College football bowl games 2023: Opt-outs, transfer portal, and coaching changes

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College football bowl game opt-outs, transfer portal

College football free agency has completely changed the landscape when it comes to bowl season. Thousands of players hit the transfer portal looking for a fresh start or a better opportunity, especially when it comes to trying to make it to the NFL. Opt-outs for the NFL Draft have been a regular occurrence for a while, but the transfer portal is a relatively new thing that impacts a lot of teams, especially the Group of Five schools good enough to make it to a bowl game.

 

The news cycle can be hard to follow, which is why we’ve put together a list of some of the most notable transfers, opt-outs, and coaching changes for the 41 bowl games during the 2023-24 bowl season.

Keep in mind, players in the transfer portal CAN play in bowl games, but not all of them will and some have already committed to new schools.

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For bowl previews and predictions, click here.

Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl
UTSA vs. Marshall
December 19

UTSA:

Transfer portal:

EDGE Trey Moore (45 tkl, 14 sk, 3 pd, 1 INT – T3 in nation for sacks)

Marshall:

Transfer portal:

QB Cam Fancher (65.6%, 2,162 yds, 11 TD, 11 INT – had 11 of 12 pass TD (WR had other), 308/391 pass att)
OL Trent Holler

Roofclaim.com Boca Raton Bowl
USF vs. Syracuse
December 21

USF:

No significant players. (Keep an eye on QB Byrum Brown in transfer portal)

Syracuse:

Transfer portal:

EDGE Leon Lowery Jr. (46 tkl, 3.5 sk, 1 pd)

Dino Babers was fired earlier this season, replaced by Nunzio Campanile.

Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl
Georgia Tech vs. UCF
December 22

Georgia Tech:

Transfer portal:

EDGE Kyle Kennard (53 tkl, 6 sk, 1 INT, 2 FR – led team in sacks; nobody had more than 2.5)
CB Kenan Johnson (29 tkl, 3 pd, 1 INT, 1 FR)

UCF:

Transfer portal:

CB Corey Thornton (27 tkl, 9 pd, 3 INT – led team in passes defended, tied for most INT)

76 Birmingham Bowl
Troy vs. Duke
December 23

Troy:

Transfer portal:

LB Jayden McDonald (75 tkl, 1 sk, 1 pd – led team in tackles) 

Head coach Jon Sumrall has been hired at Tulane; DC Greg Gasparato will be the interim.

Duke:

Transfer portal:

QB Riley Leonard (57.6%, 1,102 yds, 3/3 TD/INT; 58 car, 352 yds, 4 TD)
RB Jordan Waters (142 car, 753 yds, 12 TD – all led team)
EDGE R.J. Oben (17 tkl, 5 sk – led team in sk)
DT Aeneas Peebles (40 tkl, 4 sk, 2 pd, 1 FR)
LB Dorian Mausi (61 tkl, 0.5 sk, 2 pd, 1 INT)
DB Brandon Johnson (56 tkl, 2 sk, 4 pd)
S Jaylen Stinson (82 tkl, 1 sk, 5 pd, 1 INT – led team in passes defended; second in tkl)

Mike Elko now head coach at Texas A&M. Associate head coach Trooper Taylor will be the inteirm.

Camellia Bowl
Arkansas State vs. Northern Illinois
December 23

Arkansas State:

Transfer portal:

LB Javante Mackey (84 tkl, 2 sk – second in tkl)

Northern Illinois:

Transfer portal:

WR Trayon Rudolph (46 rec, 499 yds, 2 TD – led team in rec & rec yds) (withdrew from portal)
C Pete Nygra
DE George Gumbs (34 tkl, 3.5 sk)

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
James Madison vs. Air Force
December 23

James Madison:

All players in portal, including QB Jordan McCloud, expected to play.

