The Latest in College Football’s “Free Agency” Movement

The year 2019 will be known as one of the more absurd offseasons in college football history. The introduction of the infamous transfer portal completely changed the landscape of the sport and how players approach their future. I’ve already written one article about it, so go ahead and check it out if you want a recap of what’s already happened in the world of collegiate transfers. There have been a few more developments since then, so let’s dive in.

Virginia Tech QB Josh Jackson transfers to Maryland

This is the biggest piece of transfer news this week. Josh Jackson is transferring from Virginia Tech to Maryland as a graduate transfer, which means he is immediately eligible to play in the 2019 season. According to Bleacher Report, the dual-threat quarterback had 2,991 passing yards and 26 total touchdowns in the 2017 season. Jackson sat out most of the 2018 season due to a broken leg, which occurred in Tech’s third game this past year. With two remaining seasons of eligibility, Jackson is expected to take over an offense in College Park that was only ranked 69th in the country, as far as points per game goes. He is definitely expected to win the starting job over Tyrrell Pigrome, who only threw for two touchdowns in his eleven games in 2018.

With the former Alabama offensive coordinator inheriting a Maryland squad that only went 5-7 last season, newly hired head coach Mike Locksley is looking for anything that could be considered a win. Jackson has shown he’s a very competent quarterback at the collegiate level, and might prove to be a very important piece for the Terrapins moving forward. With that being said, I still expect Maryland to struggle in the Big Ten East, like they always have. Playing in the same division as Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State will once again prove to be a daunting task, no matter who is under center in College Park.

It’s okay, Terrapin fans. At least you’re not Rutgers.

Penn State is getting hit HARD by the transfer portal

College football’s new fascination with the transfer portal is absolutely wrecking my Nittany Lions. Penn State has already lost 12 players because of the portal, which is the most out of all Power-5 schools. The latest player to enter the portal is running back Mark Allen, who will apply for another season of eligibility after missing most of this past season due to injury. Other big names that have entered the portal include WR Juwan Johnson (who is transferring to Oregon) and WR Cam Sullivan-Brown. Highly recruited safety Lamont Wade had previously entered the portal before withdrawing his name a few weeks ago.

If you look at the names that have transferred, they all seem to make sense on an individual basis. For example, Juwan Johnson definitely regressed as a player this year, especially with recently fired wide receivers coach David Corley coaching him up. It makes sense for him to try to find a fresh start somewhere else. Dae’Lun Darien transferred to Delaware to be closer to his father, who is dealing with a medical condition. The only concerning thing is the shear number of players that are leaving because of this new age of “free agency”. James Franklin has already voiced his concerns on the issue, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get any better for the Nittany Lions going forward.

The NCAA has approved Ohio State QB Justin Fields’ waiver to play immediately

As a Penn State fan, I really want to believe that Ohio State will take a slight step back this year because of Urban Meyer’s retirement. But with new QB transfer Justin Fields being granted the opportunity to play immediately in Columbus, I’m frightened. I thought this was going to be Penn State’s chance to finally snatch that Big Ten East title once again, especially since Jim Harbaugh continues to show that he’s the most overrated coach in college football (you can quote me on that). But, alas, Fields can play immediately after transferring from Georgia, and with Ryan Day coming off of a season where he helped produce a record-setting season for Dwayne Haskins, you just know the Buckeyes are going to take the East again. Justin Fields is going to run all over us, and there’s nothing we can do to stop the former #1 dual-threat QB.

It’s just… it’s just not fair. Being a fan is so hard sometimes.

The NCAA is set to review the current transfer rules

According to Bleacher Report, the NCAA announced they are going to take a look at the current transfer system this offseason to determine whether or not changes need to be made. This makes sense, considering the current system is essentially free agency in college football. Since the NCAA loosened the guidelines last April, 19 out of 29 FBS players that have applied for immediate eligibility have had their requests approved. Many high profile coaches have spoken out against the current set up, including Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. The NCAA plans to come up with a solution to the current issues by the start of the 2019-2020 season.

Personally, I don’t think that the lenient nature of the current transfer guidelines are good for college football. Like Coach Franklin has said, it seems like many players are now taking the path of least resistance instead of battling through the adversity presented to them (cc: Tate Martell). I get that one way to get to the NFL is through increased exposure, but is moving to an easier situation really setting the players up for success? Every player in the NFL has had to win a starting job at one point or another. College should be no different. And while everyone online is offering their opinions on whether or not college football really is broken, the stark rise in transfers this year should be an indicator that something isn’t quite right in the sport.

Bottom line: Social media, Twitter, and the transfer portal are DESTROYING this country, DAMMIT.

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