College football transfer portal grades: 3 under-the-radar winners of the January window

Oklahoma football coach Brent Venables. (Syndication: The Oklahoman)
Oklahoma football coach Brent Venables. (Syndication: The Oklahoman) /
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Dominic Lovett, Georgia
Georgia transfer wide receiver Dominic Lovett. (Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /

Winning the college football transfer portal isn’t just about adding numbers. The under-the-radar winners of January made surgical strikes to get better.

Everyone knows that teams like LSU, Florida State, Auburn, Colorado and USC made out like bandits in the portal.

Those are the Top 5 ranked transfer classes per 247Sports. UCLA, Wisconsin and Michigan have also gotten their share of praise on “Winners and Losers” pieces.

Instead, we’re going to look at the programs that filled needs while flying under the radar.

These five schools picked their spots and made additions that’ll keep them, or put them, in contention:

Under-the-radar winners of the college football transfer portal

Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia had double-digit players enter the transfer portal, so it wasn’t all roses. But the ones that did were largely players searching for more playing time or a bigger role on a less stacked team.

Coming off a national championship, Kirby Smart can withstand a slew of transfers while plugging holes in very deliberate ways. That’s what he’s done.

The Bulldogs lost receivers like AD Mitchell and Dominick Blaylock to the portal. They combined for 361 yards in 2022. They replaced them with two of the top receivers in the portal: Missouri’s Dominic Lovett and Mississippi State’s RaRa Thomas.

Both receivers led their team in yards. Lovett was fifth in receiving yards per game in the SEC last year. Thomas was 14th. The two combined for 1,472 yards and 10 touchdowns. That’s a trade you take as a Bulldogs fan.

Smart was also able to right a recruiting wrong by snagging former Top 100 recruit Smoke Bouie from Texas A&M. The defensive back had been committed to Georgia before signing with the Aggies in 2022. He’s back with the Bulldogs now.