Curt Cignetti now head coach at Indiana

Air Force:

RB John Lee Eldridge (76 car, 521 yds, 6 TD)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Georgia State vs. Utah State
December 23

Georgia State:

Transfer portal:

RB Marcus Carroll (274 car, 1,350 yds, 13 TD; 23 rec, 234 yds – seventh in nation in rush yds)
WR Robert Lewis (70 rec, 877 yds, 7 TD – all led team)
RT Montavious Cunningham
CB Bryquice Brown (34 tkl, 6 pd, 1 INT – led team in passes defended)

Utah State:

S Devin Dye (81 tkl, 7 pd, 2 INT, 1 FR – led team in passes defended)

68 Ventures Bowl
South Alabama vs. Eastern Michigan
December 23

South Alabama:

Transfer portal:

WR Caullin Lacy (91 rec, 1,136 yds, 7 TD – all led team; fifth in nation in rec, sixth in rec yards)

Opt-out:

RB La’Damian Webb (186 car, 1,007 yds, 16 TD – all led team)

Eastern Michigan:

Transfer portal:

QB Austin Smith (57.4%, 1,775 yds, 9/7 TD/INT; 101 car, 134 yds, 2 TD
OG Zack Conti
EDGE Mikah Coleman (39 tkl, 4 sk, 1 pd – led team in sk)

SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl
Utah vs. Northwestern
December 23

Utah:

Transfer portal:

QB Nate Johnson (54.2%, 499 yds, 3/0 TD/INT; 59 car, 235 yds, 4 TD – tied for team lead in rush TD)
WR Mikey Matthews (29 rec, 261 yds)
CB JaTravis Broughton (36 tkl, 2 pd)

Opt-out:

WR Devaughn Vele (43 rec, 593 yds, 3 TD – all led team/tied for lead)

Northwestern:

Transfer portal:

OG Josh Priebe

EasyPost Hawaii Bowl
Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State
December 23

Coastal Carolina:

Transfer portal:

QB Grayson McCall (67.4%, 1,919 yds, 10/6 TD/INT – hasn’t played since 10/21)
QB Jarrett Guest (72.1%, 696 yds, 7/2 TD/INT)
WR Jared Brown (58 rec, 740 yds, 4 TD – all second/tied for second on team)
RB CJ Beasley (68 car, 262 yds, 2 TD)
LB JT Killen (65 tkl, 2 pd, 1 INT, 1 TD – second in tkl)

San Jose State:

Transfer portal:

TE Dominick Mazotti (23 rec, 322 yds, 2 TD)
LT Fernando Carmona

Quick Lane Bowl
Bowling Green vs. Minnesota
December 26

Bowling Green:

Transfer portal:

RB Ta’Ron Keith (66 car, 390 yds, 4 TD; 44 rec, 457 yds, 3 TD – led team in rec)
CB Jalen Huskey (52 tkl, 6 pd, 4 INT, 1 FR – third in tackles, tied for lead in INT)

Minnesota:

Transfer portal:

QB Athan Kaliakmanis (53.1%, 1,838 yds, 14/9 TD/INT – only QB to complete a pass)

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Texas State vs. Rice
December 26

Texas State:

No significant players.

Rice:

QB JT Daniels medically retired.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Kansas vs. UNLV
December 26

Kansas:

Transfer portal:

OT Bryce Cabeldue
OG Michael Ford Jr.

Offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki left (Penn State)

UNLV:

Transfer portal:

S Cameren Jenkins (32 tkl, 2 pd – could be down two S as Jett Elad missed the MWC Title Game)

Military Bowl presented by GoBowling.com
Virginia Tech vs. Tulane
December 27

Virginia Tech:

Transfer portal:

TE Dae’Quan Wright (28 re, 366 yds, 0 TD – third in rec & rec yards)
CB Derrick Canteen (42 tkl, 5 pd, 1 INT) (will play in bowl game)

Tulane:

Transfer portal:

WR Chris Brazzell II (44 rec, 711 yds, 5 TD – first in rec & rec yds, T-2nd in TD)
TE Alex Bauman (33 rec, 273 yds, 5 TD – T-2nd in rec, T-2nd in TD)
DB DJ Douglas (54 tkl, 2 pd, 3 INT)
DL Devean Deal (40 tkl, 4 sk, 2 pd, 1 INT, 1 FR)
DL Keith Cooper Jr. (30 tkl, 5 sk, 2 pd)

Willie Fritz is now the head coach at Houston. Most assistants will stay and coach the bowl game.

