Rivals Transfer Portal – The most compelling portal storylines in the ACC


The transfer portal continued to spin last offseason with no sign of slowing down. With the first college football games of 2022 kicking off this weekend, we take a look at the most compelling transfer-related storylines in each Power Five conference. Up next: The ACC.

Can Kedon Slovis lead Pittsburgh to back-to-back ACC titles?

News broke Wednesday that USC transfer Kedon Slovis won Pittsburgh’s first preseason camp quarterback competition in five years. Slovis earned the spot over redshirt senior Nick Patti, who was Kenny Pickett’s backup.

Slovis started 26 games for the Trojans, completing 68 percent of his passes for 7,576 yards, 58 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. If he can come close to duplicating his freshman year, when he threw for 3,502 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine picks, the Panthers could repeat as ACC champions.

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How does Georgia Tech replace Jahmyr Gibbs?

Dontae Smith

Dontae Smith (USA Today Sports Images)

Geoff Collins‘ task of transitioning Georgia Tech from the triple-option to a more contemporary offense was always going to be a huge challenge but now he has to do it without running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who entered the portal Nov. 29 and is now at Alabama. Georgia Tech needs more Ramblin’ and less Wreck. In three seasons at the helm Collins is 9-25.

Yes, the Yellow Jackets have used multiple running backs before and we expect Dontae Smith plus transfers Dylan McDuffie (Buffalo) and Hassan Hall (Louisville) will be tasked with replacing Gibbs, who was the best weapon Georgia Tech had on offense.

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Will transfers bring Miami back?

Mario Cristobal

Mario Cristobal (USA Today Sports Images)

When Akheem Mesidor entered the transfer portal in March, it was such a big deal that West Virginia head coach Neal Brown did something most coaches do not do when a player enters the portal — he scheduled a press conference to discuss Mesidor’s decision.

A two-time All-Big 12 selection, Mesidor appeared in 22 games and recorded 70 total tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. In his freshman season in 2020, he led the Mountaineers with five sacks. Expectations are always high in Coral Gables and Mesidor is a big reason for optimism in head coach Mario Cristobal’s first season.

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Will no transfer portal additions work out for Clemson?

Dabo Swinney

Dabo Swinney (USA Today Sports Images)

Culture, culture, culture. Coaches preach it but the transfer portal and the immediate eligibility era of college athletics definitely tests it. Which brings us to Clemson.

Dabo Swinney lost defensive coordinator Brent Venables to Oklahoma and offensive coordinator Tony Elliott to Virginia, yet the Tigers still have every player who participated in spring practice and preseason camp.

Clemson’s recruiting classes have ranked among the top 10 in the Rivals team rankings every year since 2019, with one No. 2 finish during that time, so there is plenty of talent on-board to replace the few players who entered the portal last cycle. In fact, many consider Clemson a solid pick to win its seventh ACC title in eight years.

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Can Jared Verse handle the jump in competition level?

As a tight end in high school, Jared Verse’s recruitment did not include a single FBS scholarship offer. He switched positions during his freshman year at Albany and appeared in 15 games over two seasons, recording 74 tackles, including 21.5 for loss with 14.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hurries. Verse was a 2021 FCS Freshman All-American.

When he entered the portal in November, Verse became the hottest non-quarterback on the transfer market with 30-plus offers from some of the most successful programs in college football. He committed to Florida State in January.

Verse is long, strong and athletic. If he handles the FCS-to-FBS jump as expected, an All-ACC season is not out of the question.

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