Top Transfers in the Big Ten in 2022
Each season, transfer players make an impact on the success of college athletic programs. We saw the big impact those players had in the Big Ten (particularly at Michigan State) last season. Here are the top players joining the conference as transfers in 2022.
Connor Bazelak, Indiana
The Missouri transfer headlines a couple intriguing quarterback transfers in the Big Ten. Bazelak took over the starting job for the Tigers in 2020 as a redshirt freshman and went on to win Co-Freshman of the Year in the SEC. Indiana's offense struggled in 2021, and Michael Penix Jr's decision to transfer to Washington opens up a huge hole in the Hoosiers' offense. Bazelak is not the runner Penix was but a great player to add under center. He comes to Bloomington with three years of experience as a college quarterback in one of the elite conferences and has thrown for over 5,000 yards and 23 touchdowns in his career. He will need to cut down on the interceptions, but he's still an upgrade.
Casey Thompson, Nebraska
The other interesting quarterback joining the Big Ten in 2022 is former Texas quarterback Casey Thompson. Adrian Martinez has been the quarterback for Nebraska the last four years and has transferred to Kansas State. The consensus opinion on Martinez has basically been that he is a tremendous athlete and great runner, but he is below average as a passer. Thompson is a much better fit for the Cornhuskers as he brings similar athletic traits but is more advanced as a passer. After losing out on the starting job in a crowded quarterback room in Austin, Thompson has a chance to make a difference at Nebraska.
Jalen Berger/Jarek Broussard, Michigan State
The Spartans caught lightning in a bottle with running back transfer Kenneth Walker III last season and are hitting the portal again to add to a strong backfield. As a freshman at Wisconsin in 2020, Berger played in four of the eight games and led the Badgers in rushing. That means he should add plenty of competition at the position for the next few years. Broussard has just one year of college eligibility remaining and comes from the University of Colorado. Despite dealing with some injuries, Broussard leaves the Buffaloes 31st in rushing yards in program history and won both Comeback Player of the Year and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2020.
Shaun Shivers, Indiana
Shivers ran for over 1000 yards in four seasons at Auburn. He's a small, lightning-quick player who can be a threat as a runner and receiver. His first three seasons for the Tigers were decent, but he clearly did not have much of a role under Bryan Harsin going forward. Plus, the emergence of Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter created a crowded backfield and further limited his opportunities. At Indiana, Shivers will be the most experienced running back heading into the season and should see an extensive workload.
Taj Harris, Rutgers
With Bo Melton off to the NFL, the Scarlet Knights don't have much at receiver, and Harris immediately becomes the number one option. During his time at Syracuse, he amassed over 2000 receiving yards on 151 catches-- good enough for fifth-best in program history. Harris is a pro prospect joining a weak offense and should make an immediate impact.
Jacob Copeland, Maryland
Mike Locksley hasn't been able to get Maryland to become as competitive as fans had hoped when he was hired, but he has excelled in landing transfers from the SEC. Copeland was a two-year starter at Florida and will form a strong receiving duo with Dontay Demus. Both will have the chance to go pro after this season and will help make things easier for Talia Tagovailoa.
Charlie Jones, Purdue
Purdue says goodbye to top receiver David Bell, who is now in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. It is the second consecutive offseason during which the Boilermakers will have to replace their top offensive weapon. The team will also be without WR Milton Wright, who was thought to be the next star receiver for the team. Safe to say Purdue needs to find weapons in the passing game, and Jones has a chance to contribute. He's been an all-Big Ten returnman and the Boilers will try to harness that speed and turn him into an impact receiver.
Daniel Barker, Michigan State
Barker had the option to turn pro yet decided to transfer within the conference from Illinois to Michigan State. The Spartans have a hole at the position with Connor Heyward off to the NFL and Trenton Gillison transferring to Youngstown. While Barker has yet to surpass 300 receiving yards in a single season, he has the athleticism and the build to thrive in the position with increased opportunities. Former Purdue transfer Maliq Carr has impressive athletic traits as well, and the two could form a deadly duo for an offense that likes to use its tight ends in a variety of ways.
