ROSTER BUILDING: What has PJ Fleck been up to in the Transfer Portal?

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With five different players once “committed” to the Gophers flipping their decisions to other programs, 12 Gophers players of their own entering the portal and seven new transfers “committed” as of now, PJ Fleck and his staff have been incredibly busy in the transfer portal this cycle. Since I have been contributing to Gopherhole, I have tried to do a breakdown of each player that has committed to the program, but I honestly got a little annoyed this cycle doing it for five different players that have flipped. I have attempted to analyze everything the Gophers’ staff has done in the portal on Twitter with some videos anayzling the scholarship outlook.

Even for me, someone who is about as locked into the program as you can be, it has been a bit chaotic trying to follow all of the twists and turns. So today, I thought I would share my thoughts of what I believe their thought process could be now and in the future with their 2024 roster.


  • During this absolutely chaotic era of college football, I think it is very important worth mentioning that every D1 FBS program is allowed 85 scholarships.
  • The “current” Transfer Portal Window has technically already closed as it was open for 30 days from Dec. 4, 2023 to Jan. 2, 2024. That means Jan. 2 was the deadline for underclassmen (non-grad transfers) to enter their name into the portal, while they’re allowed to commit when they please.
  • The next Spring-period Transfer Portal window will open April 15 and close April 30. That will be another oppurtinity for any player to enter their name into the portal.
  • Earlier this December, the NCAA agreed to extend the prohibition of transfer restrictions through the end of the entire 2023-24 spring sports season, therefore every player this cycle is allowed to transfer to any school without a waiver, even if they’ve already transfered.


2023 players that have entered the portal:

Scholarship Players (7)

  • QB, Athan Kaliakmanis –> Rutgers
  • RB, Zach Evans –> North Texas
  • QB, Drew Viotto –> Eastern Michigan
  • RB, Marquese Williams –> Akron
  • OL, JJ Guedet –> Illinois State
  • WR, Dino Kaliakmanis –> Rutgers
  • OL, Tyrell Lawrence –> Alabama A&M

Preffered Walk-Ons (5)

  • K, Jacob Lewis
  • RB, Max Grand –> Augustana
  • WR, Zach Jorgensen
  • DE, Colton Gregersen
  • LB, Cade Larson

Winter window portal additions (signed/committed):

  • QB, Max Brosmer, New Hampshire (signed)
  • CB, Ethan Robinson, Bucknell (signed)
  • DB, Jai’Onte’ McMillan, TCU (signed)
  • RB, Sieh Bangura, Ohio (signed)
  • WR, Cristian Driver, Penn State (committed)
  • RB, Marcus Major, Oklahoma (committed)
  • WR, Jaylen Varner, Emporia State (committed)



Portal Players that were “committed” but later flipped
  • FIU, DT Jordan Guerad –> Lousiville
  • Indiana, RB Trent Howland –> Indiana
  • Navarro JUCO, Edge Eddy Toussom –> UAB
  • Central Michigan, DT Quindario Lee
  • Fresno State, QB Logan Fife

What are the Gophers doing?

I think the least talked about, or taboo topic when it comes to the new era of college sports and the transfer portal is total scholarships. As it stands now, the Gophers could have as many as 115 players on their roster in 2024. That is a very typical number for most major programs, but as I stated earlier you’re only allowed 85 scholarship players. As it stands now the Gophers are projected to have 87. When you add the seven new transfers and the incoming 2024 high school recruiting class they’re two over their limit.

The reason I find this interesting is because two people either have to transfer, flip or lose their scholarship. It is a very unwritten and unspoken truth that coaches have begun to tell some scholarsip players that they aren’t wanted at the program anymore. Most notably Deion Sanders has popularized this strategy, but it’s a very uncomfortable conversation to have when you’re talking about a young adult’s free school.

With all that being said, I believe some (defintely not all) of the Gophers “flips” in the portal can relate back to this conundrum. If they land a verbal commitment from a player and then a differnt player they want more comes along, who they didn’t think they had a chance of signing, they could easily tell the other player that if you’re having second thoughts you can leave.

Overall, I have found PJ Fleck and his staff’s strategy this offseason interesting. Adding Sean Tyler, Elijah Spencer and Corey Crooms from the portal last offseason, it’s pretty clear that Fleck believes that skill position players are worth adding from the portal, as they’ve now added two running backs and two wide receivers this cycle. There are still some pretty clear needs on this roster, but no spots to fill them with.

By the Numbers (since 2021):

Since the transfer portal got real hot in the 2021 offseason, the Gophers have added 30 total players, some positions stand out more than others.

  • DBs (9)
  • DL (6)
  • WR (5)
  • RBs (3)
  • OL (3)
  • LBs (2)
  • QB (1)
  • ST (1)

What will the Gophers do?

As it stands now the Gophers currently have three quarterbacks on the roster. That is one of the lowest numbers in major college football, so I would be shocked if they don’t add a player at tha position. I also would be pretty surprised if they don’t add a defensive lineman. But as I have said earlier, a scholarship would have to open up for them to add a player.

With the new window openening in April, I think PJ Fleck and his staff are smart enough to know that likely a few more current players, maybe even projected starters will enter. Last season there were more players that entered after the calendar flipped years, so I think we are far from done seeing moves made on this roster.

I think it would be a litte premature to make hard feelings or thoughts just yet about the Gophers roster in 2024, but the fact that PJ Fleck is trying to be active and improve this team is a great sign.

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