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Published: May 20, 2015 at 01:30 p.m.

15 for '15: Impact transfers

CFB 24/7 continues its "15 for '15" series with a look at the top transfers for this season.

"Top transfers" is open to interpretation, of course, and here is ours: These are not the 15 most talented transfers, but rather 15 players who will fill key holes and play important roles for their new team. It is a mix of four-year transfers, graduate transfers and junior college transfers.

Transfers can make a huge impact. JC transfer Cam Newton led Auburn to the 2010 national title, and graduate transfer Russell Wilson guided Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl and already has led the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl title.

The top transfer on our list is quarterback who is looking for the same type of success as Wilson. And he's basically the same size, too.

15 Photos Total

  • <b>Background:</b> From Iowa to Michigan<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Rudock (6-foot-3, 208 pounds) left the Hawkeyes for the Wolverines as a graduate transfer student. He started for the past two seasons at Iowa, but Hawkeyes coaches made it clear they preferred C.J. Beathard (Bobby's grandson) this season, so Rudock left. Rudock fits Michigan's pro-style attack, and he should benefit from working with a coaching staff that has an actual offensive plan. He isn't overly athletic, but he is cerebral and has a nice arm. 15

    Bradley Leeb/Associated Press

    15. QB Jake Rudock

    Background: From Iowa to Michigan
    The skinny: Rudock (6-foot-3, 208 pounds) left the Hawkeyes for the Wolverines as a graduate transfer student. He started for the past two seasons at Iowa, but Hawkeyes coaches made it clear they preferred C.J. Beathard (Bobby's grandson) this season, so Rudock left. Rudock fits Michigan's pro-style attack, and he should benefit from working with a coaching staff that has an actual offensive plan. He isn't overly athletic, but he is cerebral and has a nice arm.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Trinity Valley CC (Texas) to Kansas<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Kansas might not find much success on the football field this fall, but a bright spot is that Stewart (6-0, 171) looks good. He enrolled in January and went through spring drills, where he was the Jayhawks' top cornerback. He should help solidify the secondary: Both of Kansas' starting corners from last season <a href="http://www.nfl.com/draft/2015/tracker#dt-tabs:dt-by-college/dt-by-college-input:13" target="new">were drafted</a> earlier this month. Stewart had three picks and 19 pass breakups for TVCC last season. 14

    Kansas Athletics

    14. CB Brandon Stewart

    Background: From Trinity Valley CC (Texas) to Kansas
    The skinny: Kansas might not find much success on the football field this fall, but a bright spot is that Stewart (6-0, 171) looks good. He enrolled in January and went through spring drills, where he was the Jayhawks' top cornerback. He should help solidify the secondary: Both of Kansas' starting corners from last season were drafted earlier this month. Stewart had three picks and 19 pass breakups for TVCC last season.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Ohio State to Texas Tech<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Mitchell (6-3, 226) was a consensus national top-60 prospect in the 2013 recruiting class, but unlike classmates such as Christian Hackenberg, Vernon Hargreaves III, Robert Nkemdiche and A'Shwan Robinson, he has not played a down of college football. He signed with Ohio State and redshirted in 2013. He then transferred to Texas Tech to be closer to his home in Dallas and sat out last season. He had a good spring for the Red Raiders and has playmaking ability, which is something Tech desperately needs on defense. 13

    Logan Hawk/Texas Tech Athletics

    13. LB Mike Mitchell

    Background: From Ohio State to Texas Tech
    The skinny: Mitchell (6-3, 226) was a consensus national top-60 prospect in the 2013 recruiting class, but unlike classmates such as Christian Hackenberg, Vernon Hargreaves III, Robert Nkemdiche and A'Shwan Robinson, he has not played a down of college football. He signed with Ohio State and redshirted in 2013. He then transferred to Texas Tech to be closer to his home in Dallas and sat out last season. He had a good spring for the Red Raiders and has playmaking ability, which is something Tech desperately needs on defense.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Lackawanna CC (Pa.) to Penn State<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Penn State rarely goes the junior college route, but the Nittany Lions did so with Palmer (6-7, 278), who went through spring practice and is projected to take over for <a href="http://www.nfl.com/draft/2015/profiles/donovan-smith?id=2552460" target="new">second-round pick Donovan Smith</a> at left tackle. Palmer, a North Carolina native who had grade issues and suffered a torn ACL as a high school senior, was considered a consensus national top-15 JC prospect. He is athletic and has a nice upside, but needs to get stronger and add bulk. 12

