The NCAA transfer portal doesn’t officially open for college football players until Dec. 4, the day after the College Football Playoff and bowl pairings have been announced. But that hasn’t stopped quite a few players from announcing their intention to enter the portal, including one member of Arizona’s 2023 roster.
Running back Stevie Rocker Jr. tweeted Monday that his UA career is over after three seasons, only one of which he played with any significance. The redshirt sophomore from Oro Valley will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Rocker appeared in 12 games for the Wildcats, most as a true freshman in 2021 when he ran for 153 yards and also caught seven passes for 49 yards. His lone start was in the win over Cal, which ended the UA’s 20-game losing streak.
Far down on the depth chart, and with two more running back commits in the 2024 recruiting class, Rocker likely felt his best chance to get regular playing time is elsewhere. And those figure to the be the type of players Arizona is most likely to see enter the portal, Jedd Fisch said Monday during his regular-season wrap-up presser.
“I don’t necessarily believe a lot of our guys will want to enter the portal,” he said. “I’m sure there’s always going to be a couple that either don’t envision themselves being able to become a starter here or don’t envision themselves becoming number two on the depth chart here and wanting to go and try to do that somewhere else.”
Arizona had 31 players from the 2022 team enter the portal, either after last season ended or following spring practice. The vast majority of those were expected, and in some cases encouraged, to leave, but there were also unexpected ones like receiver Dorian Singer.
“There’s other guys that may seek an opportunity elsewhere due to circumstances beyond our control,” Fisch said. “But I don’t necessarily envision a lot of guys coming to me these next couple weeks, but I’m sure there’ll always be some surprises.”
The Wildcats have 15 players who are out of eligibility, including running backs Michael Wiley and DJ Williams, receiver Jacob Cowing, tight end Tanner McLachlan and left tackle Jordan Morgan as well as multiple members of the defensive line rotation and both punter Kyle Ostendorp and long snapper Seth MacKellar.
The 2024 recruiting class currently has 22 known commitments, and with Fisch saying during the season that Arizona was using all 85 scholarships that means a few more departures will be needed. More if the Wildcats look to the portal to fill needs that the current roster and incoming recruiting class might provide enough options for.