Editor’s note: Top 25 Week continues with a look at the 25 players who project to be the most impactful Pac-12 transfers in the upcoming season.

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Like it or not, the transfer portal has become an integral piece in the way college football rosters are now built. 

This summer, the NCAA removed traditional signing class limits—schools could add only sign 25 players during a given recruiting class, with some exceptions—to respond to the USCs of the sport who ushered in new coaching staffs by making the flow of players into and out of the portal more congested than the 5 freeway at rush hour. 247Sports actually changed its recruiting class rankings to better reflect the role the portal plays in roster building. Some coaches have said they’d be fine only taking a handful of high school recruits and loading up on transfers. 

The Pac-12 was no stranger to the portal, but it wasn’t just USC that was wheeling and dealing. Here are the Top 25 incoming transfers to the league this season.

No. 25: RJ Sneed, Colorado wide receiver

Previous school: Baylor

With Brenden Rice and Dimitri Stanley moving on from the program, Colorado was in need of some playmakers for the passing game. Quarterback Brendon Lewis needs a target downfield if he’s going to push the ball more vertically. Enter Sneed, who caught 133 balls for 1,564 yards and eight touchdowns across his five seasons in Waco. He was a second-team All-Big 12 selection in 2020. The 6-foot-1 wideout should get plenty of attention this season.

No. 24: Romello Height, USC edge

Previous school: Auburn

The Trojans’ expected starter at rush end, Height is stepping into a role in Los Angeles he hasn’t yet filled as a college player. He was a rotation piece for the Tigers in 2021 and played in just one game as a freshman in 2020. Height has just 18 career tackles and three career tackles for loss to his name, but he looks exactly how you’d expect a havoc-creating edge rusher from the SEC to look.

No. 23: Cam Bright, Washington linebacker

Previous school: Pittsburgh

A starter and a captain for a Pitt team that won the ACC title in 2021, Bright comes over to fill the role vacated by another guy who’ll show up on this list. He started 20 games with the Panthers, produced over 180 tackles, and proved himself to be a pretty reliable playmaker at linebacker. With Edefuan Ulofoshio expected to miss the start of the 2022 season, Bright has a chance to step into an immediate featured role.

No. 22: Emory Jones, Arizona State quarterback

Previous school: Florida

Getting Jones to join the program after Jayden Daniels dipped and the arrow looked like it was pointing in the wrong direction for the program was a significant win for head coach Herm Edwards. What Jones will do for this Arizona State offense from a rushing standpoint will be well-received. How effective can he be as a passer? That’s the operative question for new offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas to answer in 2022. The former Gator quarterback threw for 2,734 and 19 touchdowns last season, but he also threw 13 interceptions. Jones is looking for a chance to start fresh in Tempe after things ended awkwardly at Florida. He should win the starting job at ASU 

No. 21: Gabe Reid, Utah edge

Previous school: Stanford

This feels like theft and it’s not getting talked about much. Reid is reuniting with his brother in Salt Lake City, and makes the Utah defensive line that much more menacing. A fun nugget: Reid and USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu played the same number of snaps (630) last season and registered the same number of total quarterback pressures (29). That tied them for ninth-most among all Pac-12 defenders a year ago. Reid did it while playing nearly 100 fewer snaps as a pass-rusher than Tuipulotu. Reid could be a terror in his final season of ball.

No. 20: Jordan Lee, Washington State safety

Previous school: Nevada

Among qualified Group of Five safeties last season, only five had a higher defensive grade from Pro Football Focus than Lee. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound safety chose to follow defensive coordinator Brian Ward from Nevada to Pullman and figures to start in the Cougar secondary. He had 86 tackles last season to go with five tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and four pass breakups. Lee is a sturdy safety in run support and a sure thing as a tackler.

