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Transfer Portal News: UCF and AAC

UCF and AAC members are using the Transfer Portal to improve their rosters.

Here’s a look at some of the top transfer additions with the UCF Knights and other members of the American Athletic Conference:

UCF (9-4, 5-3)

Since the Knights have lost multiple key players to the Transfer Portal such as Dillon Gabriel, Jaylon “Flash” Robinson and Tatum Bethune, UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn and his recruiting team are making sure they are bringing strong pieces to replace them.

On the offensive side, UCF brought in four-star recruit Kobe Hudson, who is reuniting with his former Auburn coach Malzahn. As a sophomore, Hudson had 580 yards and four touchdowns. His size and strength, as well as his ability to create plays in space, can be huge for the Knights.

The Knights also added former Florida Gator Kemore Gamble, who had 632 receiving yards and seven touchdowns as a tight end during his five year campaign in Gainesville. He received offers from many Power 5 schools such as Alabama, and Miami before committing to Florida.

UCF recently added Alabama wide receiver transfer Javon Baker and the Polk County running back product Demarkcus Bowman from Florida. The offensive line also got help with the addition of Georgia transfer Cameron Kinne.

Defensive tackle Lee Hunter also comes from Auburn, and he’s expected to make a major impact in Orlando. Former four-star linebacker Branden Jennings could be a physical presence against opponents’ running games. He was at Maryland and Kansas State prior to UCF.

Lee Hunter UCF Defensive Tackle

Lee Hunter (2) is a special talent along the interior defensive line that will change how teams attempt to attack the Knights' defensive front.

Of course, the ongoing quarterback battle between Ole Miss transfer John Rhys Plumlee and sophomore returner Mikey Keene will be closely monitored.

For more detailed reports on UCF’s recruiting, visit this page.

Cincinnati (13-1, 8-0)

The Bearcats and Head Coach Luke Fickell owned the AAC last season on the way to an impressive College Football Playoff audition, the first of any Group of Five team.

To counter against production lost in the NFL Draft, Fickell and staff have added useful transfers that can have immediate impacts to the roster.

Eastern Michigan quarterback transfer Ben Bryant will have big shoes to fill after Desmond Ridder departed for the Atlanta Falcons. Bryant did begin his career in Cincinnati before departing for EMU. The 6’3, 190-pound quarterback threw for 3,121 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his one year at EMU.

Attempting to fill the shoes of  now Atlanta Falcons signal caller Desmond Ridder will not be easy for Ben Bryant.

Attempting to fill the shoes of  now Atlanta Falcons signal caller Desmond Ridder will not be easy for Ben Bryant.

If he wins the job, Bryant will need to become familiar with Hawaii transfer Nick Mardner, who led the team in receiving yards (913) and receiving touchdowns (5). Mardner averaged 19.9 yards per catch, ranking second in the Mountain West.

Cincinnati also added LSU running back transfer Corey Kiner who was the No. 10 ranked running back in the 2021 recruiting class and finished second on LSU in rushing yards (324) as a freshman last season. The four-star prospect earned the Ohio Mr. Football award as a senior in high school.

Houston (12-2, 8-0)

After an undefeated regular season in the AAC, the Cougars are ready to fill in the final pieces to bring the title back to Houston.

To help the offense, the Cougars brought wide receiver Cody Jackson. The former four-star recruit only played two games last season as a member of the Oklahoma Sooners, finishing with five catches for 45 yards.

As a recruit, Jackson showed good concentration with the ability to track deep balls, according to 247Sports. A former track athlete and potential “early-round NFL Draft selection,” Jackson can bring the speed to break defenders and help quarterback Clayton Tune, who finished second in the AAC in completions, passing yards and touchdowns.

On the defensive side, Houston brought linebacker Aaron Willis. The former four-star recruit was the highest prospect in Tennessee’s 2021 recruiting class under former UCF coach Josh Heupel, but was limited to eight games, mostly on special teams.

Houston had the top defense in the American, limiting opponents to 301.7 yards per game, and bringing Willis can maybe make it even stronger.

SMU (8-4, 4-4)

The Mustangs added former Alabama running back Camar Wheaton to the roster after he announced his intent to transfer back in February. During his freshman season in 2021, Wheaton battled a meniscus injury that he suffered during practice. He could not participate throughout the year and decided to redshirt to prolong his collegiate playing career.

