Transfer portal: What the spring window really means for Georgia, SEC

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Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

041324 Athens: Head coach Kirby Smart tips his visor during the G-Day game on Saturday, April 13, 2024. Curtis Compton for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

This is the first in a three-part series on the transfer portal, which opens on Tuesday.

The transfer portal will re-open on Tuesday for college football, kicking off a 15-day period where players can enter and end up at another school for the 2024 season.

This window will be different than the winter window, which saw 18 scholarship players from Georgia enter the transfer portal. It was not one-way traffic for the Bulldogs, as Georgia landed seven players.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart understands what this portal window will look and isn’t losing sleep over it.

“Can I control it? I can’t. If I concern myself with things I can’t control, I won’t live long,” Smart said. “There’s just too much out there. It’s really one of those things of, ‘do you want to be here? Or do you not?’ Because they know how we do things by now. They all know.”

With the transfer portal window opening, there are plenty of questions regarding what the next 15 days look like. Below are some answers to the frequently asked questions regarding the spring transfer portal window.

What does the transfer postal allow players to do?

The transfer portal allows players to enter an NCAA database where coaches can reach out and speak and recruit them. Players can transfer to a new school without having to sit out for a season.

How often can a player transfer?

Players can transfer an unlimited number of times.

When can a player enter the transfer portal?

Players can enter the transfer portal during a winter and spring window. The winter window for the 2024 season was open from Dec. 4 through Jan. 2, though teams that finished their season in the later stages of bowl season were given a five-day extension from the end of their season. So players from Georgia, whose season ended on Dec. 30, had until Jan. 4 to enter that first window.

How long is the spring transfer portal window open?

The spring transfer portal window opens on Tuesday and closes on April 30. This window is 15 days, compared to the 30-day window in the winter.

Can a player commit to a school after the transfer portal window has closed?

Yes. Players only have to alert their current school of their intent to transfer before the April 30th deadline. Schools have 48 hours to formally enter a player into the transfer portal database upon being notified. Michael Jackson of USC, Jake Pope of Alabama and Benjamin Yurosek of Stanford all committed to Georgia after the winter window had closed.

Can a player transfer within the SEC during the spring window?

During this window, an SEC player cannot transfer within the conference. Players hoping to transfer within the SEC had to enter the transfer portal before Feb. 1. This rule applies to Texas and Oklahoma as well, as the SEC welcomes those two schools to the league starting in July.

Georgia did land four SEC transfers in the first window, as running back Trevor Etienne came from Florida, safety Pope transferred from Alabama, defensive lineman Xzavier McLeod arrived from South Carolina and wide receiver London Humphreys joined the program from Vanderbilt.

This means that a player could not transfer from Kentucky to Georgia during this current window. But a player could transfer from Georgia to Ohio State.

Traditionally, Georgia likes to pull transfer players from the SEC. All three of Georgia’s scholarship transfer additions prior to the 2023 season came from SEC programs, while four of Georgia’s seven adds came from within the conference.

Will Georgia lose any players to the transfer portal during the spring window?

Almost certainly. Per the DawgNation unofficial scholarship count, Georgia is currently at 88 scholarship players for the 2024 season. UGA will need to be down to 85 players by the start of fall camp. The Bulldogs did see offensive lineman Chad Lindberg enter the transfer portal prior to spring practice. He did so as a graduate transfer.

Will Georgia add anyone via the transfer portal in the spring window?

The Bulldogs obviously would like to. Defensive line and quarterback are two positions in particular that Georgia would like to add to its roster.

Smart spoke about his desire to have four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. As it stands, the Bulldogs have only three scholarship quarterbacks in Carson Beck, Gunner Stockton and Ryan Puglisi.

“I always want to have, our goal is to have four [scholarship quarterbacks] and a really good walk-on,” Smart said on Saturday. “That’s the goal. We think we’ve got a preferred walk-on kid that’s a really good player that’s coming in, excited about him [Colter Ginn]. We thought he was a really good player in our state. We’ll see what happens. I can’t predict the portal, I won’t even try to. I’m worried about our guys and the retention of our players.”

Can a player enter the transfer portal and still remain with a school?

Yes, and Georgia has had this happen a few times in recent years. Offensive tackle Amarius Mims was the first high-profile example. He entered the transfer portal in April of 2022. He took a visit to Florida State before electing to return to Georgia.

In the winter window, cornerbacks Daniel Harris and Julian Humphrey publicly announced they would be entering the transfer portal but both remained at Georgia.

“I talked to Kirby and [Will] Muschamp and coach Donte [Williams], and they were saying this is a big year for me, this could be my year to come out and have a good year,” Humphrey said this spring. “I thought about it, and I wanted to be developed rather than just be down there for one year to say I’m close to my family. I stuck it out here because the development part is one of a kind compared to other schools.”

Kirby Smart talks transfer portal following spring practice