 yards receiving in 2016 for Texas Tech and could be the top option in the pass game for the Tigers.
Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor (from Tennessee)
Hurd is a fascinating player. Not only has he changed teams but he’s changed positions. The former Vol was a running back at Tennessee and is making the switch to receiver at Baylor to help with his potential pro prospects. No one questions Hurd’s athleticism and he’s got a good quarterback to throw him the ball in Charlie Brewer. If he’s productive he’ll be an intriguing 2019 NFL draft case.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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