You can never say never in today’s world, but West Virginia’s football transfer merry-go-round has likely slowed down and very well may have stopped, at least in terms of those either getting on or getting off.
Football undergrads looking to transfer out who want to play immediately at a new school, provided it’s their first transfer, without receiving a waiver from the NCAA have to enter the portal during one of the two windows (Dec. 5-Jan. 18 and April 15-30). Those windows are now closed, at least for undergrads, though a graduate doesn’t have to abide by such windows.
WVU had 17 players who were on its 2022 roster enter the portal since last fall with the most recent entering at the end of April.
While the Mountaineers saw plenty of departures into the portal, they also pulled their fair share of transfers out as well, landing 14 of them.
West Virginia does appear to be a couple of scholarships below the FBS maximum of 85 right now, so it could still add a player or two — be they a transfer, juco or true freshman — but a majority of WVU’s most glaring needs for 2023 have been filled. Thus it can be very selective when it comes to any further additions.
Running back Tony Mathis, linebacker Aric Burton and defensive backs Caleb Coleman and Jaylon Shelton were the only Mountaineers who went through spring practice with West Virginia and entered the portal after those drills concluded with the Gold-Blue Game on April 22. The other 13 all entered the portal during the winter window.
Of those who left WVU, six of them are moving on to Power 5 programs — defensive end Taijh Alston to Colorado, defensive lineman Jordan Jefferson to LSU, linebacker Lanell Carr to Indiana, tight end Mike O’Laughlin to Houston, wide receiver Kaden Prather to Maryland and running back Tony Mathis to Houston. Seven others are transferring to Group of 5 FBS programs — defensive back Mumu Bin-Wahad to UConn, defensive back Charles Woods to SMU, offensive lineman Chris Mayo to Eastern Michigan, wide receiver Reese Smith to Liberty, quarterback J.T. Daniels to Rice, offensive lineman Jordan White to Liberty and quarterback Goose Crowder to Arkansas State. There are still four other former Mountaineers who have not announced their transfer homes yet — linebacker Aric Burton, defensive back Jaylon Shelton, defensive back Caleb Coleman and defensive back Tyrin Woodby — though through their social media pages all but Coleman list offers.
In terms of transfer additions, seven of the 14 new Mountaineers participated in spring drills — cornerback Montre Miller, safety Keyshawn Cobb, defensive lineman Davion Hawkins, wide receiver Ja’Shaun Poke, wide receiver Devin Carter, tight end Kole Taylor and placekicker Michael Hayes. While Poke was limited by injury at times during spring drills, the other six showed they are capable of contributing this coming season. In fact, exiting the spring, Carter, Taylor and Hayes were perceived as starters at their respective positions. Miller, Cobb and Hawkins each were at the very least in spots to see significant playing time in rotation at their positions, though any or all three could push for starts as well.
It’s harder to get a bead on the seven other transfers who won’t arrive at West Virginia until the summer just because they haven’t practiced with the Mountaineers yet. WVU’s coaches, though, expect a majority of them to be able to contribute this coming season. Rarely do they bring in a transfer to sit, so they’ll be given every opportunity to prove whether they are worthy of immediate playing time.
Biggest Transfer Losses — wide receiver Kaden Prather, defensive lineman Jordan Jefferson
Biggest Transfer Gains — wide receiver Devin Carter, tight end Kole Taylor
Hardest hit positions for transfer losses — wide receiver with the departure of two starters in Prather and Reese Smith.
Best overall position for transfer additions — This is a tough category to rate, because a number of key newcomers weren’t at WVU yet for spring practice. The Mountaineers’ biggest needs in this transfer class were at receiver, defensive line and defensive secondary, and WVU brought in plenty of additions at each of those. Wide receiver Devin Carter shined brightly during the spring, as did defensive tackle Davion Hawkins, but another transfer receiver in Ja’Shaun Poke was limited by injury through much of the spring, so it was hard to get an evaluation on him. Two other transfer receivers (E.J. Horton and Noah Massey) won’t arrive at WVU until the summer, and the same is true for three defensive linemen (Tomiwa Durojaiye, Tyrin Bradley and Fatorma Mulboh). Thus it’s hard to get a true read on those positions. In the secondary, though, new cornerback Montre Miller and safety Keyshawn Cobb each drew a lot of compliments from the Mountaineer coaches, and both will almost certainly be in the two-deep at the outset of the 2023 season, if not starting. Safety Anthony Wilson and cornerback Beanie Bishop will join the transfer contingent as well for what West Virginia hopes will be a vastly improved secondary from last year.
Most important position for transfer pick-ups — WVU added four transfers each at receiver, defensive line and defensive secondary. All are vital, and the Mountaineers likely will need most or all those additions to provide an immediate impact. But considering West Virginia lost its top four pass catchers from last year to either graduation or transfer, replenishing the receiver room was huge. With the addition of Carter from N.C. State, WVU looks like it’s added one big playmaker. The other three — Ja’Shaun Poke (Kent State), who was hurt through much of spring drills, and recent transfer commitments E.J. Horton (Marshall) and Noah Massey (Angelo State) — are still unproven at the Power 5 level. The Mountaineers gained the numbers they needed at receiver, but the hope is they added not just quantity but also quality.
DL — Taijh Alston (Colorado) (P-5)
DL — Jordan Jefferson (LSU) (P-5)
LB — Aric Burton (uncommitted, offer Eastern Kentucky)
LB — Lanell Carr (Indiana) (P-5)
DB — Mumu Bin-Wahad (UConn)
DB — Jaylon Shelton (uncommitted, offers from Georgia Southern, Abilene Christian and Southern Illinois)
DB — Caleb Coleman (uncommitted)
DB — Tyrin Woodby (uncommitted, offer from UNC Charlotte)
DB — Charles Woods (SMU)
QB — J.T. Daniels (Rice)
QB — Will Crowder (Arkansas State)
RB — Tony Mathis (Houston) (P-5)
TE — Mike O’Laughlin (Houston) (P-5)
WR — Kaden Prather (Maryland) (P-5)
WR — Reese Smith (Liberty)
OL — Chris Mayo (Eastern Michigan)
OL — Jordan White (Liberty)
6 to Power 5
2 to C-USA
2 to American
1 to Sun Belt
1 to MAC
1 to Independent
4 still uncommitted
DB — Anthony Wilson (GA Southern)
DB — Beanie Bishop (Minnesota) (P-5)
- DB — Montre Miller (Kent State)
- DB — Keyshawn Cobb (Buffalo)
DL — Fatorma Mulboh (Penn State) (P-5)
DL — Tomiwa Durojaiye (Kentucky) (P-5)
- DL — Davion Hawkins (Tennessee State, FCS)
DL — Tyrin Bradley (Abilene Christian, FCS)
- WR — Ja’Shaun Poke (Kent State)
- WR — Devin Carter (N.C. State) (P-5)
WR — E.J. Horton (Marshall)
WR — Noah Massey (Angelo State, D-II)
TE — Kole Taylor (LSU)
5 from Power 5
3 from MAC
3 from Sun Belt
2 from FCS
1 From D-II
7 enrolled in January
7 enrolling this summer