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How do 5-star wide receiver transfers typically perform for their new team?

Theo Wease, Jr. spent four years at Oklahoma after committing to the Sooners as a 5-star recruit in the 2019 class. What can history teach us about situations like Wease’s at Missouri?

Kansas v Oklahoma Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

It’s not often a former 5-star wide receiver is available for a school like Missouri. In fact, only two 5-star receivers (Dorial Green-Beckham and Luther Burden III) have signed with Missouri out of high school since Rivals started tracking recruiting more than 20 years ago.

So, it’s noteworthy two former five-star recruits will line up at wide receiver for the Tigers in 2023.

You already know all about Burden. Theo Wease, Jr. is the new addition to the group. If you’re curious to learn more about his game, give my recruiting reset a read. To sum it up, he’s going to fill the role previously occupied by Tauskie Dove. Wease is a long and fast wide receiver with the ability to win over the top.

Stylistically, that’s what we can expect from Wease in 2023. But what kind of production can we expect from Wease as a Tiger? That’s where we can lean on history as our guide.

There have been an average of four 5-star wide receivers per recruiting class over the past decade. I went through all of them to find out how many of those former 5-star high school wide receiver recruits went on to transfer from one division one college to another at some point in their collegiate career. Prior to Wease, the list included just seven names. Let’s take a look into their stories, shall we?

Tyron Johnson - LSU & Oklahoma State:

  • 5-Star recruit in the 2015 class, committed to LSU. Played one season for LSU (9 catches, 150 yards) and transferred to Oklahoma State. Caught 71 passes for 1,138 yards and 10 touchdowns in two seasons at Oklahoma State. In his final season at Oklahoma State, Johnson racked up more than 800 yards and eight total touchdowns.

George Campbell - Florida State & West Virginia:

  • 5-star recruit in the 2015 class, committed to Florida State. Played three full seasons (including a redshirt year) at Florida State, catching a total of 13 passes for 205 yards and zero touchdowns. Originally planned to transfer to Penn State, but after admissions issues, ended up transferring to West Virginia in 2019, where he caught 19 passes for 469 yards and seven touchdowns in his lone season in Morgantown.

Trevon Grimes - Ohio State & Florida:

  • 5-star recruit in the 2017 class, committed to Ohio State. Spent one season at Ohio State, catching just three passes for 20 yards in two games. Transferred to Florida as a sophomore where he caught 97 passes for 1,444 yards and 14 touchdowns over the next three seasons.

Justin Shorter - Penn State & Florida:

  • 5-Star recruit in the 2018 class, committed to Penn State. Spent two years at Penn State catching a total of 15 passes for 157 yards and no touchdowns. Transferred to Florida in 2020 where he racked up 95 catches for nearly 1,400 receiving yards and eight touchdowns over his final three collegiate seasons.

Derion Kendrick - Clemson & Georgia:

  • 5-star recruit in the 2018 class, committed to Clemson. Spent three years at Clemson, but transitioned to the defensive side of the ball after catching 15 passes for 210 yards in his freshman year. Spent the next three years, including his final season of his college career at Georgia, as a defensive back.

Jadon Haselwood - Oklahoma & Arkansas:

  • 5-star recruit in the 2019 class, committed to Oklahoma. Spent the first three years of his career at Oklahoma where he racked up 62 receptions for 736 yards and seven touchdowns in 25 career games. Transferred to Arkansas last season where he posted a season of 59 receptions for 702 yards and three touchdowns.

Mario Williams - Oklahoma & USC:

  • 5-star recruit in the 2021 class, committed to Oklahoma. Caught 35 receptions for 380 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman, and then followed Lincoln Riley to USC as a sophomore. He caught 40 passes for 630 yards and five touchdowns last season for the Trojans.

Theo Wease, Jr. - Oklahoma & Mizzou:

  • 5-star recruit in the 2019 class, committed to Oklahoma. Caught 64 passes for 1,044 yards and 10 touchdowns in 29 career games at Oklahoma. His production at Missouri is yet to be written. Using the rest of this list has proven to be a bit difficult given the complexities involved in the transfers. Some transferred earlier in their career. Others weren’t nearly as productive as Wease at their prior stops. I found the best way to go about comparing is to take the two other players (Campbell and Haselwood) on this list who transferred with just a year remaining in college.

Recent 5-Star WRs to transfer in their final year of eligibility:

Names: George Campbell Jadon Haselwood Theo Wease
Names: George Campbell Jadon Haselwood Theo Wease
Schools: FSU / WVU OU / ARK OU / MIZ
Games Played before transfer: 7 25 29
Receptions before transfer: 13 62 64
Yards before transfer: 206 736 1044
TDs before transfer: 0 7 10
Games playes after transfer: 9 12 ?
Receptions after transfer: 19 59 ?
Yards after transfer: 469 702 ?
TDs after transfer: 7 3 ?

The hope for Missouri fans is that Wease can post a season similar to Haselwood’s 2022 campaign at Arkansas. Haselwood went from a role player at Oklahoma to the Razorbacks’ second-leading wide receiver last season behind only Matt Landers. It is worth noting that there are vast stylistic differences in the way Haselwood and Wease go about their work; Haselwood is a possession wide receiver while Wease wins over the top. Regardless of how they get their yards, though, both are highly effective.

As I mentioned earlier, Wease is likely to take on the role vacated by Dove. That’s a role that led to Dove finishing the 2021 season with 38 receptions for 576 yards. Wease is a more talented player at this point in his career than Dove, in my opinion. Expecting a slight uptick from Dove’s 2021 season does not seem unfair or unrealistic.