College football’s regular migration typically takes place twice a year, and it is facilitated in many different ways.
Whenever and however they do it, a few players inevitably will transfer from most NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
Most of those look for new homes — primarily in the Football Championship Subdivision, where they can play right away — after a season or following spring practice.
Their reasons for transferring vary, but usually the bottom line is playing time. Once a player announces his decision to transfer, word spreads fast in the coaching community.
There is no waiver wire like there is in the NFL, but there might as well be.
“It happens all kinds of different ways,” Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken said of how schools are alerted to players interested in transferring to their programs.
Some players call around to schools themselves. Some get help from coaches at their current institution, if it’s an amicable parting. Often players’ high school coaches reach out to potential new suitors.
When University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offensive lineman Kevin Revis decided to leave the Tennessee Volunteers this spring, he contacted the Mocs through his old coach at Rhea County High School, Jason Fitzgerald.
“I’d always followed UTC, so when [I decided to transfer] my coach, Coach Fitzgerald, talked to [UTC coaches] some and then I got their number and called down,” Revis said.
No school can begin recruiting a transfer until the player has been granted a release from his former school. That’s typically a formality, and then the player usually gets recruited again, just like he did coming out of high school.
Mocs tight end Sean Stackhouse transferred from Kentucky in January. He said he got a good feeling about UTC from Wildcats offensive coordinator Randy Sanders, a friend of UTC assistant coaches Marcus Satterfield and Geep Wade.
Stackhouse and his mother put together an email and sent it out to prospective schools, including UTC, and soon after that he visited Chattanooga and signed with the Mocs.
“When you’ve got two and a half years [of college] under your belt, you know what to look for,” Stackhouse said.
Revis said it was “really weird” being recruited again.
“I definitely knew what to expect and some of the schools were trying to pull the same old recruiting stuff, but I’d been through it before and Chattanooga’s straight up and honest with everything,” he said.
Revis explained that many schools showed off the “glitz and glamour” of the program but didn’t get into anything of substance.
Mocs coach Russ Huesman has strict standards when it comes to transfers. A player with off-the-field issues won’t even get a chance to visit UTC. For every transfer that UTC signs, Huesman said, “we turn down 10.”
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...