Steven Stilianos, Iowa
Sam LaPorta passed up the chance to enter the NFL, so Stilianos may not have as great an impact as you might think. However, the Hawkeyes have become known for developing great tight ends and the offense makes use of multi-tight end sets. The Lafayette transfer and All-Patriot League performer will have two years of eligibility remaining and could be a great complementary player in 2022.
Brian Greene, Michigan State
Greene will slide right into the starting lineup at one of the guard positions for Michigan State after players like Matt Allen and Kevin Jarvis have graduated and moved on to the next level. Greene has the versatility to play both guard and center and brings two years of starting experience with him. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the run game as he transfers from a more passing-oriented Washington State offense.
Victor Olawatimi, Michigan
Huge get for Michigan as a few offensive linemen move on from last year's team. Olawatimi has started 32 consecutive games at center for Virginia and was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy (best center in the country) last season. The offense will benefit from a player with so much experience and success leading the line and he should be considered for the Rimington yet again.
Willie Tyler, Rutgers
This is Tyler's second transfer at the division one level after leaving Texas for Louisiana Monroe. He did not see any game action in two years with the Longhorns but did start nine games at left tackle for ULM. Some scouts see NFL potential in him and he'll get a chance to prove it at Rutgers. Tyler has two years of eligibility remaining.
Hunter Nourzad, Penn State
Nourzad is a grad transfer from Cornell where he was an All-Ivy League performer and second-team All-American at right tackle. Last season he anchored an o-line that gave up the fewest sacks in the Ivy League and fifth-fewest nationally--averaging just under one sack per game. Nourzad is a prime candidate to replace Rasheed Walker at tackle for Penn State.
Chuck Filiaga, Minnesota
Another player transferring within the conference. Filiaga joins the Golden Gophers as a grad transfer after spending five years at Michigan. He was mostly a special teams and occasional rotational player for the Wolverines but did start 11 total games at both guard spots. Minnesota loses a few offensive linemen from 2021, so Filiaga should get a chance to help John Michael Schmitz anchor the Gophers' o-line.
Quinn Carroll, Minnesota
Minnesota also snags Notre Dame transfer Quinn Carroll. The Irish program has been known to churn out some impressive offensive linemen, so it would be surprising if Carroll does not contribute immediately for the Gophers, especially after playing in 12 of 13 games last season. The former no.1 recruit in the state of Minnesota in 2018 should have a huge role this season as he returns home.
Curtis Dunlap, Rutgers
Dunlap leaves Minnesota to join Rutgers. Curtis was a key rotational player for the Gophers--having played a significant role in 15 games and projected to be a starter by some before deciding to transfer. Dunlap has the chance to claim a starting spot at guard for Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights look to improve their offense and add more protection for QB Noah Vedral.
JD DiRenzo, Rutgers
Another addition up front for Rutgers. Greg Schiano and company clearly see a need for players on the offensive line. DiRenzo was a four-year starter at left tackle for Sacred Heart with All-Conference honors and has a chance to anchor the Rutgers offensive line in 2022.
Ochuan Mathis, Nebraska
Nebraska lands a big fish out of the Big 12. Depending on whose rankings you look at, Mathis was the number one transfer available and the Cornhuskers landed him over Texas. Mathis is a two-time All-Big-12 player on the edge and has led TCU in sacks each of the last two seasons. His length at 6'5" is an advantage as a pass-rusher, but Mathis also has the capability to drop into coverage. An incredibly intriguing addition to this defense.
Khris Bogle, Michigan State
The Spartans snag another player from SEC country. Bogle is a tweener OLB/DE who impacts the game most as a pass-rusher. He was used mainly as a rotational player at Florida but looks primed to have a feature role for the MSU defense. The team lists him as a defensive end, but don't be surprised if they choose to get creative.
