Ranking college football’s instant-impact newcomers: The top 50 transfers and freshmen

  • ESPN staff writer
  • Joined ESPN in 2011
  • Graduated from Central Michigan

When wide receiver Jordan Addison announced he was transferring from Pitt in the spring, months after winning the Biletnikoff Award, it made national headlines for how surprising a move it was and how it could reshape college football.

Big names and award winners have transferred before, but Addison’s decision signaled how different the college football landscape has become and how impactful the transfer portal can be. First-time transfers no longer need to sit out a year to play right away, and more than 3,600 FBS players entered the portal over the past year.

Still, college coaches aren’t ignoring high school prospects. Numerous incoming freshmen are bound to make an impact on the field from day one. That includes LSU offensive lineman Will Campbell, who has a shot at starting at left tackle for the Tigers.

The combination of transfers and high school prospects joining new teams has helped coaches quickly transform rosters this offseason. Besides Addison and Campbell, there are plenty of newcomers who will make an impact on their new teams. Here are the top 50 incoming freshmen and transfers you need to know this season.

1. QB Caleb Williams

Transferred to USC from Oklahoma

Williams was a star as a true freshman at Oklahoma under coach Lincoln Riley. He supplanted then-starter Spencer Rattler and finished the season with 1,912 passing yards and 21 touchdowns with only four interceptions. He also had 442 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. The former top-20 prospect followed Riley to USC and has a chance to not only improve on what he did as a freshman, but also elevate the Trojans’ offense expeditiously.

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