The addition of the transfer portal has rapidly changed the landscape of college football. There’s no denying that. Some teams use it to completely overhaul their roster (a.k.a. Colorado) while other teams choose to pretend that it doesn’t exist (looking at you, Dabo Swinney). Michigan has been somewhere in the middle, opting to use the portal to fill in roster gaps while not overly relying on it.
This past offseason, Michigan lost 13 players to the portal. A.J. Henning has settled in nicely at Northwestern, as the Wildcats could afford to give him the playing time he desired. Andrel Anthony has also been a nice addition to the Oklahoma offense. On the flip side, Cade McNamara and Erick All have struggled at Iowa. R.J. Moten has started for Florida but hasn’t inspired much confidence out of the Gator faithful.
I want to spend more time focusing on the incoming class. Michigan brought in nine transfers and had the 17th-ranked incoming transfer class (though those rankings are incredibly subjective). What is your opinion on how well each of them has performed?
Quarterback Jack Tuttle moved over from Indiana to compete for the backup quarterback position. He has played one snap in which he rushed for 14 yards before being injured on a cheap shot. Comically, he is currently Michigan’s sixth leading rusher this season. Tight end A.J. Barner also transferred from Indiana. He has been the clearcut TE2 behind Colston Loveland this year but has only four receptions for 25 yards.
On the offensive line, Michigan brought in center Drake Nugent from Stanford, who has started every game so far. While likely not a Rimington Trophy winner like Olu Oluwatimi was in 2022, Nugent has still been very solid. Also from Stanford, tackle Myles Hinton has been given every opportunity to play this year. He has started most games at left tackle but has had quite a few hiccups in pass protection. The past two weeks, he has been replaced mid-game by LaDarius Henderson. It’s unclear whether the repeated benchings were performance-based or due to injury.
The aforementioned Henderson transferred to Michigan from Arizona State after turning down various NFL overtures. The national perception was that Henderson would slide into the starting role at left tackle from day one. That hasn’t been the case. Henderson has struggled mightily despite his raw talent being apparent. All is not lost, however, as his playing time has increased more and more as the season has progressed.
On the defensive side of the ball, edge Josaiah Stewart transferred in from Coastal Carolina. A pure pass rusher, Stewart has struggled to gain playing time at Michigan so far as his run defense has been suspect at best. On the season he has eight tackles and no sacks.
Linebacker Ernest Hausmann was the highest rated transfer that Michigan brought in according to 247Sports. After just one year at Nebraska, Hausmann came to Michigan where he has settled in nicely as the first linebacker off the bench. He is likely the heir apparent to Michael Barrett once he’s finally out of eligibility. Hausmann is currently third on the team in tackles with 14 despite technically not being a starter.
Cornerback Josh Wallace was brought in from UMass to try to fill in as CB2 alongside Will Johnson. It’s safe to say that he has looked okay so far. He won’t be mistaken for an All-American caliber player, but he seems to be playing well enough to slow down most receivers in the Big Ten. On the season he has six tackles and two pass deflections.
Lastly, kicker James Turner was brought in to replace Jake Moody. Turner is 16-for-17 on extra points and 3-for-5 on field goals. While those aren’t bad stats by any means, it has been a notable step back from Moody.
What do you think about Michigan’s transfer portal haul so far this season? Has it been disappointing? Do you still see some hope for Josaiah Stewart and LaDarius Henderson to become impact players? Did the transfer portal make Michigan better or worse this offseason given both the additions and subtractions?
Let us know in the comments.