The NCAA passed new legislation in the offseason that allows players who play in up to four games -- regardless of when they take place -- to redshirt for that season and preserve a year of eligibility. One of the unintended consequences of the new rule is the extension of transfer season. Teams are now three or four games into the season, depending on bye weeks, and we've already seen several high-profile or notable players bail in search of more playing time elsewhere.
Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant is the biggest name to bail. The 2017 starter led the Tigers to the ACC championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff a year ago and started the first four games of 2018, but lost his job to true freshman Trevor Lawrence. Bryant already has his degree, and can play immediately in 2019 as a redshirt senior.
The departure of Oklahoma State wide receiver Jalen McClesky is the biggest name searching for greener pastures. He caught 50 passes for 645 yards and five touchdowns in 2017 for the Cowboys, and he had 15 catches for 155 yards and two scores this season prior to announcing his departure on Sept. 24.
Nate Craig-Myers is another accomplished wide receiver to hit the road. The former Auburn wideout had two catches for 39 yards in the season-opening win over Washington but saw his playing time evaporate after that. The former four-star prospect, who was the nation's No. 6 receiver in the Class of 2016, had 16 catches for 285 yards and three touchdowns in 2017. He scored touchdowns in Auburn's Iron Bowl win over Alabama and in the SEC Championship Game loss to Georgia, which led to high hopes for the Tampa-native coming into the 2018 season.
Not surprisingly, many of the players who have announced mid-season transfers are skill position players who have fallen down depth charts during the first month of the season. The new phenomenon might force coaches to be extremely upfront with players fighting for jobs in fall camp in the future in order to give the players and coaches more time to properly prepare for upcoming seasons.
The purpose for transferring at this early juncture is to avoid playing more than four games this season, thus preserving their year of eligibility for their new institution. Transfers will still have to sit out a year per NCAA rules (unless given a waiver by the NCAA or moving on as a graduate student).
Here's a list of some of the biggest names to bail before the leaves change color:
|DB John Broussard||Auburn|
|QB Kelly Bryant||Clemson|
WR Nate Craig-Myers
RB Taj Griffin
TE Jalen Harris
|RB Adarius Lemons||Florida|
|WR Jonathan Nance||Arkansas|
*This story will be updated as more announcements are made