ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ) — College football is in the midst of a power shift as players aggressively exercise their one free transfer.
On Monday, sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger reported that a record 3,000 players have entered the transfer portal in the past two months.
Some of college football’s biggest names are on the move. Ohio State’s five-star freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers is off to Texas, both of Oklahoma’s quarterbacks, Spencer Rattler and Caleb Williams appear to be exiting Norman.
Several Nittany Lions have declared their intentions to leave, most notably backup quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson has commited to UCONN, but for the time-being the portal has been friendly to Penn State.
Through the portal Penn State landed Western Kentucky’s star wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley. Tinsley was one of two 1,000 yard receivers at WKU this fall, finishing with 87 catches for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns.
In many respects, Tinsley is the type of players teams could only dream of landing in the portal just a few years ago, but today, the portal allows teams to fill gaps in a way recruiting classes don’t.
“You don’t want to say ‘we’re no going to build’ to a certain level, but it feels like a poker game where the next hand you may have a great hand, but the one after that you may have to bluff,” said former Penn State wide receiver Joe Nastasi.
Nastasi is the guest in this week’s Nittany Nation Overtime season finale show, hosted by WTAJ’s Anderley Penwell, and the Nitwits Neil Rudel and Mark Brennan. The show airs on WTAJ Sundays following the 11 p.m. news.
Nastasi added that the traditional model of building and waiting for recruiting classes to mature is no longer the only option.
“I can’t say that now that now we have this freshman class that by the time they’re juniors we’re going to have a lot of pieces that we need to take a run at it. I think you can do that next year, or not do it next year,” he said.
But the portal can’t be discussed without adding context to college football’s COVID eligibility addendum, which gives players a fifth year of play. In many ways it’s bloated the transfer pool with more players now available. The extra year has allowed some veteran players a one-time chance to grow their stock, something Nebraska’s longtime starting quarterback Adrian Martinez hopes to do. At Penn State guys like quarterback Sean Clifford are playing one final season.
“He’s a guy that can control the football game because he’s been there with all of his experience,” Nastasi said. “He’s definitely not a bad player, he can do a lot of things. He did that all based on a offense that didn’t have an existing run game. He gets a run game, I think you’re going to see a different Penn State offense.”
Other players who have announced their return to Penn State for an extra season include safeties Jonathan Sutherland, Ji’Ayir Brown, and long snapper Chris Stoll.