No. 19: Jake Bobo, UCLA wide receiver

Previous school: Duke

UCLA needed a new go-to target for quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, so it went out and grabbed a wideout from Duke who managed to finish top-10 in the ACC in receiving yards and receptions despite being in a passing attack that was one of the least efficient in the ACC. Bobo was the guy when Duke threw the football and everyone knew it. Two Blue Devils saw more than 35 targets in 2021. Only six ACC players saw more targets. At the FBS level, 100 receivers saw at least 80 targets last season; Bobo’s two drops were the fewest of the group. He’s as reliable as they come. And at 6-foot-5, he gives Thompson-Robinson a Greg Dulcich-sized target with a wideout skillset. 

No. 18: Eric Gentry, USC linebacker

Previous school: Arizona State

Another theft, and not a very nice one at that. USC made a habit this offseason of taking some of the best talent from its Pac-12 peers. Gentry was maybe the most painful ASU loss all offseason. He was a consensus Freshman All-American in 2021 after finishing sixth on the Sun Devil defense with 45 tackles. He’s not much of a havoc-creator in the backfield, but he was stout in run support and more than serviceable in coverage. Gentry is in competition for the starting Will ‘backer spot in USC’s defense during fall camp, but regardless of how that competition, ends he’ll be on the field this fall.

No. 17: Jayden de Laura, Arizona quarterback

Previous school: Washington State

It’s a major upgrade at quarterback for the Wildcats. As a second-year man last season, de Laura threw for 2,789 yards and 23 scores against nine interceptions. He was surprisingly strong on third down despite a relative lack of experience—65% completion rate, eight scores against just two picks—and grew more efficient as the year went on. His play earned him the league’s Offensive Freshman of the Year honor. 

No. 16: Bo Nix, Oregon quarterback

Previous school: Auburn

The former SEC Freshman of the Year is mercurial and polarizing. There’s no waffling. Folks are either fully invested or all the way out. Oregon is hoping that reuniting him with Kenny Dillingham, the offensive coordinator who helped him to that Freshman of the Year award, can channel all the good parts of his game. Of course, Nix is battling Ty Thompson in fall camp for the Ducks’ starting quarterback spot but he is expected to win the job, his experience serving as the differentiating factor. From a physical standpoint, Nix has the goods. He’s a plus athlete with a great arm. That makes him a more-than-capable playmaker when things go off-script. The decision-making is the question. But Nix still finds a way to make bad decisions work because of his tools. He was playing better before injury last season.   

No. 15: Nesta Jade Silvera, Arizona State nose tackle

Previous school: Miami

A mountain of a man in the middle, Silvera was a key contributor for the Hurricanes during his four years in Miami and played immediately as a true freshman. He finished the 2021 campaign with 38 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss, grading out as one of the best d-linemen in the ACC, per PFF. Over his career, Silvera appeared in 41 games for the Canes and earned 18 starts over the last two seasons. He totaled 105 tackles, 16 TFLs, two sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup during that time. Arizona State had a salty run defense a season ago, and that doesn’t figure to change in 2022. Silvera will be a problem in the middle of the defense for opposing lines to contend with.

No. 14: Jackson Sirmon, Cal linebacker

Previous school: Washington

Sirmon left UW to play for his father at Cal. He’s a preseason all-conference first-team selection at the outset of that partnership. The Golden Bears churn out great defenses, and Sirmon feels like the next guy to benefit from that system. He is the Pac-12’s second-leading returning tackler, after posting 92 stops a season ago. 

No. 13: Shane Lee, USC linebacker

Previous school: Alabama

An injury on the two-deep above him forced Lee into immediate action as a freshman for Alabama in 2019. He responded with 86 tackles (second on the team), 6.5 tackles for losses, with 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a pass breakup, and an interception. Lee earned FWAA Freshman All-American honors as a result. A sports hernia injury limited him to five games in 2020. He was primarily a special teams player in 2021. Alabama is remarkable like that, just planting a Freshman All-American on the bench because it has equally talented options up and down the roster. At USC, Lee has immediately stepped into a leadership role. He figures to be the heart of the defense and an enforcer type. Maybe he isn’t one of the best pure linebackers in the conference, but he’s proving to be invaluable in Lincoln Riley’s culture rebuild.

