Top Transfers in the Big 12 in 2022
The Big 12 will be home to many top transfers playing meaningful snaps and important roles in 2022. Many quarterback transfers have a chance to wint he starting job, several defenders could be focal points in schemes, and a few offensive weapons have been added to programs that needed them. Here are my top transfer players going into the season in the Big 12.
Quinn Ewers, Texas
Ewers is best known as the top high school recruit who reclassified late last summer to join Ohio State. With a crowded quarterback room in Columbus, Ewers decided to transfer back to his home state, where he has a good chance to become the starter for the Longhorns. This is all based on potential, but the kid was highly-rated for a reason and is certainly a notable transfer.
Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma
Gabriel got his chance to play at UCF after beating out Darriel Mack in the wake of the McKenzie Milton injury. He's been listed as a top NFL prospect by many "experts" and is a dual-threat signal-caller who fits well if this offense remains similar to what the Sooners have run in the past. Playing in a bigger conference will help his case for playing at the next level.
JT Daniels, West Virginia
Daniels was considered an elite quarterback recruit at USC and was expected to earn the string job at Georgia. Unfortunately, that never happened. Initially, Georgia had struggled at quarterback to open 2020, but it was walk-on Stetson Bennett who emerged from the pack instead of Daniels. Daniels now moves on to West Virginia, where he will try to reclaim his elite quarterback status. The Mountaineers did need a veteran quarterback and seem like a good destination for Daniels to succeed.
Emani Bailey, TCU
Zach Evans was one of the top recruits of last offseason but has since transferred to Ole Miss and leaves a vacant spot in the Horned Frogs' backfield. Bailey is an excellent option to fill the void. He joins the team after two years at Louisiana, where he was part of a three-headed rushing attack and averaged over six yards per carry. He's not the biggest guy, but he is coming off his best collegiate season and improved from game to game as a sophomore.
Ky Thomas, Kansas
Thomas had an outstanding freshman season for Minnesota before heading to Kansas--leading the Gophers in rushing yards, rushing attempts, and rushing touchdowns. His 824 rushing yards were the fourth-most for a freshman in program history and he earned MVP honors at the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. He's almost a perfect build for a running back at 5'11" 205 lbs and should be a feature player for a program that has not had much to be excited about lately.
Agiye Hall, Texas
There are some questions about Hall's status with the program, but most have reported that he is still expected to join the Longhorns, If/when he does, he will be yet another Alabama transfer that head coach Steve Sarkisian, the former Alabama offensive coordinator, has brought to Austin. Unlike most of the others, there was no overlap between the two in Tuscaloosa outside of recruiting since Hall was still in high school when Sarkisian took the Texas job. Nonetheless, a former five-star SEC recruit is a huge addition to the Texas offense, and you would expect Hall to step into a big role.
Isaiah Neyor, Texas
Neyor joins the Longhorns from Wyoming--where he was a second-team All-Mountain West player in 2021. At 6'3", he is a big-bodied receiver who provides mismatches with his size, which can be particularly critical in the redzone. He's not as high-profile of a transfer as some other receivers, but he did compile 878 yards and 12 touchdowns last season while averaging almost 20 yards per reception. He may need some time to adjust to a Power Five conference, but Neyor can be useful in Texas's offense.
Jahleel Billingsley, Texas
This was one of the more shocking transfers to me. Billingsley is such a unique athlete that Alabama even used him as a kickoff returner, and he definitely could have turned pro after last season. Instead, he joins his former offensive coordinator in Austin. Billingsley was productive at Alabama and he instantly becomes one of the top players on the Longhorns' team.
Baylor Cupp, Texas Tech
The 6'7" Cupp, should be a welcome addition in Lubbock. He does have some big shoes to fill as Travis Koontz was one of the better players on the Red Raiders' offense. Cupp was an Under Armour High School All-American in the 2019 recruiting class and was expected to make a big impact for Texas A&M. Unfortunately, he suffered injuries that forced him to miss his first two seasons. Finally healthy in 2021, he played in 10 games but was not a featured part of the offense. At least that experience allowed him to become acclimated to the college level and he will now get a chance to become the star many thought he would be at Texas Tech.
Daniel Parker Jr, Oklahoma
Parker is a former defensive lineman who made the switch to tight end in 2018. He has mostly been a depth option for Missouri but did start a few games. While he is still relatively new to the position, he has shown raw talent and can be a factor for the Sooners if he is able to build on it. Plus, there's a need there with Austin Stogner transferring and no top option left on the roster.
