The NCAA transfer portal and the one-time transfer exception have fundamentally changed college sports — a roster hole for top teams rarely remains for long before it gets filled by an elite transfer. Most of the top programs in college football and basketball have utilized the portal to great effect, although the increase in transfers over the past few years has drawn scrutiny from all sides. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher openly said Thursday that he believes tampering is rampant, seemingly implying that various parties contact players before they have entered the portal and encourage them to do enter.
“I think there is a lot of tampering that goes on within the portal," Fisher said on the Paul Finebaum Show. "It’s funny, when a guy gets in the portal, he already knows where he’s going. A lot of schools have been using that portal extensively. So they’re getting guys like that. I think that’s a big factor that goes on right now in what’s happening, where it’s happening and where you’re going. And now I think, managing your roster — you've got people coming in and you don’t know when guys are leaving. We’ve actually only had one guy this year and one guy last year. We've only had two portal guys in two years. Not saying you won’t ever use it in the (future). I think each situation is different.
"We’ve been recruiting well. But at the same time, you don’t ever know of your own guys, who’s in, who’s out and managing when you think you've got a position with depth and all of a sudden, two guys leave and you’re on the back end of it. It’s hard, it’s new rules and we have to adapt. That’s the short. But there’s a lot of unknown that goes into it. And like you say, I do think there’s a lot of people who stick their nose in, involved in it from outside sources in the portal part of it. And that makes it very tough too, because you’re constantly managing, not only in recruiting and the next group of guys you have, but you’re managing your own roster and making sure that all those things are taken care of.”
As Fisher said, Texas A&M has not used the transfer portal much to bolster its own roster over the last two seasons. The Aggies landed Tennessee transfer offensive tackle Jahmir Johnson last offseason and brought in former LSU quarterback Max Johnson in December, but only taking two transfers in two seasons is extremely low by SEC standards.
Even without using the portal much, for the 2022 class A&M still ranked No. 1 in 247Sports' Overall Team Rankings, a formula that combines high school recruits with transfers. Texas A&M's one-man transfer class is the second-smallest in the SEC, ahead of reigning national champion Georgia.