Demeioun Robinson, Penn State
"Chop" Robinson joins the Nittany Lions after spending his freshman year at Maryland. He was a highly-recruited linebacker and saw action in each game of his freshman season and even started once. Most transfer rankings have him listed as a defensive end and Penn State certainly has openings at that position. Definitely a chance for the former prominent recruit to get on the field.
JH Tevis, Indiana
Tevis leaves Cal after a decent four-year stretch. The defensive lineman gathered 60 tackles, three sacks, 8.5 TFL , and even three pass breakups in 15 games for the Golden Bears. A majority of that production came in 2021 after he took over the permanent starter role and earned honorable mention All-Pac-12. The Indiana defense had its fair share of struggles in 2021 and Tevis is in a good spot to help the team improve.
Jacoby Windmon/Aaron Brule, Michigan State
I was honestly surprised Brule decided to transfer because he played such a vital role for Mississippi State. He made 19 starts and played over 1,300 snaps for the Bulldogs and has real pro potential. He is also a high-motored player with a knack for TFLs and sacks. Windmon is the lesser-known of the two-- having played at UNLV. He has elite athleticism and has been one of the top tacklers in the country for the last three years. Both these guys will compete for the starting job next to Cal Halladay, and each will have a role this season. The Spartans remain deep at linebacker despite losing Quavaris Crouch to the transfer portal.
DeaMonte "Chip" Trayanum, Ohio State
This may be the most interesting transfer player this season because not only does it involve a player changing schools, but it also involves a player completely changing sides of the ball. If you recognize the name, you know that Trayanum was a running back at Arizona State. Yet, it has been confirmed he will play linebacker in Columbus. Trayanum has said he thinks the role suits him and the Buckeyes have a plethora of running backs already. Still, don't be shocked if they find ways to use him on offense as well. He can be a difference-maker with the ball in his hands, but I'm extremely interested to see how he adjusts to playing defense.
Tanner McCalister, Ohio State
McCallister was one of the top defensive back transfers available this offseason, and the Buckeyes had an advantage in landing him by hiring his former defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, Jim Knowles. McCallister started 23 games over the last two seasons for the Cowboys and collected 78 tackles and 10 pass breakups. While he only had one interception, he's constantly in the right spots and plays physically. There were times the Buckeyes' secondary struggled in 2021 and McAlister should help fix that this season.
Tommi Hill, Nebraska
Hill played in 11 games at Arizona State as a true freshman in 2021 after finishing as the No.12 overall recruit in the 2021 high school class. That kind of untapped potential with three more years of eligibility was enticing to many programs, and Nebraska once again won the battle. Hill has a chance to be a great player in Lincoln.
Ameer Speed, Michigan State
Michigan State got a gift when it landed the former Georgia starter. Not only is he an SEC player who has familiarity with Mel Tucker from his Georgia days, but he's an elite athlete who was part of the best defense in college football and just played a huge role in winning a national championship. That kind of pedigree will put Speed's name in permanent ink atop the MSU depth chart after finishing dead last in pass defense a year ago. With Speed covering one side and a combination of hopefully an improved Ronald Williams and rising Chuck Brantley on the other, the Spartans should fare better in that aspect in 2022.
Jay Shaw, Wisconsin
Shaw spent 43 games with UCLA and tallied 16 starts at corner. He's exemplified a knack for interceptions and pass breakups and will fit well behind a strong defensive front in Madison. The former four-star recruit should find a place in the Wisconsin lineup rather quickly and could have a big season.
Omar Brown, Nebraska
Not only does Brown have great size for the position at 6'1" 200lbs, but he had tremendous production for Northern Iowa at the FCS level. He was an All-American for the Panthers and notched 140 tackles and 13 pass breakups in just 29 games. There's plenty to like about this guy and Nebraska had success adding an FCS player through the portal in WR Samori Toure just last year. They may be banking on lightning striking twice, but this seems like a good player on whom to take that chance.