    Mark Selders/Penn State Athletics

    12. OT Paris Palmer

    Background: From Lackawanna CC (Pa.) to Penn State
    The skinny: Penn State rarely goes the junior college route, but the Nittany Lions did so with Palmer (6-7, 278), who went through spring practice and is projected to take over for second-round pick Donovan Smith at left tackle. Palmer, a North Carolina native who had grade issues and suffered a torn ACL as a high school senior, was considered a consensus national top-15 JC prospect. He is athletic and has a nice upside, but needs to get stronger and add bulk.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Mississippi Gulf Coast CC to Auburn<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Smith (6-1, 180) was a quarterback in high school and in his one season in junior college, but he will be a slot receiver for Auburn. He looked comfortable in his new position during spring ball and gives Auburn another playmaker. Smith will not be Auburn's go-to receiver -- that role belongs to senior D'haquille "Duke" Williams, another Mississippi Gulf Coast alum -- but he does give new Tigers starting QB Jeremy Johnson a dangerous receiver in space. Smith was the consensus No. 10 JC recruit nationally. 11

    Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics

    11. WR Jason Smith

    Background: From Mississippi Gulf Coast CC to Auburn
    The skinny: Smith (6-1, 180) was a quarterback in high school and in his one season in junior college, but he will be a slot receiver for Auburn. He looked comfortable in his new position during spring ball and gives Auburn another playmaker. Smith will not be Auburn's go-to receiver -- that role belongs to senior D'haquille "Duke" Williams, another Mississippi Gulf Coast alum -- but he does give new Tigers starting QB Jeremy Johnson a dangerous receiver in space. Smith was the consensus No. 10 JC recruit nationally.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Georgia to Louisville<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Wiggins is the first of three Louisville players on this list -- and also one of three Louisville players on this list who had "issues" at a previous program. Wiggins (5-10, 171) started eight games for Georgia as a true freshman in 2013 before deciding in May 2014 that he would transfer to a program that would "embrace my personality." He sat out last season at Louisville and nailed down a starting spot in spring drills. While he lacks bulk, he has good speed and ball skills, and also possesses the talent to contend for All-ACC honors. 10

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    10. CB Shaq Wiggins

    Background: From Georgia to Louisville
    The skinny: Wiggins is the first of three Louisville players on this list -- and also one of three Louisville players on this list who had "issues" at a previous program. Wiggins (5-10, 171) started eight games for Georgia as a true freshman in 2013 before deciding in May 2014 that he would transfer to a program that would "embrace my personality." He sat out last season at Louisville and nailed down a starting spot in spring drills. While he lacks bulk, he has good speed and ball skills, and also possesses the talent to contend for All-ACC honors.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Eastern Washington to Oregon<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Adams, who will play his final season as a graduate transfer for the Ducks, was <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000404372/article/vernon-adams-could-be-next-in-line-of-smallschool-nfl-qbs" target="new">one of the best players in the FCS ranks</a>, throwing for 10,438 yards and 110 TDs in his three-season career at EWU. Adams (6-0, 190) has had success against Pac-12 defenses: He threw for 475 yards and seven TDs in a 59-52 loss to Washington in 2014 and for 411 yards and four TDs in <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000237137/article/vernon-adams-directs-eastern-washington-upset-of-oregon-state" target="new">a 49-46 win over Oregon State in 2013</a>. Adams is expected to beat out junior Jeff Lockie to become the Ducks' starter and serve as a stop-gap of sorts while younger quarterbacks become more acclimated. 9

    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    9. QB Vernon Adams

    Background: From Eastern Washington to Oregon
    The skinny: Adams, who will play his final season as a graduate transfer for the Ducks, was one of the best players in the FCS ranks, throwing for 10,438 yards and 110 TDs in his three-season career at EWU. Adams (6-0, 190) has had success against Pac-12 defenses: He threw for 475 yards and seven TDs in a 59-52 loss to Washington in 2014 and for 411 yards and four TDs in a 49-46 win over Oregon State in 2013. Adams is expected to beat out junior Jeff Lockie to become the Ducks' starter and serve as a stop-gap of sorts while younger quarterbacks become more acclimated.

  • <b>Background:</b> From UAB to Oklahoma State<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> TB Jordan Howard ran for 1,587 yards last season for UAB, which dropped its football program (the program will return in 2017). Howard transferred to Indiana, where he is in the mix to replace 2,000-yard rusher Tevin Coleman. Salako is one of the linemen who opened all those holes for Howard. Salako, a junior, is a big dude (6-6, 330) who started for two seasons for the Blazers, and he moved seamlessly into the starting left tackle spot for the Cowboys during spring drills. He has pro potential, but must improve his pass blocking. 8

    Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics

    8. OT Victor Salako

    Background: From UAB to Oklahoma State
    The skinny: TB Jordan Howard ran for 1,587 yards last season for UAB, which dropped its football program (the program will return in 2017). Howard transferred to Indiana, where he is in the mix to replace 2,000-yard rusher Tevin Coleman. Salako is one of the linemen who opened all those holes for Howard. Salako, a junior, is a big dude (6-6, 330) who started for two seasons for the Blazers, and he moved seamlessly into the starting left tackle spot for the Cowboys during spring drills. He has pro potential, but must improve his pass blocking.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Mississippi Gulf Coast CC to Texas A&M<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> The Aggies were horrible on defense last season, allowing 450.8 yards per game; they were last in the SEC and 104th nationally in total defense. New coordinator John Chavis comes from the same position at LSU and will help improve the unit; so will the addition of Evans (6-1, 195), who enrolled in January and was good in spring practice. He is a willing player in run support and looks to have above-average coverage skills for a strong safety. Evans, a Mississippi native who has three seasons of eligibility at A&M, was a consensus national top-30 JC recruit. 7

    Glen Johnson/Texas A&M Athletics

    7. SS Justin Evans

    Background: From Mississippi Gulf Coast CC to Texas A&M
    The skinny: The Aggies were horrible on defense last season, allowing 450.8 yards per game; they were last in the SEC and 104th nationally in total defense. New coordinator John Chavis comes from the same position at LSU and will help improve the unit; so will the addition of Evans (6-1, 195), who enrolled in January and was good in spring practice. He is a willing player in run support and looks to have above-average coverage skills for a strong safety. Evans, a Mississippi native who has three seasons of eligibility at A&M, was a consensus national top-30 JC recruit.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Hutchinson (Kan.) CC to South Carolina<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Lewis (6-3, 266) is a South Carolina native who returned "home" to play college football. Lewis, a consensus top-three JC prospect, enrolled early, went through spring practice and showed enough to make folks think he will be a key starter for a Gamecocks defense looking to bounce back from a mediocre season. Lewis had 18.5 sacks in two seasons at Hutchinson; South Carolina basically had no pass rush last season, finishing last in the SEC with just 14 sacks. Lewis is from Greenwood, S.C., the hometown of current NFL players Sam Montgomery (Cincinnati Bengals), D.J. Swearinger (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Kelcy Quarles (Indianapolis Colts) 6

    Allen Sharpe/South Carolina Athletics

    6. DE Marquavius Lewis

    Background: From Hutchinson (Kan.) CC to South Carolina
    The skinny: Lewis (6-3, 266) is a South Carolina native who returned "home" to play college football. Lewis, a consensus top-three JC prospect, enrolled early, went through spring practice and showed enough to make folks think he will be a key starter for a Gamecocks defense looking to bounce back from a mediocre season. Lewis had 18.5 sacks in two seasons at Hutchinson; South Carolina basically had no pass rush last season, finishing last in the SEC with just 14 sacks. Lewis is from Greenwood, S.C., the hometown of current NFL players Sam Montgomery (Cincinnati Bengals), D.J. Swearinger (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Kelcy Quarles (Indianapolis Colts)

  • <b>Background:</b> From Blinn College (Texas) to Oklahoma<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Westbrook was a consensus national top-15 junior college recruit. He played eight games last season and finished with 76 receptions for 1,487 yards and 13 TDs. He enrolled early, went through spring practice and impressed everyone with his quickness and overall speed. Westbrook (6-1, 167) could stand to add some bulk, but he potentially gives OU the kind of electrifying player in space the Sooners have needed for the past few seasons. Who will get him the ball is a question. Texas Tech transfer Baker Mayfield, who sat out last season, will vie with holdover Trevor Knight for the starting quarterback job. 5

    Alonzo Adams/Associated Press

    5. WR Dede Westbrook

    Background: From Blinn College (Texas) to Oklahoma
    The skinny: Westbrook was a consensus national top-15 junior college recruit. He played eight games last season and finished with 76 receptions for 1,487 yards and 13 TDs. He enrolled early, went through spring practice and impressed everyone with his quickness and overall speed. Westbrook (6-1, 167) could stand to add some bulk, but he potentially gives OU the kind of electrifying player in space the Sooners have needed for the past few seasons. Who will get him the ball is a question. Texas Tech transfer Baker Mayfield, who sat out last season, will vie with holdover Trevor Knight for the starting quarterback job.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Georgia to Louisville<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Harvey-Clemons transferred to Louisville after being dismissed at Georgia, where he was a reserve as a true freshman in 2012 and a full-time starter in 2013. Harvey-Clemons (6-5, 230) was a consensus top-35 player nationally in the 2012 recruiting class. He runs well and really lays the wood. His size enables him to play a hybrid linebacker position in the nickel, should Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Grantham (who also was Harvey-Clemons' coordinator at Georgia) go that route. Harvey-Clemons already is an important part of Auburn lore: He is the Georgia player who tipped the ball that Ricardo Louis <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000282296/article/miracle-deflection-lifts-auburn-over-georgia">caught for a TD</a> in the "Prayer at Jordan-Hare" in 2013. 4

