3 more Georgia Tech players go into transfer portal, including Nate McCollum

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Three Georgia Tech players were newly registered in the transfer portal Friday. One in particular could be a major loss for the Yellow Jackets – wide receiver Nate McCollum.

The other two also played significantly for Tech – safety Derrik Allen and offensive lineman Paula Vaipulu. McCollum was Tech’s leading receiver this past season, with 60 catches for 655 yards, the reception total ranking fifth in the ACC. He arguably was Tech’s best player on offense and earned honorable mention on the All-ACC team. With two seasons of eligibility remaining, McCollum likely will rank among the top players in the portal and should have no shortage of suitors.

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McCollum announced his intention to go into the portal last week, but when his name was not registered Monday – the day that the transfer-portal window opened – and ensuing days, Tech fans took hope that he was reconsidering with the hire of coach Brent Key. But Tech evidently may have to find a replacement for its go-to receiver if McCollum follows through and decides to depart. (It’s conceivable that he and other portal entries could consider their options and stay.)

Either way, the Jackets will lose the receivers with the second and fourth most receptions this season, Malachi Carter (tied with Malik Rutherford with 23 catches) and E.J. Jenkins (17 catches), who both played their final seasons of eligibility this year. Without McCollum, the Jackets’ leading returning receivers are Rutherford and Leo Blackburn (five catches). The two would be, in fact, the only receivers returning who had receptions this season, as Ryan King also went in the portal and Kalani Norris left the team midseason. Scouring the transfer portal for addition at receiver appears to be a distinct possibility for Key.

Allen played in 31 games in three seasons for Tech. He played in all 12 games this season, starting the first two before LaMiles Brooks jumped ahead of him and went on to earn All-ACC honors. Allen, who was a four-star prospect out of Lassiter High, was at Notre Dame for one season before transferring to Tech before the 2019 season. He is scheduled to earn his business administration degree this semester and would leave Tech as a grad transfer with one season of eligibility remaining.

Vaipulu came to Tech as part of former coach Geoff Collins’ vaunted 2020 signing class (as did McCollum). After redshirting in 2020, he started in five games in 2021 at guard and four this season, playing in 18 total games. He was more effective as a run blocker, less so in pass protection. Without Vaipulu, it appears Tech has 11 scholarship offensive linemen returning and walk-on Joe Fusile, who started eight games this season. The 12 include the five primary starters from this season’s line. Six high-school offensive-line prospects are committed for the 2023 class.

Tech appears to have nine players who have entered the portal since the start of the season, eight of whom entered after the end of the season.