QB Preston Hutchinson commits to UT-Chattanooga
Here's a prediction to get 2022 started: The transfer portal's going to bring back some the sport's excitement for the normal signing period again.
Transfer Portal Update: January 4, 2022
EMU: Preston Hutchinson’s a Moc
Former Eastern Michigan quarterback Preston Hutchinson’s time in the transfer portal was short-lived, and announced his decision to commit to Tennessee-Chattanooga on Monday. The grad transfer also held an offer from James Madison. His time in the portal lasted just two weeks.
Hutchinson, a 2017 signee out of Mason, Ohio rose his way up through the depths chart into the starting role in 2020. In the pandemic-shortened season, Hutchinson showed more ability with his feet, and ended up second in the Mid-American Conference in rushing touchdowns with eight. Hutchinson’s passing success from the starting season (126/198, 1,662 yards, 12 TD, 6 INT) can also be credited with the development of his hometown friend WR Tanner Knue, who went from walk-on to scholarship player during the 2020 season.
UTC, an FCS-level school, is in the Southern Conference, and led by third-year coach Rusty Wright.
While one graduate transfer QB from EMU found new home, Ben Bryant is still uncommitted.
Bryant, who won the starting job in 2021 with his arm (279/408, 3,121 yards, 14 TD, 7 INT) over Huthcinson’s legs, hit the portal just one week after Hutchinson’s departure. In a matter of seven days: both Eastern Michigan’s top two quarterbacks on the depth chart from 2021 hit the transfer portal, each with one year of eligibility remaining.
Of EMU’s six departures through the transfer portal this year, Hutchinson is the first to find a new school to play at. Other former Eagles still in the portal include Bryant, WR Latrell Fordham, WR Jent Joseph, DB Myles McNeal, and WR Christian Smith.
CMU: Devonni Reed out
Big hit to Central Michigan’s defense here: Devonni Reed entered the transfer portal yesterday.
It’s been ~24 hours since Reed’s made his announcement, but already, the four-year starter at CMU and two-time All-MAC safety holds offers from Coastal Carolina, Colorado, Louisville, Missouri State (FCS), South Carolina, Tennessee State (FCS), and Texas.
Reed leaves CMU as a grad transfer with one year remaining. CMU, by my count, has nine total players in the transfer portal, and Reed isn’t the first All-MAC Chippewa defender to enter their name in the database. Willie Reid, a former First Team All-MAC honoree and the other hard-hitting safety on the field for CMU whose last name is a homonym for “read”, is also [still] in the transfer portal.
Ivan Pace joins brother at Cincinnati
Stud linebacker Ivan Pace for Miami OH has transferred to Cincinnati with two years of eligibility remaining. Pace’s younger brother, Deshawn, is a rising linebacker that was third on the team with 85 tackles last year, and Ivan has already spent four years in Oxford, Ohio. Now the two brothers, Colerain, Ohio natives, will spend the 2022 and 2023 seasons together at Cincinnati.
Pace has played in every game since he stepped on campus in 2019, the year of Miami’s last MAC title run, and been a rock for the RedHawk D.
Career stats: 170 total tackles, 21 for loss (11 sacks), 1 INT, 5 passes defended, and 1 fumble caused.
Pace to Cincinnati is unique in a lot of ways. Obviously, being able to join his brother is a cool opportunity in its own right. But even if Pace picking Cincinnati, another in-state school, came conveniently, it’s not like the Bearcats were the only team that came calling. Pace also held offers from Arkansas, Kansas State, LSU, Miami FL, and Missouri.
Akron: WR Konata Mumpfield slides over to Pitt
Konata Mumpfield, former receiver for Akron, commits to Pitt after playing just one season for the Zips. A 2021 signee, Mumpfield caught 63 passes for 751 yards and scored 8 times is easily the best receiver Akron’s fielded since 2016 with Jerome Lane (62 rec., 1,018 yards, 6 TD) and JoJo Natson (59 rec., 837 yards, 10 TD).
Akron, formerly led by Tom Arth, was the only school to offer Mumpfield out of Dacula, Ga. Despite reaching second-team All-MAC heights as a true freshman, he fell just short of MAC Freshman of the Year recognition to Northern Illinois RB Jay Ducker, who is also in the transfer portal. Arth getting fired from Akron was deserved, and Mumpfield’s attention from all these schools who are now lining up out the door for him — Georgia Tech, Houston, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, UCF, USC, Utah, and Vanderbilt — is well overdue.
This is a big opportunity for Mumpfield, who’s coming into an offense that’s without QB Kenny Pickett, but QB Kedon Slovis transfers in from USC, so that’s a relationship I’m rooting for next season.
Prediction time! Transfer portal movement will swing sport’s excitement for normal signing period
There are a lot of moving parts in college football these days. That bland-ass statement really goes without saying, sure, but given all the new tools in place to affect recruiting put in place since the pandemic, coaches everywhere have a lot of verbiage to review across multiple playbooks if you know what I mean.
The early signing period, which ran from Dec. 15-17, is still a very young concept in the sport, but it’s sort of old news too. We just passed our fifth early signing period for the game (installed 2017), and it’s been a resounding thumbs-down for the game. In short: seems helpful, but not actually beneficial to anybody. But while we still have it, the new norm was for coaches to fill up a large percentage of their signing classes in December, and fill up the rest of their incoming class in February when the traditional signing period would usually begin.
But given all the changes in the sport, including a historic number of players moving through the transfer portal with various years of eligibility for players across the board, and many with instant eligibility (rather than sitting out for a year, like traditionally restrained), coaches were more selective with who they signed in December of 2021 than they were in years past.
With more spots to fill, there are more commitments to be made. Now that both Quinn Ewers and Caleb Williams, the top two quarterback prospects from the 2021 signing class, have hit the transfer portal (Ewers to Texas, Williams uncommitted), the potential for how much attention for celebrating a traditionally-dated signing day for players that fans already recognize has the chance to raise the excitement for fanbases across the nation. Jackson State (& Deion Sanders) signing the #1 prep player in the country over Florida State (Deion’s alma mater) is going to end up being so last year.
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