Monday was the first day of the first enrollment period for the NCAA Transfer Portal. The players have until January 18th to enter their name in the database. The second enrollment period will be from May 1-15. Monday’s activities were greeted with all the interest and excitement of National Signing Day by college football fans, though it was about players leaving, not arriving.
USC and Clemson were not immune to the portal bug. Both programs saw key players announce plans to transfer. The Gamecocks were hit particularly hard with two starters entering the portal. Clemson lost volume to the portal but no current starters.
Saying goodbye to the Gamecocks were starting running back/tight end Jaheim Bell and starting tight end Austin Stogner. They join two other starters who previously announced plans to leave. Safety RJ Roderick announced his plans to transfer October 20th, and cornerback Cam Smith signed with an agent November 26th and announced last Friday he is moving on to the NFL.
This season Bell caught 25 passes for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he rushed for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns. Stogner caught 20 passes for 210 yards and 1 touchdown.
Other Gamecocks announcing Monday for the portal were reserve safety Joey Hunter and reserve linebacker Darryle Ware.
The biggest name leaving Clemson via the portal is former starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. Two days after head coach Dabo Swinney made the switch to Cade Klubnik and praised Uiagalelei for how he handled his demotion, the California native put his name in the database. This season Uiagalelei passed for 2521 yards with 22 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Each of those figures was an improvement over his 2021 numbers.
Other Tigers announcing plans to hit the road Monday were cornerback Fred Davis, defensive end Kevin Swint, running back Kobe Pace, wide receiver EJ Williams and linebacker LaVonta Bentley. Earlier in the season, receiver Dacari Collins and linebacker Sergio Allen left the team with the intent to transfer.
Wherever Davis lands, he will still have to deal with the lawsuit filed against him in early October stemming from the July 2021 incident in which Davis slammed into a post office deliver vehicle at a high rate of speed seriously injuring the postal worker who filed the lawsuit. Davis was charged with a misdemeanor in the case. He played in 7 games this season and totaled 15 tackles with 2 pass deflections.
Swint played in 33 games with no starts and totaled 21 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss. Pace missed time this season with injuries and had just 30 carries for 77 yards and 3 carries. Bentley played in all 13 games this season recording 20 tackles and 1 sack. And Williams, a one-time starter in his career, had just 7 catches for 70 yards this season.
USC was the first offer announced by Maryland transfer TE CJ Dippre (6-5 260) once he put his name in the portal. He’s a Pennsylvania native. He’s also picked up Illinois, Syracuse, Ole Miss, NC State and West Virginia. He played in 14 games in 2 seasons at Maryland. He caught 33 passes for 339 yards and 3 touchdowns in his career. Has three years of eligibility remaining. He told 247Sports he will take an official visit to USC December 16th.
ODU WR Ali Jennings, the brother of former Clemson DB Kvon Wallace, is transferring and is landing many P5 offers. He was interested in Clemson coming out of high school in Richmond, but the Tigers didn’t offer. He also was a high school teammate of USC receiver Juice Wells.
Clemson target OT Spencer Fano of Provo, UT met with the Michigan staff Sunday. Oregon was in on Saturday. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is due in Tuesday morning and he announces Tuesday afternoon.
Clemson target RB Christopher Johnson set December 21st for his commitment announcement. He took an official visit to Clemson November 25th. He is scheduled for Penn State this weekend. Miami, Ole Miss and Alabama have also been in play.
Clemson offered 2024 ATH Charles Lester of Sarasota, FL and 2024 CB Jalyn Crawford of Lilburn, GA.
USC target WR Cayden Lee of Atlanta was visited Monday by the Ole Miss staff.
2024 TE Michaell Smith of Savannah has set January 24th for his commitment announcement. His final eight are USC, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee and Texas.
2024 Dillon OT Josiah Thompson will drop a top nine on Thursday. Clemson and USC have been prominent in his recruiting thus far.
6-5 Cam Scott of Lexington named a final six of USC, Florida State, Texas, Tennessee, Auburn and Kansas. Duke and North Carolina were among those not making the cut.