A lot has been made about the Arizona Wildcats’ failures to attract top high school talent under Kevin Sumlin—their current class ranks 11th in the Pac-12—but the transfer portal is another way to add impact players and they have not made much of a dent in that market, either.
Since Sumlin was hired in January 2018, the Wildcats have only added four FBS scholarship players via transfer—cornerback Tim Hough (UNLV), offensive lineman Robert Congel (Texas A&M), linebacker Santino Marchiol (Texas A&M), and punter Dylan Klumph (Cal).
How did they pan out? Eh, not that well. Hough started in six games and logged 23 tackles and three pass breakups before being dismissed by the program.
That is still a better career than Marchiol, who was kicked off the team after a couple of practices after The Dallas Morning News reported that he used an apparent racist term to describe some of his former teammates at Texas A&M.
Congel, a walk-on at Texas A&M but scholarship player at Arizona, appeared in 10 games this season, starting seven at left guard and one at center after redshirting in 2018.
Klumph, a grad transfer, punted 46 times for 1,976 yards, a solid 43.0 yard average.
The Wildcats did not add any notable transfers last offseason, so none are waiting in the wings to contribute in 2020 unless they can snag a grad transfer this offseason or land an underclassmen transfer who receives a waiver to play immediately.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats have lost linebacker Day Day Coleman, cornerback Maurice Gaines, tight end Jake Peters, safety Chacho Ulloa, and wide receiver Thomas Marcus Jr. to the transfer portal this year and more could be coming. (So it goes when coaching changes are made.)
Last year, Arizona lost offensive lineman Nathan Eldridge (Oregon State) and safety Isaiah Hayes (Louisville) to major-conference teams, as well as former four-star recruit Michael Eletise to Hawaii. Replacing that many experienced players with high-school recruits can create a roster that is too young for its own good.
Arizona signed 12 recruits (11 of which are high school seniors) on Wednesday, the first of three days of the early-signing period, meaning it can still add up to 13 more players this offseason before it reaches the 25-player limit.
There is plenty of room to add a transfer or two—maybe even several—but it remains to be seen if the Wildcats can effectively mine that market. Coming off consecutive losing seasons, they can certainly use the help on offense, defense, and special teams.