Big Ten football transfers: Ohio State, Nebraska add key defensive pieces ready to make an impact in 2022 season

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Not so long ago, coaches considered the word “transfer” to have only four letters. They talked about it in low tones, and they were seen as some sort of last measure for a desperate coach. Sure, you could take one, maybe even two, but the heart of your roster was and always would be your recruiting courses.

Then the NCAA got rid of the transfer waiver and the floodgates opened immediately. “Transfer” isn’t a dirty word anymore, and if a coach said he didn’t think exploring the transfer portal was a good idea, he’d get the same look astrophysicists would give Kyrie Irving as he tried to explain to them. that the Earth is flat.

You may not want to base your program on transfers, but they’re a great way to make quick improvements in areas that need it and they’ve proven to have an immediate impact across the country. In the Big Ten, these five players below will have the most significant impact of all in the 2022 season.

MichiganOL Victor Oluwatimi

Michigan’s defense spent a lot of time in the spotlight as the Wolverines won the Big Ten and reached the college football playoffs last season, but offensive line performance has been crucial to the team’s success. It opened up holes for running backs and kept Michigan quarterbacks on their feet. It’s a unit that is losing key players, but Oluwatimi is doing everything possible to ensure they will be one of the best units in the Big Ten in 2022.

You don’t consider inside linemen impact players, but Oluwatimi isn’t your typical inside lineman, nor a typical transfer. He started 32 straight games at Virginia and was one of three finalists for the Rimington Trophy last season, the award given to the top center in the nation.

Scott Frost has hit the transfer portal hard this offseason, bringing 16 players in total for a transfer class that ranks at the top of the Big Ten, according to 247Sports’ transfer class rankings. While there are plenty of players expected to impact the Cornhuskers, Mathis is the biggest name and most likely to have a big impact on Lincoln.

Mathis was named second-team All-Big 12 in 2020 and 2021, and received an honorable mention for Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2020. He had 12.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss in his career at TCU, and Nebraska needs him. to help a defense that finished 12th in the conference in sacks last season and 10th in tackles for loss.

McCalister’s numbers at Oklahoma State won’t tell you everything you need to know about his importance to Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ secondary has been seen as a weak spot the past two seasons, and while McCalister should solidify the backend, he brings more than just talent.

McCalister has spent the past four seasons at Oklahoma State playing for new Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. Although he intercepted only one pass, he has totaled 123 tackles and knows the plan that Knowles will implement. His leadership will be just as important as his output.

Arnold Ebikietie was traded from Temple to Penn State last season and led the team with 9.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss before leaving for the NFL. Now the Nittany Lions have returned to the portal to find Robinson, and they hope he can have the same impact as Ebiketie.

Robinson was a four-star member of Maryland’s Class of 2021 and was considered the No. 68 overall prospect in the class. He played 13 games for the Terps last season, finishing with 19 tackles, two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. While asking Robinson to give Penn State the same output as Ebiketie is unrealistic given the difference in experience, it’s not entirely out of the question.

Corners are becoming more important every season as even the happiest teams have started kicking the ball around more often, and the Badgers have landed one of the most experienced corners available on the portal. Over the past three seasons, Shaw has appeared in 27 games for UCLA, racking up 81 tackles, five interceptions, eight passes defended and two forced fumbles.

He comes into a Wisconsin defense that has been one of the best in the country under Jim Leonhard and has been one of the most productive at forcing turnovers. Wisconsin finished with 16 interceptions last season, which was second in the Big Ten and tied for eighth nationally. He should thrive playing behind a front seven that has proven to be one of the best in the country at pressuring opposing quarterbacks.

Best transfers for remaining Big Ten teams

  • Illinois – QB Tommy DeVito: The Illini managed to go 5-7 in Bret Bielema’s first season and almost reached a bowl game despite not having a passing offense to speak of. They hope the former Syracuse four-star recruit can provide one.
  • Indiana – QB Connor Bazelak: Bazelak looked like Missouri’s QB of the future as a 2020 rookie, but hasn’t shown many signs of growth in the 2021 season. Indiana hopes a change of scenery will provide a jolt to help Bazelak do a step forward in 2022 and help the Hoosiers bounce back from an 0-9 record in the Big Ten last year.
  • Iowa – TE Steven Stilianos: It didn’t take long to determine the best transfer in Iowa’s class, because Stilianos is the only one. Lafayette’s transfer is seen more as a blocking tight end, but could impact the passing attack.
  • Maryland — WR Jacob Copeland: Maryland is bringing in five transfers this year, and Copeland is the biggest name of them all. The former four-star rookie led Florida with 41 receptions for 642 yards and four touchdowns last season. He also saw some touches in the running game and on special teams.
  • State of Michigan — EDGE Khris Bogle: The transfer portal was good for Michigan State last year, and Mel Tucker hopes to strike gold again in 2022. The Spartans have landed 10 transfers this cycle, and more than a few have been highly regarded for one of the top five places. Bogle, a Florida transfer, could be the breakthrough performer. The former four-star rookie had 7.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss over the past three seasons with the Gators.
  • Minnesota-OL Chuck Filiaga: Filiaga is one of two big additions to Minnesota’s offensive line, joining Quinn Carroll from Notre Dame. I give the advantage to Filiaga because he was with the team during spring training and he has a lot of experience. The sixth-year super senior appeared in 39 games for the Wolverines and saw starts at both guard positions. He will impact a Minnesota offense that loves running the game.
  • North West — DL Ryan Johnson: Northwestern wasn’t too active in the portal, although it added five players. As I was considering naming the most impactful punter Luke Akers (UCLA), I’m going with fellow Pac-12 newcomer Ryan Johnson. Johnson is a sixth-year super senior from Stanford who brings experience and depth to the Wildcats defensive line. He’s appeared in 32 games for the Cardinal, and while he’s not likely to post crazy numbers, he’ll help a top defense that was torn apart last year.
  • Purdue – DL Cole Brevard: Brevard was a four-star Indiana rookie who started his career at Penn State but only played one game in two seasons with the Nittany Lions. He’s coming back closer to home to join a Purdue defense that has lost a huge chunk of its defense to George Karlaftis and can use a little more depth on its defensive line. Brevard could have one of the highest caps of any Big Ten transfer this year if he can live up to his list of offers outside of high school.
  • Rutgers – WR Taj Harris: The Scarlet Knights have revamped their offensive line in the Portal, as that’s where four of their six additions will play in 2022. Because of that, it’s hard to determine which one will have the most impact, so let’s get to it with the sexiest option! Harris was a big-play threat for Syracuse, catching 151 passes for 2,028 yards and 10 touchdowns in four seasons.
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