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Examining the Big Ten with the transfer portal window now closed

The second transfer portal window has officially closed and the deck has been reshuffled in the conference.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Michigan State at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The transfer portal has completely changed the landscape of college football. Players can change teams in search of new opportunities unencumbered by yellow tape like never before. No team is immune — not even the Michigan Wolverines — to the effects and with the second window of entry now closed, it’s time to look at where the Big Ten stands.

Several new coaches have their hands full with roster turnover, but none more so Ryan Walters at Purdue with 11 departures, and Matt Rhule at Nebraska with 13. These are still rookie numbers compared to Coach Prime at Colorado, who has seen north of 40 players enter the portal since April 15.

The most shocking portal entry from the Big Ten this cycle came in the form of Michigan State wide receiver Keon Coleman. Expected to be a burgeoning All-American and the focal point of the Spartan offense, his loss is not one head coach Mel Tucker can easily replace. No matter how many NFTs he sells.

Transfer portal entries vary across sites, and for consistency, all information below is courtesy of On3. Here is how the conference was reshuffled during the second window of the transfer portal (April 15-30).


OUT: LB Shammond Cooper, LB Calvin Hart, DT Raashaan Wilkins, S Prince Green, TE Naivyan Cargill (5)

IN: None (0)

Biggest portal loss: Calvin Hart

Biggest lingering question mark: Illinois loses key pieces in the defensive secondary, but returns a powerful defensive line and the best defensive tackle in the conference. However, replacing defensive coordinator Ryan Walters without substantial drop-off will be difficult.


OUT: CB Trevell Mullen (1)

IN: NONE (0)

Biggest portal loss: Mullen was Indiana’s seventh-highest recruit in program history.

Biggest team question mark: Outside of dynamic playmaker Jalin Lucas, how will this team move the ball? The combination of inexperience and a lack of talent could lead to the team’s third straight season with less than five wins and the end of the Tom Allen era.


OUT: RB Denin Limouris, S Carter Erickson, RB Zach Brand (3)

IN: NONE (0)

Biggest portal loss: Carter Erickson

Biggest team question mark: Can a Cade McNamara-led offense offer the slightest bit of improvement to a unit that ranked No. 130 last season in terms of total offense? Let’s be honest, the McNamara offensive shot in the arm is more similar to a sugar rush. Initially, the energy is there, but after a few possessions, you just feel sick.


OUT: LB Andrew Booker, OT Keon Kindred, IOL Coltin Deery, P Anthony Pecorella, FB Joseph Bearns (5)

IN: NONE (0)

Biggest portal loss: Coltin Deery

Biggest team question mark: Can Taulia Tagovailoa bounce back and lead a depleted offense to another bowl game? Last season was supposed to be the year for the Terrapins, and the team finished 8-5 and saw their prized quarterback steadily regress. Now, they lose key defenders, an All-Big Ten kicker, two of their top wide receivers and four starting offensive linemen. Good thing Josh Gattis is there to help.


OUT: PR/KR A.J. Henning, S R.J. Moten, LB Nikhai Hill-Green, S Damani Dent (4)

IN: K James Turner (1)

Biggest portal loss: A.J. Henning

Biggest team question mark: Which receiver emerges for the Wolverines? Or is it going to be receiving production by committee again? If Michigan can consistently and fluently move the ball through the air, this offense could be even better than last year’s team which averaged 459 yards and 40 points per game.

Michigan State

OUT: DE Itayvion Brown, S Hampton Fay, S AJ Kirk, QB Payton Thorne, WR Keon Coleman (5)

IN: S Armorion Smith (1)

Biggest portal loss: Keon Coleman

Biggest team question mark: For the first time since 2018, the Spartans will be without a premier playmaking threat on the outside. Couple that with an unproven offensive line and an inexperienced quarterback, how will this offense score points in the fall? Maybe building a second tunnel will help.


OUT: QB Jacob Knuth, DT Trill Carter, WR Dylan Wright, S Miles Fleming (4)

IN: S Rowan Zolman (1)

Biggest portal loss: Trill Carter

Biggest team question mark: Can the Greek Rifle (quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis) show promise in a rebuilding year for the Gophers?


OUT: WR Alante Brown, QB Mikey Pauley, TE James Carnie, QB Richard Torres, WR Victor Jones Jr, DT Stephon Wynn, WR Shawn Hardy, QB Logan Smothers, CB Braxton Clark, QB Casey Thompson, S Noa Pola-Gates, WR Jalil Martin, RB Ajay Allen Jr. (13)

IN: QB Caden Becker (1)

Biggest portal loss: Casey Thompson

Biggest team question mark: The Cornhuskers lost four quarterbacks in this second cycle. Nebraska’s options at quarterback are now Georgia Tech transfer Jeff Sims or resurrecting Eric Crouch. Will depth end up hurting Nebraska, or will Sims be the guy?


OUT: None (0)

IN: DT Matt Lawson. DE Richie Hagarty (2)

Biggest portal loss: N/A

Biggest team question mark: Can Northwestern win a game on American soil in 2023?

Ohio State

OUT: K Jake Seibert, WR Caleb Burton, IOL Ben Christman, WR Kaleb Brown (4)

IN: G Josh Simmons, WR Lorenzo Styles (2)

Biggest portal loss: Ben Christman

Biggest team question mark: Ohio State must replace three starters from last year’s offensive line, and losing any depth to the portal is a significant blow. The questions at quarterback may be the loudest, but even with a proven starter, without an offensive line, this offense could struggle.

Penn State

OUT: OT Jimmy Christ, CB Marquis Wilson, CB Storm Duck, RB Devyn Ford (3)

IN: CB Storm Duck (1) Editor’s note: Yes, you read that correctly — Duck both entered and exited in one transfer window.

Biggest portal loss: Marquis Wilson

Biggest team question mark: Who will be catching passes for the Nittany Lions? Penn State loses its top two receivers and tight end to the NFL, and while first-year starting quarterback Drew Allar is as talented as they come, he will need a reliant option to ease the burden on Penn State’s rushing attack.


OUT: TE Charlie Kenrich, QB Brady Allen, S Jahvon Grigsby, OT Eric Miller, RB Kentrell Marks, CB Tee Denson, WR Milton Wright, CB Jordan Buchanan, DE Tristan Cox, CB Brandon Calloway, WR Colin Sullivan (11)

IN: DL Jeffrey M’ba, CB Marquis Wilson, WR Corey Gammage, CB Braxton Myers (4)

Biggest portal loss: Brady Allen

Biggest team question mark: With several offensive players departing and Allen effectively withdrawing from the quarterback competition, can the Boilermakers even reach respectability with quarterback Hudson Card at the helm?


OUT: G Brad Harris, LB Anthony Johnson, LB Micha Wing (3)

IN: None (0)

Biggest portal loss: Anthony Johnson

Biggest team question mark: Head coach Greg Schinao’s future is directly tied to quarterback Gavin Wimsatt’s success. Can Wimsatt develop as a passer in his second season, or should Schiano start looking at analyst jobs in the SEC?


OUT: RB Julius Davis, LB Spencer Lytle, CB Avyonne Jones, K Vito Calvaruso, CB A’Khoury Lyde, CB Al Ashford III (6)

IN: None (0)

Biggest portal loss: Avyonne Jones

Biggest team question mark: A few weeks ago, this was locked in to be the defense under a new regime with Jim Leonhard electing to leave. However, after the spring game, are we sure Tanner Mordecai is the guy to lead this team? He threw four interceptions in the showcase practice, three of which came on the first three possessions. The Badgers are the favorite to win the West, but will need vastly more from Mordecai if this team is going to reach Indianapolis.