Forget the high school crush; transfer portal plays huge role in recruiting


When news broke Sunday that Brooklyn, N.Y., running back recruit Lamy Constant rescinded his verbal commitment to West Virginia and decided to reopen his recruitment, many in Mountaineer Nation were apoplectic.

The reaction was, to say the least, overblown. Here’s a tip: High school kids can be flaky. Shocking, I know. Reading the reaction, it was amazing that the same fan base that was a few weeks ago dreaming about what Constant would do in WVU coach Neal Brown’s offense suddenly became convinced that the four-star back’s fate is now to fade into oblivion.

What college football fans lack in rationality they make up for in passion.

Here’s another tip: the high school recruiting scene is less important than it’s ever been. If you’re looking for the newcomer who will make the biggest impact on the program, close Rivals and open the transfer portal.

High school recruits are still important. They still make up the majority of players in a program. But in the modern game, players who stared at a different school can be as important – often more – than those recruited as prep teenagers.

Three of the four starting quarterbacks in the College Football Playoff field started their careers with schools other than the ones they’re leading now. LSU’s Joe Burrow went to Ohio State out of high school. Ohio State’s Justin Fields (Georgia) and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts (Alabama) also look to win a national title at colleges whose hats they didn’t don on national signing day.

West Virginia is no stranger to mining players who fled other programs. The last quarterback who went to WVU out of high school to lead the Mountaineers in passing was recruited by Bill Stewart (Geno Smith 2012). With either Bowling Green transfer Jarret Doege or Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall expected to be the starter in 2020 and 2021, it could be a full decade – at least – without WVU’s starting quarterback being a WVU recruit.

Trey Lowe had West Virginia fans excited upon choosing the Mountaineers as a dual-threat quarterback as a high school recruit in Tennessee. But after two years, it’s possible – it not likely – that the extent of Lowe’s contribution will be a few inconsequential snaps in the 2018 Camping World Bowl

Earlier this year, Tallahassee, FL, prep quarterback Garrett Greene announced his commitment to WVU. Excited fans began planning how and when this dual-threat QB would take over the Mountaineers (sound familiar?).

Greene might snap the streak of transfer quarterbacks leading the Mountaineers. But it’s just as likely – maybe more so – that Doege’s or Kendall’s successor currently resides in a campus other than Morgantown.

Constant may come back around and decide to attend West Virginia. He may not.

Either way, the Mountaineers will survive.