The transfer portal has been a bonanza for UH in 2021

Deontay Anderson returns a fumble against ECU / Photo by Mario Puente


 
On Sunday afternoon, freshman quarterback Maddox Kopp announced his intention to transfer out of the UH program.

Kopp is the third QB in as many seasons to transfer out of the program – D’Eriq King famously announced he was entering the portal during the national title game in January 2020, ending up at Miami. In addition, Logan Holgorsen announced he was in the portal but now works as a student assistant for UH football.

Kopp was a three-star out of St. Thomas and considered Dana Holgorsen’s most significant recruiting coup before Alton McCaskill. Kopp enrolled at UH in January to participate in spring drills but had not played a snap this season.

Kopp’s announcement came a day after UH clinched a spot in the AAC Championship game but was likely decided before the trip to Temple. Is it possible that Kopp kept it quiet until Sunday to not distract from his teammates at Temple? Kopp does not appear in the UH student directory currently, and he is not on the football roster.

The portal has helped the Cougars

There’s no question about it: UH has been a portal winner. Of course, it was a blow to lose King and Jarrid Williams, who left to play with King in Miami. Likewise, some might consider Keith Corbin a loss when he left last year to go to Jackson State to play for Deion Sanders. But in all, the portal has been a net positive for the Cougars.

The 2021 UH team has 18 transfers from FBS schools, with 12 seeing significant playing time. Of those twelve, 11 have combined to make 71 starts this season. To compare, players that have transferred out of UH have made 13 starts in FBS this season (10 are by Jarrid Williams at RT for Miami, three by King before a season-ending injury).

The dozen FBS transfers that have made a significant impact on the 9-1 season:

– Marcus Jones has touchdowns receiving, in punt return, and kickoff return. He also has 3 INTs and five pass breakups on defense.
– Bubba Baxa has 38 touchbacks in 56 kickoffs and is in the top-25 in total touchbacks nationally.
– Deontay Anderson has 38 tackles, a TFL, two breakups, a QB hurry, and a fumble recovery.
– KeSean Carter had 26 catches this year and was becoming a major factor before a season-ending injury at USF.
– Ta’Zhawn Henry, a transfer from Texas Tech, does not have any starts but has run for almost 400 yards, has six touchdowns, and set a school record in Tampa with a 97-yard run.
– Seth Green has one start but three touchdowns this year.
– Alex Hogan had a 91-yard INT for a TD against Rice, another INT, and four pass breakups.
– Latrell Bankston has had five starts at NG with four sacks and two QB hurries.
– Kody Russey has started every game at center and has graded out as UH’s best OL.
– Tank Jenkins has started all ten games at right guard.
– Jake Herslow has earned his way into the receiver rotation and has started the last two weeks. He has 20 catches and two touchdowns and plays a ton on special teams.
– Hasaan Hypolite has eight starts with 29 tackles, two TFL, and an INT.

There are some drawbacks when a program depends on the portal but that’s an entire article by itself. As for the 2021 season, the portal has been a blessing for Houston overall.

Since Holgorsen has been here, UH lost some highly-regarded recruits that washed out before making a difference. Most famous is Eyabi Anoma, the 5-star Alabama transfer that had run-ins with UH staff numerous times before being booted from the program. He never played a down. High three-star Bryson Jackson came from TCU but did not stay long enough to play in a game. And four-star A&M transfer Jordan Moore played some on special teams at UH but struggled to live up to his hype. Anoma has six sacks for UT-Martin, Jackson has ten catches at UNT this season after some time at Blinn, while the Presbyterian Blue Hose just offered Moore last month.

Most UH players that enter the transfer portal find themselves in Moore’s shoes, struggling to find a home. While some have chosen the FCS route, most others did not find a new school for one reason or another. Hopefully, Kopp can go somewhere and contribute.

Freshmen QBs transfer as much as any other group in college football. Losing Kopp is not ideal, but better to find out early on that it’s not working out rather than a time where he’s competing for the starting job. With Kopp gone, UH likely needs to find another QB before 2022.

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