SOUTH BEND — Thankfully, the champions of college football’s inaugural Winter Transfer Portal (WTPW) didn’t receive a crystal trophy.
Stop dancing, Brian Kelly.
LSU may have dominated the highly subjective “rankings” with 11 quick fixes in a frantic six-week stretch from Dec. 5 to Jan. 18, but Kelly’s Tigers have yet to have a victory parade.
The same caveat applies to other so-called top-five transfer talent programs, according to 247Sports Composite player ratings: Florida State (9 commitments), Auburn (13), Colorado (23) and USC (11) .
Of note is Arizona State, where newly hired coach Kenny Dillingham landed as many as 26 transfers, including former Notre Dame quarterback Drew Pyne. . Sun Devils ranked 12thday Regarding the failure of the recruitment website.
Notre Dame? Oddly enough, the Irishman didn’t even make the WTPW top 25.
Apparently, adding the ACC’s career leader in touchdown passes to your quarterback room isn’t going to change the ratings charts this time of year.
Despite Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman’s smiling, bearded presence on social media posts in Notre Dame’s locker room, the Irish needed to adjust late in the rankings, jumping from No. 56 all the way to No. 26. bit.
At least ESPN gave the Irishman an A- overall for his Portal work.
Which means… well, nothing, really.
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For one thing, the 45-day expedited eligibility window only applies to underclassmen. Graduate transfers can enter the portal year-round and still be eligible for the upcoming season.
It should be noted that these lower school students only have until the January 18th deadline to start the portal process. They can keep playing music portals for as long as they want, although chairs/scholarships have a way of disappearing.
Additionally, there will be another 15-day transfer portal window beginning May 1, following the NCAA’s recent half-hearted attempt to fix a broken system. This gives all those players who were disappointed by their scoring in the various spring games a chance to test the market and reignite the relocation frenzy.
“Everyone wants more and more, more and more,” Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman said Dec. 10. “I’ve always been the coordinator saying, ‘Hey, I just want more – more!’ instead of thinking about the big picture. It’s a challenge because (as coaches) we’re greedy. You’re always saying, ‘Give me more. A lot. Give me a little more.’ But we have to understand that we have a (limited) number of scholarships.”
In sheer numbers, Notre Dame’s six-player transfer fee probably pales in comparison to those programs with open-enrollment policies. As far as disciplined, transparent shopping goes, Freeman’s second offseason in those shark-infested waters, while not always swimming, has been productive.
Notre Dame wanted a quarterback upgrade, even before Pine’s emotional departure and Tyler Buchner’s gritty, MVP-worthy performance in the Gators. In Hartman, the previous year’s Gator Bowl MVP, the Irish seemed to find the perfect blend of experience, production and personality.
How mature is Hartman? He turned 24 in late July, older than several active NFL quarterbacks, including playoff qualifiers Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars) and Trey Lance (49ers) and Sam Howell (Commanders) and Zach Wilson (Jets).
In other words: When Hartman’s new offensive coordinator, Tommy Reese, returned to his alma mater as quarterbacks coach in January 2017, Reese was four months away from turning 25.
Buchner? He doesn’t turn 21 until November.
The same logical approach guided the remaining transmission additions.
Notre Dame needed help on the defensive end, even before learning that Justin Admirola was going to add record pass rusher Isaiah Forski in this year’s NFL draft. In Ohio State graduate transfer Javontae Jean-Baptiste, the Irish found a productive backup who was eager to prove what he could do with more playing time.
Notre Dame needs help with safety and slot coverage, especially after learning that last year’s transfer headliner from Northwestern, Brandon Joseph, is headed to the pro level following his one-year layover as planned.
In Oklahoma State graduate transfer Thomas Harper, the Irish added a veteran who has played in 43 college games over the past four seasons. Harper, who missed six of his final seven games with the Cowboys due to injury, was a versatile playmaker with 93 career tackles, two interceptions, six fumbles and a A forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Harper’s interceptions came from Baylor (2022) and Texas Christian (2020).
With Braden Lenzy on the job, Notre Dame needs wide receiver experience, even after Matt Salerno’s surprise decision to return for a sixth season. In Virginia Tech grad transfer Kaleb Smith, with a 33-inch arm length, the Irish added a big target with a 41-inch vertical leap, 9 3/4-inch hands and absurd catch radius.
Notre Dame needs placekicker help because Arkansas graduate transfer Blake Grupe isn’t eligible. In South Florida State graduate transfer Spencer Shrader, the Irish added a game-tested weapon with career field goals for 52 yards and a touchdown rate (80.7 percent) last season among the national kickoff specialists. Fourth place.
Schrader also had a 22-yard touchdown pass against Connecticut (2019) along with a seven-yard reception, making special teams coordinator Brian Mason another game-changing piece.
Finally, Notre Dame needs to dig into the punters and holders after Harvard grad transfer Jon Sot completes his one-year trip to South Bend. In Penn grad transfer Ben Krimm, the Irish added a veteran insurance policy for redshirt freshman Bryce McFerson, who was slowed by a groin injury last fall.
Like a responsible shopper at Costco on a busy Saturday afternoon, Freeman sticks to his list and resists the temptation to fill his cart with markdown items he doesn’t really need.
Most importantly, he got his quarterback.
Follow Notre Dame football writer Mike Berardino on Twitter @MikeBerardino.