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— The transfer portal has become crucial to college football success, almost annoyingly. And yet these teams just don’t use it enough to me.


1. Clemson

We've all heard Dabo Swinney complain about the portal and NIL and everything that modern recruiting entails, so it's not a huge surprise to see that the Tigers are behind in the portal for a program of their stature. They've had serious issues on the offensive line for a couple of years now, and one or two quality linemen from the portal could have been the difference between making a NY6 game and making the playoff. And that’s just one example.

Sep 17, 2022; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney reacts after a pass against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs was broken up with no pass interference call during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium.

Sep 17, 2022; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney reacts after a pass against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs was broken up with no pass interference call during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium.

2. Penn State

James Franklin has long been one of the top recruiters in the country, but that hasn't translated to a ton of success in the portal. Arnold Ebitekie was the rare exception of an impact player that helped move the Nittany Lions forward and it's not like they don't have issues that could be addressed by the portal.

Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Utah Utes in the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl.

Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Utah Utes in the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl.

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3. Notre Dame

Yes, we have to start with the caveat that Notre Dame has academic standards that few schools in the country can match, so they can't bring in just anyone they want. But there are plenty of high-performing players on the field and in the classroom that they should be able to add more than basically just Brandon Joseph over the past two cycles.

Oct 29, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Brandon Joseph (16) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange in the first quarter at JMA Wireless Dome.

Oct 29, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Brandon Joseph (16) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange in the first quarter at JMA Wireless Dome.

4. Texas

Yes, they got Quinn Ewers last cycle. Who else have the Longhorns added via the portal that has made any impact? Ryan Watts has been good and maybe Jalen Catalon will have a huge defensive impact, but they don’t seem to land a ton of kids. And with an impending move to the SEC, they need to beef up their defense quickly.

Oct 8, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) throws during the first half against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl.

Oct 8, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) throws during the first half against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl.

5. North Carolina

Considering the offensive success the Tar Heels have had over the past three seasons, you would think that more playmakers would want to make their way to Chapel Hill. But at the end of the day, Mack Brown is still an old-school guy who would rather focus on old-fashioned recruiting and player development. Devontez Walker will be an interesting test case. 

Oct 29, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown runs on to the field before the game at Kenan Memorial Stadium.

Oct 29, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown runs on to the field before the game at Kenan Memorial Stadium.