College football's biggest impact transfers entering the 2021 season

After we discussed the notable quarterbacks who are at new schools in 2021, it's time to focus on impact transfers who don't play QB. Here are some players who are poised to have a big influence on their new teams this season.

Offense

Alabama WR Jameson Williams (from Ohio State)

Williams has been a deep threat for the Buckeyes with 15 catches for 266 yards and three TDs in 10 games. He has a chance to become the No. 2 wide receiver at Alabama behind John Metchie and be deployed in a similar way to Jaylen Waddle.

Florida RB DeMarkcus Bowman (from Clemson)

Bowman had just nine rushing attempts for the Tigers in 2020 but was a five-star recruit in the class of 2020 and the No. 2 running back in the class. He’s the second high-profile transfer RB Florida has gotten in as many years. Lorenzo Lingard transferred from Miami ahead of the 2020 season.

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 31: Arik Gilbert #2 of the LSU Tigers looks for a route against the Auburn Tigers in the second half at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 31, 2020 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Gus Stark/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)
Arik Gilbert transferred to Georgia from LSU. (Photo by Gus Stark/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)

Georgia WR Arik Gilbert (from LSU)

It’s not hyperbole to say that Gilbert could have the biggest impact of any non-QB transfer in 2021. Georgia’s offense needs pass catchers with George Pickens potentially out for the season because of a knee injury and Gilbert was a matchup nightmare as a freshman. He had 35 catches for 368 yards in 2020 and is set to move from tight end to wide receiver.

Kentucky WR Wan’Dale Robinson (from Nebraska)

Robinson was a wild card for the Nebraska offense and the team’s most dynamic player in 2020. He rushed 46 times for 240 yards and had 51 catches for 461 yards in eight games though he scored just two touchdowns. He should have a similar role at Kentucky.

Kentucky OL Dare Rosenthal (from LSU)

The former starting left tackle for the Tigers left the team over the summer and transferred to the Wildcats. Despite the limited preparation with his new team he could step in as a starter right away in Lexington.

Miami WR Charleston Rambo (from Oklahoma)

Rambo’s production declined in 2020 with Spencer Rattler at QB. After posting 43 catches for 743 yards and five TDs in 2019, Rambo’s average catch dipped from 17.3 yards to 12.5 yards as he grabbed 25 passes for 312 yards and three TDs. He’ll be part of a deep Miami receiving corps that could use a breakout star.

Nebraska RB Markese Stepp (from USC)

The Nebraska running game needs a big boost in 2021. Will Stepp provide it? He’s been a part-time player in his three years with USC as he’s rushed 100 times for 505 yards and six TDs in 14 career games.

North Carolina running back Ty Chandler runs during an NCAA college football practice in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Ty Chandler may be poised for a big year at North Carolina. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

North Carolina RB Ty Chandler (from Tennessee)

Chandler rushed for 2,046 yards over four seasons with Tennessee and scored 16 touchdowns. He’s a top option for a North Carolina offense that returns QB Sam Howell but needs to replace star running backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams.

Notre Dame OL Cain Madden (from Marshall)

Notre Dame’s addition of Madden is significant. The longtime starter at Marshall was one of the best available offensive lineman on the transfer market and the Fighting Irish are replacing four of five starters on the line.

Oklahoma RB Eric Gray (from Tennessee)

Gray joins Kennedy Brooks in the backfield for the Big 12 favorites. He should immediately be a key part of Oklahoma’s run and pass game after he rushed 157 times for 772 yards and had 30 catches for 254 yards for the Volunteers in 2020.

Oklahoma OL Wanya Morris (from Tennessee)

Morris was a four-star recruit in the class of 2019 and the No. 5 tackle prospect in the country. He started 19 games over two years at Tennessee and could step in right away as a starter on a very good OU offensive line.

SMU TE Grant Calcaterra (from Oklahoma)

Calcaterra is continuing his college career in Dallas with former OU QB Tanner Mordecai. After medically retiring from football after 2019, Calcaterra and Mordecai are penciled in as the only two new starters on SMU’s offense. Calcaterra had 26 catches for 396 yards and six touchdowns in 2018.

UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet (from Michigan)

It’s easy to see how Charbonnet will have a big role for UCLA in 2021. He rushed just 19 times for 124 yards for Michigan in 2020 but led the team with 726 yards and 11 rushing TDs as a freshman in 2019.

USC RB Keaontay Ingram (from Texas)

Ingram averaged over five yards a carry in his three years at Texas. His best year came in 2019 when he rushed for 853 yards and seven TDs while catching 29 passes for 242 yards. Ingram had 53 carries for 250 yards in six games in 2020.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02: Henry To'o To'o #11 of the Tennessee Volunteers celebrates in the fourth quarter of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl against the Indiana Hoosiers at TIAA Bank Field on January 2, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. Tennessee defeated Indiana 23-22. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Henry To'o To'o is now at Alabama. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Defense

Alabama LB Henry To’o To’o (from Tennessee)

You’ll notice a lot of former Tennessee players on this list. To’o To’o was a mainstay of Tennessee’s defense from the moment he stepped on campus. He tallied 140 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss in 22 games with the Vols and joins a loaded linebacking corps in Tuscaloosa.

Florida State DE Jermaine Johnson (from Georgia)

Johnson comes to Tallahassee and could immediately step in as FSU's best pass rusher. He had 7.5 sacks in 21 games in a part-time role on a deep Georgia defensive line. He also recorded 24 QB pressures. If he's a mainstay on the FSU line in 2021, he could easily double his career sack total.

Georgia DBs Derion Kendrick (from Clemson) and Tykee Smith (from West Virginia)

Georgia reloaded in the secondary after multiple players were drafted in the 2021 NFL draft. Kendrick was a key part of Clemson’s 2019 team that made it to the national championship game with 43 tackles and two interceptions. He could start right away for the Bulldogs against his old team on Sept. 4.

Smith was one of West Virginia’s best defensive players. He tallied 111 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions in 21 total games with the Mountaineers. Like Kendrick, he’ll immediately have a big role for Georgia’s defense.

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - OCTOBER 17:    Jacquez Jones #32 of the Mississippi Rebels watches a replay on the scoreboard during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on October 17, 2020 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Rebels 33-21.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Jacquez Jones transferred from Ole Miss to Kentucky. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Kentucky LB Jacquez Jones (from Ole Miss)

Kentucky got some key players in the transfer market. Jones was Ole Miss’ leading tackler in 2020 with 75 tackles in nine games. He had 71 tackles in 2020 and has 12.5 career tackles for loss.

LSU LB Mike Jones (from Clemson)

Jones had 44 tackles over the last two seasons with Clemson and tallied two interceptions in 2020. The Florida native was a four-star recruit in the class of 2018 and is in line to replace Jabril Cox as one of LSU’s starting linebackers.

Miami DB Tyrique Stevenson (from Georgia)

Stevenson had 34 tackles and five passes defensed in 10 games for the Bulldogs in 2020. He joins a young Miami secondary that looks set to start all sophomores and juniors.

Missouri DBs Akayleb Evans and Allie Green (from Tulsa)

Evans and Green were Tulsa’s starting cornerbacks in 2020 as the Golden Hurricane allowed less than 200 yards passing per game. They may not start right away at Missouri but provide needed cover for a secondary that was thin in 2020.

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 10: Quarterback Dalen Morris #8 of the Navy Midshipmen pitches the ball in front of defensive end Arnold Ebiketie #17 of the Temple Owls at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on October 10, 2020 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Arnold Ebiketie moved west to Penn State. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Penn State DE Arnold Ebiketie (from Temple)

Ebiketie had a breakout season as a junior in 2020. He tallied 42 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks in six games with Temple. He should step in on the edge after Odafe Oweh was drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens.

UCF DE Big Kat Bryant (from Auburn)

Bryant followed coach Gus Malzahn from Auburn to Orlando and should be an impactful edge rusher for the Knights. Bryant had 10 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 34 games at Auburn.

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