No. 12: Gabriel Murphy, UCLA edge

Previous school: North Texas

The first of three UCLA defenders in the top 15… Murphy and his brother, Grayson, are making the jump from G5 to Power Five ball. He earned a 90.4 grade from PFF as a pass-rusher last season after recording 48 total quarterback pressures. Murphy finished with 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Finding more havoc plays has to be priority No. 1 for UCLA in the new year, and the Murphy twins are the perfect additions to try and accomplish that.

No. 11: Xazavian Valladay, Arizona State running back

Previous school: Wyoming

The former Cowboy is going to surprise some people. Valladay lands in Tempe after four seasons with Wyoming during which he put up 3,281 yards and 19 touchdowns. He left as the program’s second-leading rusher all time. In 2019, his 1,265-yard campaign was the third-best by a running back in a single season in program history. Last season, he ran for 1,070 yards at 5.1 a pop. A slashing back, Valladay is a violent and explosive runner through the first and second levels of the defense. His G5 production should translate up to the P5 level without a hitch.

No. 10: Grayson Murphy, UCLA edge

Previous school: North Texas

Everything written about Gabriel applies here. Grayson Murphy is going to be one of the most immediately impactful transfers in the league. He produced 54 quarterback pressures a season ago and was the sixth highest-rated pass-rusher at the G5 level by PFF. Terror. He’ll be a terror.

No. 9: Mohamoud Diabate, Utah linebacker

Previous school: Florida

Diabate was a high 4-star prospect coming out of the 2019 class, ranked just outside the top 100. With 89 tackles in 2021, he was Florida’s second-leading tackler. I’m curious to see what his role looks like in Salt Lake City. He only had 2.5 tackles for loss and didn’t record a sack last season, but Florida didn’t really use him as an out-and-out pass-rusher very often. When it did, he was effective at creating pressure. He graded out well as a pass-rusher and gives Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley the opportunity to roll him out in a few roles. 

No. 8: Darius Muasau, UCLA linebacker

Previous school: Hawaii

Muasau was a two-time All-Mountain West First Team selection. In the last two seasons for Hawaii, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker totaled 213 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, five pass breakups, five forced fumbles (all in 2021), and two interceptions. Over that span, no one on Hawaii’s roster had more tackles, TFLs, or sacks. In 2021 alone, he had the third-best defensive grade (per PFF) among Mountain West linebackers (min. 100 snaps) and the best pass-rushing grade. I’ve been pounding this drum all offseason. He’s going to be an all-conference linebacker in the Pac-12 and a key figure in what UCLA hopes is a championship run.

No. 7: Mario Williams, USC wide receiver

Previous school: Oklahoma

On a normal team, Williams is a 1,000-yard receiver. But USC’s wideout group has turned into the West Coast’s equivalent of Ohio State. This is like when you take the Dream Team in NBA 2K and simulate an NBA season with them. Players that averaged 25 are going to average 15 because there’s just only so much to go around. Williams is a 25-points-per-game guy that will more than likely average 15 a game because he’s sharing the spotlight with Jordan Addison and a loaded group of Trojan receivers. As his preseason first-team all-conference selection would suggest, though, Williams looks like one of the premier receivers in the league. The 5-foot-9 youngster was primarily an outside receiver for OU and had no issue taking defenders one-on-one. He should get a ton of that in 2022, which is a frightening thought.

No. 6: Christian Gonzalez, Oregon cornerback

Previous school: Colorado

Utah’s Clark Phillips is the best cover corner in the Pac-12. Gonzalez might be next up. The 6-foot-1 corner was targeted often last season—about once every eight snaps—but more than held his own. Among Pac-12 corners with at least 300 coverage snaps, that was the sixth-highest clip. In the same group, he allowed the fifth-lowest reception rate when targeted (per PFF). The tools are there for him to develop into a shutdown corner under Dan Lanning.

