Transfer portal officially opens on December 5; Lincoln Riley is waiting to pounce

USC’s substantial and immediate transformation in college football is the product of several forces. One central force is the impact of the transfer portal.

The obvious connection to make with the portal and its influence on USC is the simple fact that Lincoln Riley believes in the centrality of the portal. This is not a peripheral pursuit for him. Riley views the portal as essential to making USC better. It’s not a luxury or an add-on; it’s an absolute necessity.

Riley understands how the portal can transform rosters. So many other coaches do not. This has been a game-changer for USC.

Let’s review some of USC’s high-impact transfers and take note of some 2022-2023 transfer prospects while reminding you that the new portal cycle officially begins on December 5.

We can also tell you that Oklahoma receiver Theo Wease has expressed his desire to enter the portal when it does open on Dec. 5.

CALEB WILLIAMS

USC gained a transfer who will very likely win the Heisman Trophy.

JORDAN ADDISON

Jordan Addison, when healthy, is a force. He helped USC take an early lead at Utah before getting hurt later in that game. He caught 11 passes for 178 yards against UCLA. He caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Oregon State. His value has been enormous to this team after transferring from Pittsburgh.

MARIO WILLIAMS

When healthy, he has been great. He and Addison showed what they were capable of in the Stanford game, the Utah game, and at a few other points in the season … but they haven’t been healthy the whole way.

ERIC GENTRY

He was USC’s most important defensive player through six games before getting hurt in Game 7 against Utah. He got back into the flow of action against Notre Dame and should be a full-go against the Utes.

Just in time, too.

SHANE LEE

Lee has fought through injuries to be a productive player. He provided good pass coverage against UCLA. He stuffed an early third-down run against Notre Dame. His leadership has been excellent.

MEKHI BLACKMON

It would be scary to think how much worse USC’s secondary would have been this year if Blackmon wasn’t there to be the anchor.

BOBBY HASKINS

When Courtland Ford got hurt and lost his effectiveness, having Haskins there at left tackle to stabilize the offensive line was a centrally important factor in creating a successful season. USC is not 11-1 if Haskins hadn’t transferred from Virginia.

SOLOMON BYRD

Though not a great player, he did make some very important plays during the season and has certainly been a value-add for USC after coming over from Wyoming.

TYRONE TALENI

Taleni, like Byrd, made a few really important plays for USC over the course of the season. The biggest was his sack and forced fumble against UCLA and Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

BRYSON SHAW

Not healthy for most of the year, Shaw — from Ohio State — stepped in and made a huge interception against Arizona to help USC survive that game on Oct. 29.

TRAVIS DYE

An elite player and an elite leader, Dye gave USC everything it possibly could have hoped for and then some. Even after his injury, he kept motivating and coaching players, including this next one:

AUSTIN JONES

Austin Jones was a complete stud against Notre Dame and UCLA.

He elevated his game in USC’s biggest moments of the season.

2023 TRANSFERS: OKLAHOMA WR THEO WEASE

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2023 TRANSFERS: TEXAS A&M RB L.J. JOHNSON

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2023 TRANSFERS: TEXAS A&M LB ISH HARRIS

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2023 TRANSFERS: TEXAS A&M EDGE ELIJAH JEUDY

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THAT'S A VERY SMALL TASTE OF WHAT'S TO COME

As other coaches get fired and hired, more transfer portal activity will emerge. Buckle up!

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire