With the decision by five Virginia Tech football players to enter the NCAA transfer portal last week, I thought it would be a good time to examine how the number of Virginia Tech players in the portal compares to the rest of the Power 5 teams.
247Sports.com maintains a Transfer Portal database that lists all players who entered the transfer portal for each college football team. I went through that database and compiled the following numbers for each of the 65 Power 5 teams (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, PAC-12, SEC, and Notre Dame):
- Number of players in the portal
- Number of players in the portal who were 3-star recruits or higher out of high school
I did this for both the 2019 and 2020 transfer portal cycles, and then I combined the numbers as well.
I compiled the second set of numbers (which I will call 3-star+ data) because it more or less eliminates walk-ons and special teams players from the results and focuses on players that teams, for the most part, recruited and signed out of high school. Yes, there are some 2-star players for some of the Power 5 teams that were recruited out of high school, but most players who sign with Power 5 teams are 3-star recruits or higher.
I did not make any judgments for any teams as to whether a player was a starter or a backup, or whether he left the school from the portal or returned to the school (like Deshawn McClease and Hendon Hooker), or whether a player transferred “up” or “down” from his original school. I simply counted the number of players who were listed in the portal for each team for each year, then counted the subset of 3-star+ high school recruits.
Note that the 2020 transfer portal isn’t closed yet. More players can enter through the spring and into the summer. The data presented here is a snapshot as of Sunday night, January 26, 2020.
Virginia Tech’s Transfer Portal Entries
2019 Portal Entries (18): Josh Jackson, Hendon Hooker, Deshawn McClease, Eric Kumah, Sean Savoy, Samuel Denmark, Chris Cunningham, Jordan Jefferson*, D’Andre Plantin, Trevon Hill, Cam Goode, Darius Fullwood, Daniel Bailey*, Aundre (Rico) Kearney, Bryce Watts, DJ Crossen, Devante Smith, Jordan Stout*
2020 Portal Entries (14): Caleb Steward, Jacoby Pinckney, DeJuan Ellis, Phil Patterson, Hezekiah Grimsley, Damon Hazelton, Edrick Ward*, John Harris, Joe Kane, Louis Mihota*, Robert Porcher, Houshun Gaines, Nathan Proctor, Khalil Ladler
* – non-scholarship player
You can see that the portal database lists all entries, whether they are starters and major contributors (like Damon Hazelton) or walk-ons who have never played (Edrick Ward, who isn’t even listed on the hokiesports.com roster, not that I could find).
Power 5 Average Number of Transfer Portal Entries
Here’s the chart showing the average number of portal entries per school from each Power 5 conference, and Virginia Tech’s numbers for comparison.
For example, in 2019 ACC teams averaged 7.9 portal entries, 6.9 of which were 3-star+. In 2020 those numbers are 7.6/6.6. For the two years, that’s 15.6 portal entries, 13.4 of which are 3-star+. (Note that rounding up and down causes the numbers to not quite add up; this table was done in a spreadsheet, and math’s gonna math.)
By comparison, Virginia Tech’s 2019 portal numbers were 18/14 and their 2020 portal numbers are 14/11, for combined figures of 32/25. The 32 is nearly twice the Power 5 average of 16.8 portal entries, while the 25 is nearly twice the Power 5 average of 13.5 3-star+ players.
Power 5 Highest Number of Transfer Portal Entries
For 2019, 2020, and combined, I ranked the schools by highest number of total transfer portal entries. (The number of 3-star+ tracks similarly, though not exact.) Here’s that data.
For example, in 2019 Arkansas had 23 players enter the transfer portal, 19 of which were 3-star+. Virginia Tech tied for third with 18 players overall, but had the fewest 3-star+ entries among that “18” group, with just 14.
In 2020, Virginia Tech and Arkansas both appear in the top seven, and Virginia Tech is third overall with 14, with 11 3-star+ players.
When you combine 2019 and 2020 portal activity, Arkansas is in front with 35 entries, 30 of which are 3-star+, and Virginia Tech is second with 32 entries, 25 of which are 3-star+.
The Full Set of Transfer Portal Data
The table below lists data for all Power 5 teams and Notre Dame for 2019 and 2020. This is a free article, so please share it as you wish, including the tables (which are graphics screencapped from Excel.) If you share the data, please include the TSL logo when you do.
Remember this data is current as of Sunday, January 26, 2020 and is subject to change.