Big Ten transfers to watch 2021
Updated: Aug 13, 2021
Michigan State Linebackers
The Spartans brought in 19 transfer players (15 on scholarship) during the offseason as a way to replenish the depth of the team. While starters Chase Kline and Noah Harvey both return, they are not guaranteed to keep their starting jobs because of the depth that was brought in. Quavaris Crouch highlights the group of newcomers and should be expected to have a starting job. Crouch broke out as a starter for Tennessee last season and finished 3rd on the team in tackles. He was a decorated high school player in North Carolina and a huge addition for MSU. Itayvion Brown was another 4-star recruit but didn't see playing time as a freshman for Minnesota. Michigan transfer Ben Vansumeren also comes in while former Army linebacker Samih Beydoun joins the team as a walk-on.
Anthony Russo, QB, Michigan State
Russo is a polarizing player. You watch the tape and you want to like it, but there's something a little off; he throws too many interceptions. Still, Russo was undoubtedly an impact player at Temple, where he threw for over 6,000 yards and 44 touchdowns. He is very much a pocket-passer with some signs of mobility and will have to hold off Payton Thorne for the job. That experience can be very appealing to a team looking to speed up a rebuild.
Ryan Hilinski, QB, Northwestern
With 11 career starts under his belt, Hilinski is one of two Northwestern quarterbacks with college starter experience. Hunter Johnson (former Clemson transfer) was the more highly recruited of the two and will likely open the season as the starter. However, Johnson was benched the last time he was named the starter and Hilinski has the skill to push him. Hilinski has played well in the past and will not give up the job if given the chance.
Harold Joiner/Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
Joiner was a highly-rated recruit but was never able to crack the lineup for Auburn. While MSU has a loaded stable of backs, he should still find some way to make an impact. Walker, meanwhile, is expected to be the starter this season. Walker has played in just 20 games in college and already has amassed 1158 rushing yards with 17 touchdowns. Both players should have significant roles this season and have multiple years of eligibility remaining.
Markese Stepp, RB, Nebraska
Stepp was the third back of the three-headed rushing attack at USC. Despite a few injuries that have derailed his success, he has still made an impact on the field with an average of 6.2 yards per carry in his career. Now, he gets a chance to be the bell-cow behind what is usually a pretty good offensive line. If they can figure out how to replace a couple of guys up front, Stepp could have a break-out year.
Stephen Carr, RB, Indiana
Carr was also part of the USC rushing attack. In four seasons, he ran for over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns. Given that the Hoosiers need to immediately replace the production of both Stevie Scott-- who had the ninth-most rushing yards and fourth-most rushing touchdowns in school history-- and Sampson James, Carr will be just what the doctor ordered.
Camron Buckley/DJ Matthews, WR, Indiana
The Hoosiers will be looking for someone to pair with Ty Fryfogle after Whop Philyor decided to head to the NFL. While Miles Marshall could step up in an expanded capacity, Buckley and Matthews are two already productive college receivers. Buckley missed 2020 with an injury but has played in 39 games with over 800 yards. Matthews has similar production and has also been elite as a kick returner. The combined production from these two should be enough to keep Indiana around.
Derrick Tangelo, DT, Penn State
Tangelo started for parts of three years at Duke and has proven to be a capable defensive tackle. He has a career tackle total over 100 and has an impressive 12 TFL, which bodes well for penetration up front. He and PJ Mustipher can make a formidable duo up front for the Nittany Lion defense.
Ifeanyi Maijeh, DT, Rutgers
Maijeh was not highly recruited but has been stellar when given the chance as one of the best players on Temple's defense. Maijeh was named 1st Team All-AAC in 2019 and has 74 career tackles with 6.5 sacks. He's pretty quick for a defensive tackle and could be just what Rutgers needs at the point of attack.
Val Martin/Nyles Pinckney, DT, Minnesota
Pinckney is an extremely accomplished college player having played for five years as a key rotational player for Clemson. During that time, he started 15 games, had nearly 100 tackles, and logged over 1,100 snaps. That experience can be very useful to the Golden Gophers, and Pinckney has a chance to contribute even more. Martin was a lesser-used rotational player at NC State but still provides a great option to pair with Pinckney if he earns it.
Jaren Handy/Ryder Anderson, DE, Indiana
Two big players from SEC country who have had very different careers to this point. Both check in at 6'6" 255 lbs and can become cornerstone defensive ends for the Hoosier defense. Handy saw little playing time as a freshman at Auburn but could become a major factor at Indiana. Anderson is the bigger addition by far. He has contributed to Ole Miss's defense for three years--making 14 starts and collecting 99 tackles with 6.5 sacks. Now that he'll be getting a chance to start, we should get to see him further reach his potential.
Octavius Brothers, LB, Purdue
Brothers also comes from SEC country but couldn't find consistent playing time at Auburn. He spent two years there and played in just three games. He's a player who needed the change of scenery and may get an immediate chance to help the Boilermakers replace MLB Derrick Barnes.
Calvin Hart, LB, Illinois
Hart has played in 24 games and gathered 53 tackles in his career. His first start came against Clemson, and he was one of the better NC State defenders on the field. He has a knack for TFLs and forcing fumbles and, given the Illini's struggles on defense, will instantly be a an impact player for Bret Beilema.