Big Ten football transfers: Northwestern QB Ryan Hilinski leads newcomers set to make an impact in 2021 season
About ten years ago, if someone put the words “transfer portal” together in one sentence, you would probably have assumed they were talking about Nic Cage’s last terrible movie about Time Travel to Save Benjamin. Franklin being eaten by a dinosaur (that’s actually the plot of the upcoming “Fast and Furious” movie) because that’s how silly those words sound when put together. Now those words have become one of the most important aspects of running a college football program.
We see more and more players entering their names on the portal and changing schools every year. It’s a development that has sparked a lot of debate about what’s good and bad for the game, but whatever you think of it, the point is that transfers have a major impact on teams every season – both. from the perspective of lost players and brought players.
So it makes sense to research which transfers are likely to have the biggest impacts on their new teams in 2021, and today I’m here to tell you about five players who are now calling the Big Ten home who are expected to become. household names throughout the Midwest this fall.
Hilinksi is the latest addition Northwestern has made to QB since Clayton Thorson left for 15 years (it might have been less). The Wildcats are hoping Hilinski will have a bigger impact than Hunter Johnson when he joined Clemson. A former four-star California rookie, Hilinski arrives at Northwestern from South Carolina. He has played 13 games with the Gamecocks over the past two seasons, completing 58.3% of his passes with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Michigan State was 13th in the Big Ten for rushing yards per game last season, and his 2.68 yards per carry was not only the worst in the conference, but ranked 124th nationally. So it’s no shock that the Spartans have looked for improvements this offseason, and they’re hoping Walker will be one. Walker racked up 579 yards and 13 touchdowns with Wake Forest last season and leaves Winston-Salem with 1,158 rushing yards and 17 total touchdowns.
Williams was ranked among the Top 50 Players in Class of 2017 by 247Sports, but his career at Florida State never lived up to expectations. In three seasons – Matthews retired from the 2020 season – he caught 84 passes for 809 yards with five touchdowns while contributing as a special team returner. Now that he’s in Bloomington, the Hoosiers are hopeful Matthews can fill the void left by Whop Philyor. Philyor caught 54 passes for 495 yards and three touchdowns in eight games last season, and Matthews is nominated to take his place in the roster alongside Ty Fryfogle and Miles Marshall.
I could argue that the biggest transfer to Lincoln is the transfer of Wan’Dale Robinson to Kentucky, but when it comes to incoming players, Toure could help Huskers fans get over the loss of Robinson quickly. Toure is a big target at 6-3 and comes from Nebraska from Montana in the FCS, where he caught 87 passes last season for a school record of 1,495 receiving yards. He should be working out of the slot and could easily end the season as Nebraska’s main receiver.
This one flew a bit under the radar because Ebiketie isn’t a skill position player on offense, and they tend to get the most attention. Still, Ebiketie is a known commodity to every offensive lineman who has faced him in the AAC. The defensive end was named the All-AAC second team last year after finishing with 42 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks and three forced fumbles with Temple. Now he’s making the trip west to Penn State, where the Nittany Lions are hoping he can add to a passing rush that has lost some crucial games to Odafe Oweh and Shaka Toney.