Duke’s Mayo Bowl
North Carolina vs. West Virginia
December 27

North Carolina:

Opt-out:

QB Drake Maye (63.3%, 3,608 yds, 24 TD; 112 car, 449 yds, 9 TD – second on team in all rushing categories)
WR Tez Walker (41 rec, 699 yds, 7 TD – all led team)
C Corey Gaynor
LB Cedric Gray (121 tkl, 5 sk, 4 pd, 1 INT, 2 FR – led team in tkls by 30)

West Virginia:

Transfer portal:

C Zach Frazier had surgery and will miss the bowl game.
DL Mike Lockhart (21 tkl, 2.5 sk – T-2nd in sacks)
S Hershey McLaurin (44 tkl, 0.5 sk, 3 pd)

DIRECTV Holiday Bowl
Louisville vs. USC
December 27

Louisville:

Transfer portal:

RB Jawhar Jordan (181 car, 1,128 yds, 13 TD; 21 rec, 246 yds, 1 TD – led team in carries, rush yards & rush TD)
WR Jamari Thrash (63 rec, 858 yds, 6 TD – led team in rec, rec yards, rec TD)
EDGE Kameron Wilson (14 tkl, 2 sk)

USC:

Opt-out:

QB Caleb Williams (68.6%, 3,633 yds, 30/5 TD/INT ratio)
RB MarShawn Lloyd (116 car, 820 yds, 9 TD – led team in carries, rush yds)
WR Brenden Rice (45 rec, 791 yds, 12 TD – led team in rec TD by 6)
CB Domani Jackson (32 tkl, 3 pd)

TaxAct Texas Bowl
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State
December 27

Texas A&M:

Transfer portal:

QB Max Johnson (62.1%, 1,452 yds, 9/5 TD/INT; backup Conner Weigman OFY)
WR Evan Stewart (38 rec, 514 yds, 4 TD – all second on team)
TE Jake Johnson (27 rec, 235 yds, 4 TD)
OL Chase Bisontis (withdrew from portal)
DL Walter Nolen (37 tkl, 4 sk, 1 pd)
EDGE Fadil Diggs (36 tkl, 4 sk, 2 pd)
CB Bryce Anderson (47 tkl, 1.5 sk, 4 pd, 1 INT, 1 FR)
CB Tyreek Chappell (21 tkl, 6 pd, 1 INT)
CB Deuce Harmon (18 tkl, 7 pd)

Opt-out:

WR Ainias Smith (53 rec, 795 yds, 2 TD – led team in rec & rec yds)
OG Layden Robinson
DT McKinley Jackson (27 tkl, 3 sk)
LB Edgerrin Cooper (83 tkl, 8 sk, 2pd, 1 FR – both led team)

Jimbo Fisher was fired and DC Elijah Robinson (hired by Syracuse) will coach the bowl. 

Oklahoma State:

Transfer portal:

WR Jaden Bray (30 rec, 382 yds, 2 TD)

Wasabi Fenway Bowl
SMU vs. Boston College
December 28

SMU:

No significant players. QB Preston Stone is OFY.

Boston College:

No significant players that hadn’t missed time anyway.

Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl
Rutgers vs. Miami (FL)
December 28

Rutgers:

Transfer portal:

OT Kamar Missouri

Opt-out:

CB Max Melton (32 tkl, 1 sk, 6 pd, 3 INT, 1 FR)

Miami (FL):

Transfer portal:

QB Tyler Van Dyke (65.8%, 2,703 yds, 19/12 TD/INT) – backup QB Emory Williams is OFY
WR Colbie Young (47 rec, 563 yds, 5 TD)
EDGE Jahfari Harvey (23 tkl, 1 sk, 1 pd)
LB Corey Flagg Jr. (48 tkl)

Opt-out:

S James Williams (73 tkl, 4 pd, 1 INT, 1 FR – led team in tkls)
S Kamren Kinchens (59 tkl, 1 sk, 5 pd, 5 INT, 1 FR, 1 TD)
DT Leonard Taylor (20 tkl, 1 sk)

Pop-Tarts Bowl
NC State vs. Kansas State
December 28

NC State:

Transfer portal:

QB MJ Morris (55.8%, 719 yds, 7/5 TD/INT)
WR Terrell Timmons Jr. (11 rec, 195 yds)
WR Porter Rooks (13 rec, 166 yds)
OL Lyndon Cooper
DL CJ Clark (22 tkl, 1 sk)

Kansas State:

Transfer portal:

QB Will Howard (61.3%, 2,643 yds, 24/10 TD/INT; 81 car, 351 yds, 9 TD)
RB Treshaun Ward (124 car, 643 yds, 5 TD)
EDGE Nate Matlack (15 tkl, 4 sk, 1 pd)
CB Will Lee (42 tkl, 6 pd, 2 INT, 1 FR)
S Kobe Savage (57 tkl, 3 INT)

Opt-out:

WR Phillip Brooks (53 rec, 589 yds, 5 TD – led team in rec)
TE Ben Sinnott (49 rec, 676 yds, 6 TD – led team in rec yds & rec TD)

OC Collin Klein is the new OC at Texas A&M.

