Continuing our series examining transfer activity across the Power Five, today we take a look at the Pac-12. Here’s our ranking of the 10 biggest transfer portal additions in the conference over the 2022 offseason.
10. LB Mohamoud Diabate, Utah
Utah turned to the transfer portal to try to find a successor for NFL-bound linebackers Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell. The Utes landed on Diabate, who led the Gators in tackles last season with 89. After starting 17 games and appearing in 37 during his tenure in Gainesville, the expectation for Diabate should be to start right away for the Utes as they look to defend their Pac-12 title.
9. CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
After losing its two most experienced cornerbacks from a 2021 secondary that struggled at times, Oregon had a major need at the position. In Gonzalez, first-year coach Dan Lanning found a player with starting experience in the conference who should immediately find the field in Eugene.
Gonzalez has started all 18 games during his college career. At Colorado last season, he made 53 tackles, including five for loss, and broke up five passes. He should know what new Oregon cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin wants from the position, having played under Martin in Boulder.
8. LB Josh Chandler-Semedo, Colorado
The portal both giveth and taketh. While Colorado lost Gonzalez to transfer, the Buffalos brought in a proven starter in Chandler-Semedo.
Chandler-Semedo has played in 42 games over the past four years for West Virginia, starting 21 of them. Thanks to the extra season of eligibility granted to all players in 2020, he has one season of eligibility remaining. Chandler-Semedo racked up 110 tackles last season, tied for the 30th-most nationally. He also intercepted a pair of passes. The performance earned him All-Big 12 honorable mention recognition. Chandler-Semedo will bring both leadership and production to the middle of the Buffalo defense.
7. WR Jacob Cowing, Arizona
Arizona landed one of the nation’s premier big-play threats out of the portal in Cowing, who comes to Tuscon from UTEP. Cowing led the Miners in receiving yards during all three of his seasons on the team. In 2021, he hauled in 69 passes for 1,354 yards and seven touchdowns. He finished the season ranked ninth nationally in receiving yards per game with 105.2 and 11th in yards per reception at 19.8.
While Cowing could face a bit of a learning curve as he takes a step up in competition, an Arizona offense that ranked No. 124 out of 130 FBS teams in scoring last season could certainly use him.
6. RB Travis Dye, USC
We could fill this entire list with players Lincoln Riley has lured to USC via the transfer portal since taking over as the Trojans’ head coach and it wouldn’t be too outrageous. Of all the offensive stars that have transferred to USC, Dye is the most experienced.
Dye represented one of Oregon’s top two options in the running game for each of the past four seasons. He had his best year yet in 2021, rushing for 1,271 yards and 16 touchdowns while adding 46 catches for 402 yards and another two scores. Having touched the ball 257 times last season and still averaged 6.0 yards per carry for his college career, Dye has shown that he has the ability to serve as a workhorse but still generate explosive plays.
5. LB Jackson Sirmon, California
Sirmon is another player on this list who has already proven that he can produce in the Pac-12. He earned honorable mention all-league honors with Washington in 2021 when he racked up 91 tackles, including four for loss, plus an interception.
Sirmon also started all four of Washington’s games in 2020. Expectations are for Sirmon to continue his production in Berkeley, as he was picked to the preseason all Pac-12 first team by the league media.
4. LB Darius Muasau, UCLA
After racking up more than 100 tackles in each of the past two seasons at Hawaii, Muasau opted to transfer to UCLA to prove himself on a larger stage. He certainly didn’t have anything left to show at Hawaii. Muasau earned first-team All-Mountain West recognition each of the past two years. He totaled 102 tackles (in just nine games) in 2020 and 108 last season.
He’s not just a tackling machine, either. Muasau also led Hawaii with 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks a year ago. He forced five fumbles, as well. He should immediately man a starting spot in the Bruin defense.
3. QB Bo Nix, Oregon
Technically, Nix is still in the midst of a quarterback competition during his first fall camp at Oregon. But the expectation is that the former Auburn quarterback will start when the Ducks travel to Atlanta for their season-opening showdown with defending national champion Georgia.
Nix was up-and-down during three seasons as the Auburn starter, much like Oregon’s quarterback play last season. It would benefit both him and the Ducks if he could find a bit more consistency with the change of scenery.
Oregon will put a veteran offensive line in front of Nix and should surround him with plenty of playmakers. And he should know what new offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham is looking for after playing a season under Dillingham at Auburn in 2019. If Nix can avoid too many sacks and turnovers, it doesn’t feel like a stretch to believe he could lead the Ducks back to the top of the Pac-12 standings.
2. WR Jordan Addison, USC
Addison won the Biletnikoff Award in 2021 as the nation’s best wide receiver — yet he’s not number one on this list, or on his own team. That shows how much talent Riley has brought to USC via the portal during the past nine months.
There’s little reason to believe Addison won’t continue to be one of the most productive receivers in college football in his new home. A season ago, he caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns — tied for the most receiving scores in the country. He’ll have another talented transfer receiver on the field to help attract attention from opposing secondaries in Mario Williams. Plus, he’ll be catching passes from the top player in our rankings.
1. QB Caleb Williams, USC
Williams was the top-ranked quarterback in the country as a high school prospect a year ago. Now, he’s the consensus top-ranked signal caller to change teams in the transfer portal, having followed Riley from Oklahoma to USC.
Most fans likely know Williams’ story by now: He supplanted Spencer Rattler as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback midway through last season. After taking over the starting job, he completed 65.0 percent of his passes, threw for 21 touchdowns versus four interceptions and rushed for 381 yards and five scores. His arrival in L.A. prompted the departures of Jaxson Dart and Kedon Slovis. He’s currently listed by VegasInsider as the third-favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
Those are heavy expectations to put on the shoulder pads of a player who has only started seven college games. But given Williams’ talent, the playmakers around him and Riley’s success as an offensive mind, it’s impossible to put anyone else in the top spot of this list.