    Dave Tulis/Associated Press

    4. S Josh Harvey-Clemons

    Background: From Georgia to Louisville
    The skinny: Harvey-Clemons transferred to Louisville after being dismissed at Georgia, where he was a reserve as a true freshman in 2012 and a full-time starter in 2013. Harvey-Clemons (6-5, 230) was a consensus top-35 player nationally in the 2012 recruiting class. He runs well and really lays the wood. His size enables him to play a hybrid linebacker position in the nickel, should Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Grantham (who also was Harvey-Clemons' coordinator at Georgia) go that route. Harvey-Clemons already is an important part of Auburn lore: He is the Georgia player who tipped the ball that Ricardo Louis caught for a TD in the "Prayer at Jordan-Hare" in 2013.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Georgia to Auburn<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Matthews is the third former Georgia defensive back on this list, and as with Harvey-Clemons, he was dismissed from the team by coach Mark Richt. Matthews (6-1, 213), a sophomore, was a consensus national top-100 player in the 2013 recruiting class and started six games for Georgia that fall. His best game? A 12-tackle performance in the "Prayer at Jordan-Hare" game. His athleticism should help an Auburn secondary that repeatedly was torched last season. New defensive coordinator Will Muschamp asks a lot of his defensive backs, and Matthews has the skill set to become a star. 3

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    3. S Tray Matthews

    Background: From Georgia to Auburn
    The skinny: Matthews is the third former Georgia defensive back on this list, and as with Harvey-Clemons, he was dismissed from the team by coach Mark Richt. Matthews (6-1, 213), a sophomore, was a consensus national top-100 player in the 2013 recruiting class and started six games for Georgia that fall. His best game? A 12-tackle performance in the "Prayer at Jordan-Hare" game. His athleticism should help an Auburn secondary that repeatedly was torched last season. New defensive coordinator Will Muschamp asks a lot of his defensive backs, and Matthews has the skill set to become a star.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Trinity Valley CC  (Texas) to Louisville<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Fields easily could be the biggest success story on this list; he also easily could be the biggest bust. Fields is a big-time talent -- he was the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year as a true freshman defensive end at TCU in 2013 -- but he has had numerous off-field issues and eventually was dismissed from TCU. The hope for Fields (6-4, 250) hope is that he becomes the pass-rush force he was at TCU. Louisville's top two edge rushers from last season are gone -- both were drafted -- and Fields is expected to start. 2

    Brody Schmidt/Associated Press

    2. DE Devonte Fields

    Background: From Trinity Valley CC (Texas) to Louisville
    The skinny: Fields easily could be the biggest success story on this list; he also easily could be the biggest bust. Fields is a big-time talent -- he was the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year as a true freshman defensive end at TCU in 2013 -- but he has had numerous off-field issues and eventually was dismissed from TCU. The hope for Fields (6-4, 250) hope is that he becomes the pass-rush force he was at TCU. Louisville's top two edge rushers from last season are gone -- both were drafted -- and Fields is expected to start.

  • <b>Background:</b> From Notre Dame to Florida State<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000493086/article/report-everett-golson-to-transfer-to-florida-state" target="new">Golson's decision to head to Tallahassee</a> as a graduate transfer provides the Seminoles with a plug-and-play quarterback as they attempt to replace Jameis Winston. His decision also greatly increases the chances that FSU wins its fourth ACC title in a row. While Golson played in a spread attack at Notre Dame, he should adapt easily to FSU's pro-style attack. Golson is mobile, but his arm (and not his legs) is his biggest strength, which isn't always the case with spread quarterbacks. He does have a propensity for turnovers (14 picks last season) and needs to stay calm in the pocket. But he also threw 29 TD passes last season (four more than Winston) and will be surrounded by better talent than he was at Notre Dame. 1

    Ben Liebenberg/NFL

    1. QB Everett Golson

    Background: From Notre Dame to Florida State
    The skinny: Golson's decision to head to Tallahassee as a graduate transfer provides the Seminoles with a plug-and-play quarterback as they attempt to replace Jameis Winston. His decision also greatly increases the chances that FSU wins its fourth ACC title in a row. While Golson played in a spread attack at Notre Dame, he should adapt easily to FSU's pro-style attack. Golson is mobile, but his arm (and not his legs) is his biggest strength, which isn't always the case with spread quarterbacks. He does have a propensity for turnovers (14 picks last season) and needs to stay calm in the pocket. But he also threw 29 TD passes last season (four more than Winston) and will be surrounded by better talent than he was at Notre Dame.