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Oklahoma State One of Hardest Hit Programs by the Transfer Trend

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The Cowboys are in the Top 10 of programs losing players from the 2018 season

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s one of the newest trends in college football and one that doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. The transfer portal — or market or whatever you want to call it — is now just another part of the norm of the sport as players continue to gain more power and control.

While just about every team in the country is seeing players add their names to the transfer pool, some schools have been hit harder than others. That includes Oklahoma State who, with the latest addition of offensive tackle Arlington Hambright, now has a total of eight players who have decided to leave the program or are at least testing the waters.

Player Position New School
John Kolar Quarterback Iowa State
Keondre Wudtee Quarterback
JD King Running Back Georgia Southern
Jalen McCleskey Wide Receiver Tulane
Darrion Daniels Defensive Tackle Nebraska
Patrick Macon Linebacker
Arlington Hambright Offensive Tackle
Thabo Mwaniki Safety Houston

According to 247Sports Transfer Portal

While not all the players listed are guaranteed to leave, it’s unlikely we see any of those not yet committed to another team coming back next season for the Cowboys.

This started for Oklahoma State early in the season when Jalen McCleskey shut himself down and decided to transfer just four games in. Especially with the number of seniors who graduated and players leaving early for the NFL, it puts a lot of pressure on the coaching staff to get younger guys ready to contribute early.

Those eight transfers also put Oklahoma State in some not-so-great company; among the top 10 teams in FBS in terms of number of players transferring out of the program.

School Transfers Out
Penn State 13
Virginia Tech 12
Arkansas 11
UCLA 9
Oklahoma State 8
Texas 8
Illinois 8
Arizona 8
South Carolina 7
USC* 7

*Does not include 2019 enrollee Bru McCoy who has flipped to Texas.

Oklahoma State’s eight ties them for fifth with Texas, Illinois, and Arizona.

Overall it’s some interesting company in the top 10. A Penn State team that everyone still has high expectations for, a Virginia Tech team whose head coach is on shaky ground, a USC program whose coach’s seat is on fire, and Texas who is on the rise.

The biggest takeaway to me is this; this is the new norm for college football and one that affects every team. Each player has a different reason for why they leave.

For guys like Keondre Wudtee — who said he wants to go closer to home due to a family medical situation — and John Kolar, they were buried on the depth chart with no realistic shot at seeing the field much moving forward.

Similarly, it looked like Mwaniki had been passed by other players. In a press conference after Mwaniki announced his decision, Gundy said that the sophomore safety was leaving to find more playing time.

“Doing the basic math, it’ll give him a better chance to play somewhere else with the young guys that are in the program.”

Not to knock the guys leaving, but that means that the Cowboys have more talented guys pushing for playing time, not that the Cowboys have a problem.

Guys like Darrion Daniels and McCleskey? One went to play with his brother, the other with his Dad. That’s really no different than a kid transferring closer to home to be nearer family. Again, that’s not necessarily on OSU.

While seeing a large number of transfers from a team can be a sign that a program or it’s culture are in trouble, it can also just be smoke. For OSU, if you break it down, it looks more like the later than the former. Yes, the losses will have an impact on the team and its production next season, but I don’t believe it’s a sign of major internal issues.