Dienhart: Look for these transfers to make an impact in 2017
You may have forgotten about these players. They are the four-year transfers, guys who sat out last season after leaving another school. Now, they are eligible to play.
Here are six with the best shots to make big impacts in 2017.
RB Chris James, Wisconsin. With Corey Clement gone, the Badgers need help at running back. Enter James, a transfer from Pitt. He and Bradrick Shaw likely will be the 1-2 punch, with Taiwan Deal factoring in, as well. James played in 23 games at Pitt from 2014-15 and was recruited there by Paul Chryst.
QB Tanner Lee, Nebraska. He turned heads while sitting out after bolting Tulane, flashing a big-time arm to go along with a 6-4 frame. Lee beat out redshirt freshman Patrick O’Brien for the job in the spring. Lee made 19 starts in 2014 and 2015 at Tulane. In 2015, Lee started nine games and threw for 1,639 yards and 11 touchdowns, while completing 52 percent of his passes. Don’t be shocked if he’s one of the Big Ten’s top signal-callers this fall.
WR Ahmir Mitchell, Rutgers. He left Michigan and transferred closer to home. The former four-star recruit is a top talent for a receiving corps that needs help. Alas, Mitchell suffered an ACL injury in the spring but is expected back in the fall, when he will team with brother Damon, who is a grad transfer from Arkansas.
CB Nick Nelson, Wisconsin. It’s a long way from Hawaii to Wisconsin, but Nelson made the trek. And he’ll likely be the starting corner opposite Derrick Tindal. Nelson will replace Sojourn Shelton, who who was a first-team All-Big Ten pick last year and set the school record for games started (51) and signed with the Arizona Cardinals. Nelson started 21 games at corner for Hawaii from 2014-15. He’s a good one.
TE Jerome Washington, Rutgers. The 6-4, 253-pound Miami (Fla.) transfer is closer to home at RU. He saw a bit of action in Coral Gables before leaving. Washington was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and could be a weapon for an offense desperate for weapons.
WR Keyan Williams, Nebraska. He will add depth to a Husker wideout corps that lost some talent, including Jordan Westerkamp. Williams saw a bit of action at Fresno State before leaving for Lincoln. He is the son of Nebraska receivers coach Keith Williams.