Valero Alamo Bowl
Arizona vs. Oklahoma
December 28

Arizona:

Opt-out:

LT Jordan Morgan

Oklahoma:

Transfer portal:

QB Dillon Gabriel (69.3%, 3,660 yds, 30/6 TD/INT; 93 car, 373 yds, 12 TD – led team in rush TD)
RB Tawee Walker (95 car, 496 yds, 7 TD)
OG Cayden Green
CB Key Lawrence (44 tkl, 3 pd, 2 INT)

Opt-out:

OT Tyler Guyton
C Andrew Raym

OC Jeff Lebby now head coach at Mississippi State.

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
Clemson vs. Kentucky
December 29

Clemson:

Transfer portal:

WR Beaux Collins (38 rec, 510 yds, 3 TD)
S Andrew Mukuba (32 tkl, 6 pd)

Opt-out:

LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (87 tkl, 5.5 sk, 5 pd, 2 INT, 1 TD – led team in tkls and sacks)
CB Nate Wiggins (28 tkl, 1 sk, 6 pd, 2 INT, 1 TD)
DL Ruke Orhorhoro (25 tkl, 5 sk, 1 pd)

Kentucky:

Transfer portal:

EDGE Keaten Wade (36 tkl, 1 sk)

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
Oregon State vs. Notre Dame
December 29

Oregon State:

Transfer portal:

QB DJ Uiagalelei (57.1%, 2,638 yds, 21/7 TD/INT; 68 car, 219 yds, 6 TD)
TE Jack Veiling (29 rec, 438 yds, 8 TD – led team in rec TD)
LB Easton Mascarenas-Arnold (106 tkl, 2 sk, 2 INT – led team in tkls)
S Akili Arnold (62 tkl, 0.5 sk, 6 pd, 2 INT, 1 FR – tied for second in tkls)
K Atticus Sappington (13/14 FG)

Opt-out:

WR Anthony Gould (44 rec, 718 yds, 2 TD – tied for team lead in rec yds)
RT Taliese Fuaga

Suspension:

RB Damien Martinez (194 car, 1,185 yds, 9 TD – out after DUI arrest)

Head coach Jonathan Smith is now at Michigan State. Passing game coordinator Kefense Hynson will be interim HC.

Notre Dame:

Transfer portal:

Top three WR (Chris Tyree, Rico Flores Jr., Tobias Merriweather)
TE Mitchell Evans (most rec) OFY
TE Holden Staes (15 rec, 176 yds, 4 TD – second in rec TD)
C Zeke Correll
EDGE Nana Osafo-Mensah (20 tkl, 3 sk)

Opt-outs:

QB Sam Hartman (63.5%, 2,689 yds, 24 TD; 45 car, 123 yds, 3 TD)
RB Audric Estime (210 car, 1,341 yds, 18 TD; 17 rec, 142 yds – led team in carries, yards; had 18/26 rush TD)
LB Marist Liufau (44 tkl, 3 sk, 1 pd)
OT Joe Alt
OT Blake Fisher
CB Cam Hart (21 tkl, 4 pd, 1 FR)

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Memphis vs. Iowa State
December 29

Memphis:

Transfer portal:

RG Davion Carter
LT Makylan Pounders

Iowa State:

Transfer portal:

RB Eli Sanders (102 car, 477 yds, 4 TD – led team in carries)
RB Cartevious Norton (87 car, 343 yds, 3 TD – second in carries)

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
Missouri vs. Ohio State
December 29

Missouri:

No significant players.

Ohio State:

Transfer portal:

QB Kyle McCord (65.8%, 3,170 yds, 24/6 TD/INT)
WR Julian Fleming (26 rec, 270 yds, 0 TD)

Numerous opt-outs possible, including WRs Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, TE Cade Stover, CB Denzel Burke, entire starting defensive line.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Ole Miss vs. Penn State
December 30

Ole Miss:

No significant players.

