Is Jeff Brohm the transfer portal king? How Louisville football compares with other teams

Louisville Courier Journal While Deion Sanders and Jeff Brohm are looking to improve their football teams, they’re also battling to be king of the transfer portal. Sanders made headlines during his first season at Colorado for signing 51 players from the transfer portal ahead of the 2023 season, ranking first in the 247Sports and On3 transfer portal databases. The Buffs won their first three games, including a victory against 2022 College Football Playoff finalist TCU, but the excitement was short-lived.

Colorado finished 4-8 and lost its last six games. Over the past two seasons, Colorado led the nation with 73 incoming transfers, followed by Arizona State (53), Texas State (50) and Louisville (49). Brohm signed 25 new Cardinals last season for a transfer group that ranked 12th, per 247Sports, and second in On3’s transfer portal index.

He focused on wide receivers, offensive linemen and the secondary. It paid off with the program’s seventh 10-win season and first ACC championship game appearance. Though Louisville started the season unranked, the Cardinals returned to the national spotlight, earning a spot in the final US LBM Coaches Poll (No.

18), AP poll (No. 19) and College Football Playoff rankings (No. 15).

A year later, Brohm is back at it. Building a case for portal king, Brohm and the Cardinals have earned 26 commitments from the portal so far in a class that ranks fourth (247Sports) and first (On3). No other school has more incoming transfers, with Texas A&M just behind them with 23.

As Colorado showed, racking up players in the portal doesn't mean racking up wins. Last year, 15 college football programs signed 20 or more players from the portal. Of the 15 teams, Louisville was one of four to win 10 or more games, joining Ole Miss, SMU and Memphis.

Texas State (8-5) was the only other school to finish above . 500. In its final season in the American Athletic Conference, SMU made the conference championship game with an 8-0 mark and beat Tulane, 26-14, before falling to new ACC mate Boston College, 23-14, in the Fenway Bowl.

Transfers led the Mustangs in rushing, tackling, sacks and tackles for loss. Ole Miss was the only team to be ranked in the preseason and final polls. Despite having a larger group of new players, the Rebels saw most of their production from returning players.

Former Louisiana Tech wideout Tre Harris was the only first-year player to be first in a major statistical category as Ole Miss’ leading receiver. Louisville used a complement of new and old players. Receiver Jamari Thrash, running back Isaac Guerendo and quarterback Jack Plummer highlighted the offense as newer players.

Safeties Cam Kelly and Devin Neal were key defensive contributors. But returning players including running back Jawhar Jordan, defensive lineman Ashton Gillotte, cornerbacks Quincy Riley and Jarvis Brownlee and linebacker TJ Quinn were just as important to the team’s historic season. The Cardinals will look to have an even better season this fall with what’s arguably an even more talented group of incoming players.

Almost half of the incoming players are ranked in the top 25 among those in the portal at their position. Former Tennessee defensive lineman Tyler Baron (third), Toledo running back Peny Boone (fifth), San Diego State tight end Mark Redman (eighth) and Alabama wide receiver Ja’Corey Brooks (eighth) are among the top 10. Adding depth, experience and talent everywhere is important because Louisville’s 2024 schedule includes road trips to Notre Dame and Clemson.

The Cardinals also will make their first conference trip to Stanford. Though Stanford isn’t the formidable foe that the Fighting Irish and Tigers are, intangible factors including travel and potential change in climate will be adjustments. Louisville is scheduled to open its season hosting Austin Peay on Aug.

31. .

Alexis Cubit
Filed 01.21.2024

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