No. 5: Jacob Cowing, Arizona wide receiver

Previous school: UTEP

Cowing comes to Arizona after leading the Miners in receiving yards in 2021. On only 19 more receptions than UTEP’s No. 2 wideout, Cowing had more than twice as many yards (1,367). Cowing ranked ninth nationally in receiving yards and 11th nationally in yards per catch. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Cowing—an Arizona native who starred at Maricopa High—led UTEP in receiving each of the last three seasons, and put up 2,608 yards and 13 touchdowns for his career. He’s a big-play threat every time he’s on the field. In 2021, per PFF’s data, Cowing averaged 3.8 yards gained per route run, the second-best mark among receivers with at least 40 targets. He’s my pick to land on the end-of-season First Team All-Pac-12 squad.

No. 4: Travis Dye, USC running back

Previous school: Oregon

With everything else USC has done, it’s easy to forget about Travis Dye. The former Duck will spend his final season in Los Angeles, working from an offense he looks tailor-made for. Through four years with the Ducks—all as either the No. 1 or No. 2 back on the depth chart—the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Dye totaled 3,111 rushing yards, 869 receiving yards, and 29 total touchdowns. He led the Pac-12 in scrimmage yards in 2021 (1,673) while rushing for 1,271 yards (second in Pac-12). Riley has perhaps never had a back quite like this before, something that’s this much of a threat as a wideout. Among all his Oklahoma backs, only one averaged multiple catches a game over the course of an entire season. Dye had 46 receptions last year alone. It seems likely the Trojans will rotate skill players on and off of the field to keep everyone fresh, but Dye is going to eat well in this scheme. 

No. 3: Cameron Ward, Washington State quarterback

Previous school: Incarnate Word

Ward was a Wing T high school quarterback. Didn’t exactly provide for the tape college coaches would want to see. So his options were limited coming out of high school. That landed him at UIW, where all he did as a true freshman was win the Jerry Rice Award as the best first-year player at the FCS level. The 6-foot-3 quarterback turned around as a sophomore and threw for 4,648 yards and 47 touchdowns with 10 interceptions this past fall, helping UIW to the second round of the FCS playoffs. He owns school records for career passing touchdowns (71) and yardage (6,908) and was one of the best available transfers in the cycle this offseason. The Cougars are turning everything over to him, and he’ll have his former UIW head coach, Eric Morris, as his OC in Pullman to help ease the transition.

No. 2: Jordan Addison, USC wide receiver

Previous school: Pittsburgh

Primarily a slot guy for Pitt, Addison finished fourth among all FBS wideouts last season with 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns on 100 receptions. He was tied for the FBS lead in touchdown receptions and finished with eight 100-yard games, the second-best season by a Panther wideout in program history. Only two guys in the country had more contested catches than Addison. (One of them did it at USC.) Only two FBS wideouts produced more first downs. Only eight forced more missed tackles. Addison averaged nearly 7 yards after the catch. Two players have a legitimate case to claim “best wideout in the country;” Addison is one of them. He got strong consideration for the No. 1 spot here. Very strong consideration.  

No. 1: Caleb Williams, USC quarterback

Previous school: Oklahoma

Williams was named to the 247Sports and ESPN True Freshman All-America teams after throwing for 1,912 yards, 21 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. He also ran for 442 yards and another six scores. He finished the season fourth nationally in total QBR. His 86.5 rating was the 10th-best season by a qualified Big 12 quarterback in ESPN’s database, going back to 2004. Even though Williams is in a new spot, he’s going to be operating from within the same offense for the same head coach. The talent around him is better. Williams looked like a freshman late in the year last season, but another year in the system will help, and don’t overlook the value of a full offseason to work as the No. 1.