Wheaton was a five star prospect in the 2021 recruiting class out of Garland, Texas and has found his way back home to SMU. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back will have four years of eligibility remaining and will be an immediate addition to the offense alongside promising quarterback Tanner Mordecai.

Tanner Mordecai SMU Quarterback

Adding a potentially big-time running back like Camar Wheaton to SMU's skill position talent makes quarterback Tanner Mordecai even more dangerous.

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SMU Head Coach Rhett Lashlee reached into the portal to grab Rice transfer Jake Bailey who adds to an already explosive offensive passing attack. At 5-10, 180-pounds, Bailey is an underrated shifty receiver, finishing with 88 catches for 1,043 yards (11.9 ypc), and four touchdowns in three seasons at Rice. (Honorable Mention Conference USA)

USF (2-10, 1-7)

South Florida may have landed the most surprising transfer addition of the offseason with former Baylor starting quarterback Gerry Bohanon making his way to Tampa.

Bohanon threw for 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns in his junior season for the Bears. He missed the Big XII championship game with an injury, but recorded 7/17 for 40 yards and one touchdown in the Sugar Bowl. The quarterback competition will be interesting with the rising talented sophomore Timmy McClain still active on the roster.

The Bulls also added North Carolina wide receiver transfer Khafre Brown. Brown is a true speedster despite recording just 16 catches for 412 yards in the last two seasons for the Tar Heels.

Memphis Tigers (6-6, 3-5)

The Tigers are bringing running back Jevyon Ducker from Northern Illinois. He had 218 carries for 1,184 yards, with 605 of them coming in the last five games, and three scores.

2021 MAC Freshman of the Year, Ducker could be a solution for the Tigers’ running game since Kenneth Gainwell went pro. Memphis was in the top five in rushing yards with Gainwell in 2019, but ranked second-to-last in 2021.

To help its secondary, Memphis is bringing Davion Ross from Eastern Kentucky. The defensive back was the ASUN Conference Defensive Player of the Year and had three interceptions returned for touchdowns, tied for most in the nation.

Ross started his career as a wide receiver. If needed, he can bring his return game to the Tigers as he averaged 27.5 yards per kickoff last season.

East Carolina (7-5, 5-3)

The Pirates lost two key production pieces to the NFL but used the transfer portal to add valuable prospects. The North Carolina running back transfer Kamarro Edmonds was a highly recruited four-star recruit out of high school. Edmonds was projected as a potential future NFL draft pick by 247Sports.

After losing both of the top offensive receivers, ECU made sure to get Toledo graduate transfer Isaiah Winstead. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Winstead has recorded 1,926 receiving yards over his four-year college career.

Temple (3-9, 1-7)

After finishing last in total offense last season, the Owls are bringing dual-threat quarterback Quincy Patterson to try to solve those problems.

The former North Dakota State player had a total of 13 touchdowns, with seven of them coming from the ground. As a starter, the Bison went undefeated 7-0.

The Owls also brought German defensive lineman Joseph Appiah Darkwa out of Penn State. Despite not playing during his time with the Nittany Lions, he earned the coaching staff’s Developmental Squad Defensive Player of the Week award twice.

Tulane (2-10, 1-7)

The Green Wave is bringing multiple defensive players from the Transfer Portal, with perhaps Lummie Young as one of the most impactful out of them.

The former Duke Blue Devil appeared in 24 carrer games, with 81 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss, one sack, one pick, one pass breakup and a forced fumble.

On the offensive side, Tulane is bringing former four-star recruit Ashad Clayton out of Colorado. He was a two-sport athlete in high school with football and track and field, which improved his running ability before coming to college.

247Sports said in Clayton’s scouting report that he could become a “quality starter with long-term NFL Draft ceiling.”

Tulsa (7-6, 5-3)

The former Oklohoma Sooner Darrell Simpson found a new home in New Orleans with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The redshirt senior offensive tackle is listed at 6’8, 350-pounds but hasn’t seen much playing time in his college career.

Tulsa also fortified the offensive line with Illinois transfer Brody Wiscarver. The 6’5, 300-pound sophomore did not play in a game last season and redshirted his freshman year.

As a recruit, Wiscarver was rated a four-star by ESPN with offers from Arizona, Louisville and Michigan State.

2023 UCF Commitment List

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