How college football's transfer portal has turned into NFL-style free agency on another level

Shane Beamer had an opportunity to transform South Carolina's roster this offseason, and he took it. Like most coaches, Beamer targeted the transfer portal and tried to find players with experience that could help his team win at a faster rate than just recruiting high school recruits.

He signed former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler and tight end Austin Stogner, Central Michigan safety Devonni Reed, former Georgia running back Lovasea Carroll and receiver Antwane Wells Jr., among a handful of others.

More than 2,000 FBS players have entered the transfer portal in 2021 and 2022, in what has become a secondary recruiting tool for coaches across the country. Beamer did what nearly every other coach in the country is doing, by taking advantage of the quantity and quality.

"It's never ending and it's just one of the million things you're balancing," Beamer told reporters in February. "The portal, your own roster, high school recruiting, your staff, it's an endless ball of fun."

The opportunity for players to transfer one time without penalty has created a free-agency frenzy with college football rosters turning over at a higher rate than they ever have. The portal has added a whole new element to the evaluation process to try to build the best roster they can build.

"It's a s--- show," one Power 5 personnel director said of the transfer portal.

"Imagine it's like the NFL and every person was potentially a free agent after every season," the personnel director said. "How do you build a culture at that point when you're rebuilding every offseason? We've had to start thinking more like NFL teams and adapt to how we do everything."

It's more complicated than just waiting for a player to enter the portal, reaching out and hoping for the best. A ton of work is put into the evaluation process, the recruitment, avoiding penalties for tampering with players who aren't yet in the portal and ultimately succeeding with the high-impact transfers that could change a roster overnight.