Penn State:

Opt-out:

TE Theo Johnson (32 rec, 325 yds, 6 TD – all second on team)
EDGE Chop Robinson (15 tkl, 4 sk, 1 pd)

Keep an eye on OT Olu Fashanu and CB Kalen King.

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is now head coach at Duke.

TransPerfect Music City Bowl
Auburn vs. Maryland
December 30

Auburn:

No significant players.

Maryland:

Transfer portal:

TE Corey Dyches (49 rec, 491 yds, 2 TD – second on team in rec)
LB Jaishawn Barham (37 tkl, 3 sk, 1 pd, 1 INT)

Opt-out:

QB Taulia Tagovailoa (66.4%, 3,377 yds, 25/11 TD/INT – other QB combined for 13 pass att)
CB Tarheeb Still (45 tkl, 2 pd, 5 INT – led team in INT)

Capital One Orange Bowl
Georgia vs. Florida State
December 30

Georgia:

Transfer portal:

Backup QB Brock Vandagriff
LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson (34 tkl, 3.5 sk, 2 pd)

Numerous potential opt-outs to monitor.

Florida State:

Transfer portal:

OT Bless Harris

Opt-out:

RB Trey Benson (156 car, 905 yds, 14 TD – led team in all categories)
WR Johnny Wilson (41 rec, 617 yds, 2 TD)
TE Jaheim Bell (39 rec, 503 yds, 2 TD)
EDGE Jared Verse (41 tkl, 9 sk, 2 pd – led team in sacks)
DL Fabien Lovett (22 tkl, 1 sk, 3 pd)

Numerous opt-outs to watch.

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl
Toledo vs. Wyoming
December 30

Toledo:

Transfer portal:

QB Dequan Finn (63.4%, 2,657 yds, 22/9 TD/INT; 123 car, 563 yds, 7 TD)
OG Vinny Scuiry

Wyoming:

Transfer portal:

CB Kolbey Taylor (29 tkl, 7 pd)

Head coach Craig Bohl will retire after the game.

ReliaQuest Bowl
Wisconsin vs. LSU
January 1

Wisconsin:

Transfer portal:

WR Chimeke Dike (19 rec, 328 yds, 1 TD)
WR Skyler Bell (38 rec, 296 yds, 1 TD)
OL Trey Wedig
LB Jordan Turner (61 tkl, 3 sk, 2 pd)

Opt-out:

RB Braelon Allen (181 car, 984 yds, 12 TD)
C Tanor Bortolini
CB Jason Maitre (33 tkl, 3 pd, 1 INT)

LSU:

QB Jayden Daniels (72.2%, 3,812 yds, 40/4 TD/INT ratio; 135 car, 1,134 yds, 10 TD – led team in all categories; won Heisman Trophy)

Vrbo Fiesta Bowl
Liberty vs. Oregon
January 1

Liberty:

Transfer portal:

Backup QB Johnathan Bennett

Oregon:

Opt-outs:

RB Bucky Irving (172 car, 1,063 yds, 10 TD; 53 rec, 395 yds, 2 TD – led team in carries & rush yds, third in receptions)
C Jackson Powers-Johnson

Numerous potential opt-outs – QB Bo Nix, WRs Troy Franklin and Tez Johnson, RT Ajani Cornelius, DB Tysheem Johnson.

Cheez-It Citrus Bowl
Iowa vs. Tennessee
January 1

Iowa:

Transfer portal:

WR Diante Vines (12 rec, 134 yds, 1 TD)

Tennessee:

Transfer portal:

DE Tyler Baron (28 tkl, 6 sk, 2 pd, 1 FR, 1 TD)
S Tamarion McDonald (40 tkl, 1 sk, 4 pd, 1 INT)

Opt-out:

RB Jaylen Wright (137 car, 1,013 yds, 4 TD – led team in carries, rush yards)

CFP Semifinal – Rose Bowl
Alabama vs. Michigan
January 1

Alabama:

No significant players.

Michigan:

No significant players.

CFP Semifinal – Sugar Bowl
Texas vs. Washington
January 1

Texas:

No significant players.

Washington:

No significant players.