The transfer portal has become quite the lightning rod for discussion, and for good reason. Some decisions are about more than just football, and that wasn’t supposed to be the case. Some schools losing star players to peer programs due to... reasons, and fans aren’t taking kindly to it.
That’s understandable. There are unintended consequences to every rule change, and that’s been the case as the NCAA implemented the one-time free transfer rule at the same time as it opened up opportunities with NIL (side note — who could’ve seen those two rules conflating with one another?!).
That being said, I do have a bit of a hot take: the portal is mostly working out as it should for Missouri. Sure, there are a couple unfortunate stories of players leaving for greener pastures (see: Lovett, Dominic and Wingo, Mekhi), but the portal has mostly served as a boost for the Tigers’ roster.
It’s not just the team that’s benefited from the proliferation of players entering the transfer portal in recent seasons, though. It’s also benefitting the players. And I’m not just referencing the headliners such as Lovett and Wingo. Instead, look toward players such as Taylor Powell, Jatorian Hansford and Jamie Pettway — all of whom went on to start for smaller programs after they saw the writing on the wall for their opportunities in Columbia.
With the spring semester officially underway, I wanted to take a look back at where Missouri’s transfers have landed and what they’ve been able to accomplish at their new schools over the past couple years. The main takeaway was simple: Most of Missouri’s transfers are going down a level, and many of those who do so end up securing a better spot on the roster with a better opportunity for playing time.
- QB Taylor Powell - Troy/Eastern Michigan - 350 snaps in ‘21, 560 snaps in ‘22
- WR Jalen Knox - Ole Miss - 29 snaps in ‘22
- WR CJ Boone - New Mexico State - 54 snaps in ‘21
- OL Jack Buford - New Mexico State - 150 snaps in ‘21
- DE Tre Williams - Arkansas - 510 snaps in ‘21
- DT Markell Utsey - Arkansas - 450 snaps in ‘21
- LB Cameron Wilkins - UTSA - 2 snaps in ‘22
- CB Jarvis Ware - UCF - 350 snaps in ‘22
BK’s Breakdown: This group saw three Tigers stay in the SEC, two of which spent their graduate season at Arkansas with former Mizzou defensive coordinator Barry Odom. The other power five transfer, Knox, saw limited snaps in 2022. Most of the players who transferred down a level saw their playing time increase in a meaningful way.
- QB Connor Bazelak - Indiana - 729 snaps in ‘22
- RB Simi Bakare - Fresno State
- WR JJ Hester - Oklahoma - 54 snaps in ‘22
- WR Jay Maclin - North Texas - 363 snaps in ‘22
- TE Daniel Parker - Oklahoma - 250 snaps in ‘22
- TE Messiah Swinson - Arizona State - 490 snaps in ‘22
- DE Ben Key - UNLV - 53 snaps in ‘22
- DE Jatorian Hansford - USF - 397 snaps in ‘22
- DT Mekhi Wingo - LSU - 820 snaps in ‘22
- LB Jamie Pettway - FAU - 515 snaps in ‘22
- CB Zxaequan Reevers - Coastal Carolina
- CB Chris Shearin - UCONN
- CB Ish Burdine - TCU - 29 snaps in ‘22
- Safety Shawn Robinson - K-State
BK’s Breakdown: Missouri saw more players leave the program in 2022 than it did in 2021, but the takeaway was the same — only six players transferred to power five programs with only half of them (Bazelak, Swinson and Wingo) seeing comparable playing time at their new university than they did with the Tigers. Again, most of the players who transferred down a level saw a dramatic increase in their role compared to what would have been expected with Mizzou.
- QB Tyler Macon - Alcorn State
- RB Elijah Young - Western Kentucky
- WR Dominic Lovett - Georgia
- WR Tauskie Dove - Memphis
- OL Hyrin White - SMU
- DE Trajan Jeffcoat - Arkansas
- DE Travion Ford - Toledo
- LB Devin Nicholson - Kent State
- LB Zachary Lovett - Iowa State
- Safety Jalani Williams - Kent State
- Punter Jack Stonehouse - Syracuse
BK’s Breakdown: The theme continued once again in 2023; Missouri had 11 scholarship players transfer out with four landing at a power five program. This is good for the players, and it’s also probably good for Missouri — players get a chance to play and the Tigers open up scholarships for players that are more likely to impact the team either in the immediate or long-term future.
If the Drinkwitz staff has done anything well in their short time at Missouri, it’s playing the portal game. The Tigers have lost a couple key contributors, no doubt, but they’ve been able to bring in more than they’ve lost over the past few seasons. At this point, it does not appear this offseason will be any different.