Wofford football has a new perspective on adding transfers in the future

Wofford was forced to change the way the college goes about building a football team and the new approach is likely to stick.

The presence of transfer players among the Terriers who started their college careers in another program has been a rarity in the history of the team. Now everything is changing out of necessity as college football begins to return to normal after a season ravaged by COVID-19 and a new transfer rule passed by the NCAA.

Players are now allowed to transfer once and play immediately without penalty. In the past, players transferred unilaterally or in divisions were required to be absent for a full season before regaining their eligibility.

Wofford added six transfers to his roster last month and is bringing a seventh that has yet to be announced until the fall camp begins in early August. That’s a huge number for a school that most seasons didn’t add any transfers and if they never numbered more than one or maybe two.

Current quarterback Peyton Derrick joined the Terriers after two seasons at Appalachian State and former starting quarterback Miller Mosley, whose last season was 2019 is another notable transfer who has frequented the Air Force for a year.

“It’s really something we’ve never done,” said coach Josh Conklin. “I think it will be more out of necessity than maybe philosophically with what we want to do. I think the best thing to do is bring in guys in and develop them from their first year to their last year, but the the reality of our business is going to be with this one transfer rule, guys are going to go.

“We now have some (on staff) who only recruit transfers. They’re in the portal and keep a list of names, so if we lose guys, we have a full board per post that we can start looking at. And we can not take just anyone because of academic standards and some of the character stuff that we look at especially for ourselves. So it’s a very difficult process to go through, but it’s going to be really important for us to do it. “

The Terriers were forced to cancel three games in last year’s shortened eight-game spring schedule due to a lack of healthy players in some positions. The program was hit hard by injury, but the start of his roster depth really began in April 2020 when All-American offensive linemen Josh Burger (Texas Tech) and Blake Jeresaty (Illinois) were transferred to their last seasons of eligibility.

The Terriers also lost two of their best pointers after four games last year when wide receiver TJ Luther and wide receiver / running back D’Mauriae Vancleave both announced their departures just before the season-ending loss. against The Citadel.

Wofford rising redshirt junior Peyton Derrick is one of the camp's two quarterbacks for spring training.

With the two signing periods for the recruiting class of 2021 already over and Wofford not having a graduate program where he could take fifth-year transfers to help briefly fill a void, Conklin turned somewhat. reluctantly toward the transfer portal. He started his playing career at Dakota State and briefly considered moving to Wayne State after his coaching staff left before a phone call from his high school coach convinced him to fulfill his initial commitment was the right one. things to do.

“I’m a bit of an old school purist,” Conklin said. “It’s just who I am and I’d rather you bring guys in and develop them and they stay for four years and make that commitment. But the way it’s now guys are going to transfer and that ‘ is the nature of the beast we’re dealing with.

“You can’t put your head in the sand. You have to be able to adapt and adapt and I’m really excited too. We hadn’t done this before, but the (transfers) that we have on our campuses are ok now are great guys and their position groups have embraced them. They love it here and some of them are really hungry because it’s an opportunity they didn’t think they had so that part was fun to see. “

Wofford also went to great lengths to add the best walk-in players they could find to help refurbish the roster numbers. Conklin recalled having only 56 or 58 players available on the pitch for last season’s final. This coming year, which kicks off September 4 in Elon, he expects to have a roster of 115 to 120 players, the largest in program history.

“The other part is that we really tried to strengthen our offensive and defensive line, the depth of our receivers and defensive backs with quality walk-ons, guys who we think could win a scholarship later,” Conklin said. “It was a huge push for us this season too just to help us with the numbers.”

Wofford played The Citadel in college football in Wofford on April 3, 2021. The score at the end of the match The Citadel 28 Wofford 24. Wofford head coach Josh Conklin on the pitch at the end of the match.

Drastic times have called for drastic action and with the changing landscape of transfers and roster building across the country as he prepares for his fourth season at the helm of Wofford, Conklin is going with the flow and admitted that he had lightly considered the transfer route in the past, but now his hand has been forced.

“We never went to look at the transfer or college route, but I think there are two things that really stood out that I kind of learned from going through this COVID virus in terms of depth, management off the list and stuff, ”Conklin mentioned. “It really made me re-evaluate the numbers we have in each group of positions. Making sure we have enough numbers to train the way we want to and also have enough quality guys to create more competition.

“With the one-time transfer rule in effect, I think this will be more of the reality of our business. We don’t want to live with transfers, but there is a place for transfers. There are stories there, a lot of kids playing football really well and when you go into the portal and start looking at them it let us fill in some holes and build some depth and they were a great fit so far. “

Conklin knows that adding graduate transfers will never be an option for his program and “that’s not a problem. We understand that it’s not who we are and it’s not our makeup as. than college. We’re working around that, where you would have them for a semester or a year and they finish their masters and move on. So it’s kind of a hitman mentality and it’s a free agency where you can fill a few holes and our process has to be a little different. We’re looking for a sophomore or a red shirt, trying to find those young guys who are trying to get close to home or want something different.

“I always felt like if we lost a guy to academics or he just didn’t make it out and didn’t want to be here, we would catch up with him in the next round of recruiting. I think. that this year COVID has really taught me that you don’t always have that time and that you have to find someone fast and much faster than that. “

Here are the six transfers added by Wofford last month with a seventh yet to be publicly announced:

DB Okachi Emmanwori (5-11, 183): The product Irmo has played the last two years at Presbyterian College

OL Anthony Garcia (6-3, 295): Played last season at Independence Community College in Kansas.

DL Romello Gray (6-2, 312): Played the past two years at Iowa Central.

DL Anthonie Lattany (6-4, 305): Played one season at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.

WR Devin Mathews (6-4, 230): Played the last two seasons at the Naval Academy.

OL Jason Swann (6-3, 310): Played last two seasons at ASA College in Florida

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