The 2019 season is getting closer and closer. It’s time for you to get used to some familiar faces in new places.
Many others didn’t. While you already know the stories behind the transfers of Hurts, Fields, Tate Martell (Ohio State to Miami), Kelly Bryant (Clemson to Missouri) and others, you may not know about a lot of others. Here are 15 players playing for new teams in 2019 who could turn out to be pivotal additions.
Hunter Johnson, QB, Northwestern
Northwestern now has a former five-star recruit set to start at quarterback. The former Clemson signee in the class of 2017 transferred away from the Tigers and sat out the 2018 season as Clayton Thorson and TJ Green took the snaps at quarterback for the Wildcats. Johnson, a redshirt sophomore in 2019 who was the No. 2 pro-style QB in his class, should beat out Green for the starting job and may end up being the most talented quarterback Northwestern has ever had.
Shane Buechele, QB, SMU
After losing out on the starting job to Sam Ehlinger at Texas, Buechele transferred to his hometown and will finish his college career at SMU. It’s a big get for the Mustangs, who lost Ben Hicks to Arkansas when he followed Chad Morris as a graduate transfer.
Buechele was competent in his time on the field at Texas — he has a career completion rate over 60 percent and threw 30 touchdowns to 16 interceptions — and joins an SMU offense that has seven returning starters. A bowl isn’t out of the question for the Mustangs.
Gage Gubrud, QB, Washington State
Minshew mania could turn into a Gubrud gala in 2019. Gubrud transferred to Washington State from Eastern Washington and should be the latest quarterback to throw for a ton of yards in Mike Leach’s offense. Gubrud threw for nearly 8,600 yards in 27 games at Eastern Washington. He enrolled early at Washington State for spring practices but suffered a foot injury in March. He should be a full go for the season.
“Dedicated, hard-working player,” Leach said. “Smart. Student of the game. He looked good in spring. But we had a lot of guys look good in spring. It will be very competitive for that position.”
Austin Kendall, QB, West Virginia
Kendall left Oklahoma for West Virginia and is immediately eligible after a January kerfuffle with Sooners coach Lincoln Riley regarding his transfer. Kendall originally signed with Oklahoma as a four-star recruit in the class of 2016 and the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the class.
With Will Grier off to the NFL, Kendall will compete with Jack Allison to be the starter for the Mountaineers. We think Kendall is the favorite, though West Virginia could be in a rebuilding mode in 2019. The team lost a lot of talent from 2018 all over the field as coach Dana Holgorsen went to Houston and Neal Brown arrived.
Brandon Wimbush, QB, Central Florida
The starting job at UCF looks to be the Notre Dame transfer’s to lose after Darriel Mack suffered a broken ankle over the summer.
Wimbush should fit well in coach Josh Heupel’s uptempo offense, though he also needs to improve his passing numbers in 2019. Wimbush completed just over 50 percent of his passes a season ago as he was 54-of-102 passing for 719 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions. That lack of passing production was a big reason why Ian Book took over at QB for the Irish as Notre Dame went undefeated throughout the regular season.
James Gilbert/Jordon Brown, RB, Kansas State
Kansas State got 1,355 yards and 12 touchdowns from Alex Barnes in 2018. New coach Chris Klieman would surely be happy if Gilbert and Brown combined for similar numbers in 2019. Brown comes to Kansas State from North Carolina where he rushed for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns in three seasons. Gilbert arrives from Ball State where he rushed for over 2,800 yards in three-plus seasons. His best season with the Cardinals came in 2016 when he rushed for 1,332 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore.
K.J. Osborn, WR, Miami
The transfer from Buffalo averaged nearly 17 yards a catch and had seven touchdowns in 2018. No Miami receiver had that many receiving TDs a year ago.
A lot of that stems from the porous Miami passing game, of course. But Osborn could step into the starting lineup right away and will help replace the downfield production of a graduate transfer listed just below. Assuming, of course, that the Hurricanes can get some competency at quarterback.
Isaiah Zuber, WR, Mississippi State
Zuber was Kansas State’s leading receiver in 2018 with 52 catches for 619 yards and five receiving touchdowns. As a graduate, he elected to spend his final season of eligibility at Mississippi State rather than stay for one last season under a new coach at KSU. He’ll could be the primary target for either Tommy Stevens or Keytaon Thompson in a Mississippi State passing attack that should be more efficient in 2019 than it was in 2018.
Lawrence Cager, WR, Georgia
Cager led Miami receivers with 17.8 yards a catch and had six receiving touchdowns on just 21 receptions. He’s probably not going to replicate that touchdown-to-catch ratio with the Bulldogs, but his arrival is even more important now that Jeremiah Holloman is no longer on the team. Holloman, who was fourth on the team in receiving yards in 2018, was Georgia’s leading returning receiver before his dismissal.
Weston Carr, WR, Penn State
You don’t see a player transfer from Division II to the FBS level all too often. But that’s what Carr has done, going from Azusa Pacific to the Nittany Lions. Carr had 167 catches for 3,005 yards and 36 touchdowns in his three-year career in the D-II ranks. He isn’t penciled in as a starter right now, but don’t be surprised if Carr emerges as a vital receiving threat for QB Sean Clifford.
RJ Proctor, OL, Oklahoma
You know that Oklahoma has to replace Kyler Murray and Marquise Brown. You may not know that the Sooners have to replace four starting offensive linemen. Center Creed Humphrey is the only starter back from 2018 when OU’s line was perhaps the best in the country. Proctor arrives as a graduate transfer from Virginia where he started 12 games. He could be counted on to assimilate quickly into Lincoln Riley’s offense.
Aubrey Solomon, DE, Tennessee
Solomon played in just two games in 2018 for Michigan because of a knee injury. Now he’s with the Volunteers and could start right away. The former five-star recruit and No. 2 defensive tackle in the class of 2017 could add some much-needed juice for Tennessee up front. The Vols had just 25 sacks in 2018.
Jonathan Greenard, LB, Florida
Greenard comes to Florida from Louisville, where he missed the 2018 season because of a wrist injury. He was exceptional in 2017 as a junior when he had 15.5 tackles for loss and led the Cardinals with seven sacks. He has the pedigree to step into the starting lineup for Florida right away as the Gators have to replace the pass-rush production of Cece Jefferson, Jachai Polite and VoSean Joseph.
Cameron Watkins, CB, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt’s secondary has to replace three of its four starters. Watkins could fill one of those starting spots. Watkins comes to Vandy as a graduate transfer from Illinois. He was a key contributor for the Illini over the last three seasons with 16 starts and 98 total tackles.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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