Samford Football loses and gains starters for multiple positions
On April 28, 2021, the college athletics landscape changed forever due to the introduction of the “one-time transfer rule.” This new rule has allowed student athletes to transfer one time during their career and play immediately upon their transfer.
This ruling not only made transferring to a new program easier, but it also made the process immediate. This ruling has already had an effect on both large, medium and smaller programs across both FBS and FCS schools.
Though this rule affects all NCAA sports, the most notable impact has been seen on the gridiron.
Samford Football has already been doused in the waves of change brought about by the one-time transfer rule — both positively and negatively.
The Bulldogs lost some key pieces on their roster during and after the 2021 season. Players that would likely have started in the 2022 season on both sides of the ball left Samford for another program.
Cornerback Jordan Oladokun transferred from Samford to Bowling Green. Oladokun, a three-star recruit in highschool, was considered by many to be head coach Chris Hatcher’s biggest recruiting grab of his career. Though Oladokun was not starting last season, he could have developed into a very impactful defensive piece.
Junior Safety Chris Edmonds was another impact defensive back that transferred away from the Bulldogs to Arizona State. Edmonds led the team with three interceptions in 2021. His experience and athletic ability could have been a cornerstone defensive element in 2022.
On offense, tight end Michael Vice transferred to Troy after the 2021 season. Vice had the second-most receptions (44) and receiving touchdowns (4) for Samford last season. With Montrell Washington’s departure, Vice would have likely seen even more passes in 2022.
Other notable transfers who left Samford include WR Trimarcus Cheeks (University of Houston), DL Justin Hayes (Undecided), RB Demarcus Ware (Undecided) and WR AJ Toney (Undecided).
But as the portal taketh, the portal giveth.
Chris Hatcher was able to sign some heavy-hitting impact players from the transfer portal. These transfers were much needed after the portal took a considerable amount of returning talent from Hatcher’s arsenal.
Safety Emmanuel Flowers signed with Samford on Feb. 3 after four seasons with Michigan State. The battle-tested Flowers could be an excellent replacement for Edmonds at the safety position.
Quarterback Nik Scalzo is now a Bulldog after three seasons with the University of Kentucky. The former three-star recruit with SEC experience could possibly be Liam Welch’s replacement this fall.
Cornerback Trey Elston will be moving two hours west from Auburn University to Samford. Elston played six games for Auburn last season and will add some much-needed experience to Hatcher’s secondary.
Other notable transfers that could have an immediate impact for the Bulldogs include WR DJ Rias (University of Alabama), RB Jaylan Thomas (Elon University), OL Cameron Orr (Elon) and DB Khalid Thomas (Harvard University).
According to Sam Herder of Hero Sports, as of Feb. 4, only five FCS programs in the country have signed more FBS transfers than Samford has. They have currently signed nine transfers that previously played at FBS schools.
Though the transfer portal took away some of Hatcher’s top talent from 2021, he was able to add some talented and experienced players to the roster. It will be very interesting to see how these FBS talents will translate to the Southern Conference in August.