Jared Wiley, TCU
Wiley comes in after playing in 32 games over three years at Texas. He has not been the starting tight end or relied upon in the passing game, but he was clearly a player they trusted to get the job done. Sonny Dykes's offenses at SMU allowed Kylen Granson and Grant Calcaterra to put up some big numbers. TCU has not named the starting tight end, but who's to say Wiley can't do the same?
Cole Spencer, Texas Tech
Texas Tech quarterbacks seemed to be under constant pressure last season, whether it was mentally or physically. The offensive line could use some upgrades, and what better addition than the starting left tackle from last year's historic Western Kentucky offense that saw quarterback Bailey Zappe break Joe Burrow's single-season passing yards record. Spencer started for multiple seasons for the Hilltoppers and was an All-Conference USA performer. He should immediately slide into the Red Raiders' starting lineup.
Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma
Interesting player here. Guyton moves from TCU to Oklahoma. In Fort Worth, he played both offensive tackle and H-back and even caught a touchdown pass in limited playing time. His 6'7" frame definitely screams offensive tackle, and while he's not guaranteed a starting spot, I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up being a great addition to the Sooner protection upfront.
Alan Ali, TCU
The SMU transfer follows head coach Sonny Dykes from Dallas to Fort Worth. The 6'5" senior plays center first and foremost but has the ability to play all over the line. In 2021, he started five games at his primary position and also started three at tackle. That kind of versatility and leadership is going to appeal to many programs. Overall, Ali has three years of starting experience and has played on some of the nation's top offenses. Dykes must love having a guy like him around to help institute his vision for this program and get guys on the same page.
McKade Mettauer, Oklahoma
Mettauer started almost immediately upon arriving at Cal in 2019. Since then, he has been a mainstay for the Golden Bears' offensive line and has consistently been in the All-Pac-12 discussions. I would expect him to be a key contributor upfront for the Sooners and start gaining more national recognition.
Jaxon Player, Baylor
I thought Player could declare for the draft as a late-round prospect, but he decided to utilize an extra year in college and transfer to a bigger program in Baylor. It seems like a smart decision as he could improve his draft stock with a big year in a power conference with a team that seems to put defensive linemen in great positions to succeed. For the last three years, Player has started at defensive tackle for Tulsa and has been one of its most effective players as a two-time All-AAC member. I've been a fan of his for a couple of years now and expect him to have a great year for the Bears.
Lonnie Phelps, Kansas
Phelps is a bit of a tweener linebacker/defensive end who isn't as long as you'd like in a pass rusher. Yet, he is an extremely productive player coming off his first season in a full-time role. He finished the year with 30 tackles (13.5 for loss) and 9.5 sacks while being named second-team All-MAC. Kansas needs players and you can bet Phelps will be one of its better ones. After all, the Jayhawks have developed a couple pretty good college players at the same position over the years.
Jeffrey Johnson, Oklahoma
Nose tackle coming from Tulane after starting most games in the last four years. Johnson is a powerful player in the middle of the line of scrimmage with a knack for making plays in the backfield. He seems like a player Brent Venables will love coaching, and that change can be beneficial to the player himself, too. I'm looking forward to seeing what Johnson does in Norman this season.
Josh White, Baylor
White was a highly recruited linebacker in the 2021 class but rarely saw the field at LSU. He returns to his home state to play for Dave Aranda, who had recruited him during his time as LSU's defensive coordinator. The Bears have decent depth at linebacker, but it shouldn't shock anyone if a player of White's caliber becomes a serious contributor this season.
Craig Young, Kansas
The former Ohio State defensive back is now a linebacker for Kansas. Adding a player from such a successful program should make some kind of difference for the Jayhawks, and Young should see plenty of playing time. He mostly played special teams in Columbus, but I would expect a much bigger role for him in Lawrence.
Mark Perry, TCU
Perry is one of the more underrated defensive backs and joins TCU after three years at Colorado. He contributed to the Buffaloes' defensive efforts beginning in his freshman season and led the team in interceptions in 2021. He also placed third on the team in tackles, which is something many seem to overlook in the secondary. With the number of top receivers they'll be facing, Perry could be an important player for the Horned Frogs.
Ryan Watts, Texas
A change of scenery could be good for Watts, who was a starting corner at Ohio State last season. The Ohio State secondary struggled to start the year and Watts was considered one of the main culprits. Nonetheless, he has 19 games of experience in a college secondary under his belt and has made his fair share of plays. The junior has prototypical NFL corner size and raw skills. If he can put them all together, he could be in for a fantastic year.