Ranking college football's top 50 transfers

Without the transfer portal, Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker doesn't lead the Vols past Alabama this season. In fact, the Vols might not be undefeated without him.

Hooker has worked his way into the Heisman conversation and is joined by USC's Caleb Williams, Washington's Michael Penix Jr. and a handful of other quarterbacks making a big splash this season.

It's not just quarterbacks, though, who are among the transfers leading stat sheets. Linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. has been a front-runner on the Cincinnati defense, and running backs such as Marshall's Khalan Laborn and Alabama's Jahmyr Gibbs are among the top 10 playmakers on offense when it comes to total yards from scrimmage.

Thousands of players entered the transfer portal last cycle, and the number of transfers contributing to their new teams is considerable enough that ESPN has ranked out its top 50 transfers from this season.

1. Hendon Hooker, QB

Transferred to Tennessee from Virginia Tech

It's hard to argue any transfer player has had more impact on their respective team than Hooker has with Tennessee. Hooker transferred from Virginia Tech before the 2021 season as Joe Milton III's backup. He replaced the injured Milton in the second game of last season and finished with 2,945 yards, 31 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, entering this season as the Vols' QB1.

Now, Hooker has taken the Vols to new heights, leading them to a 7-0 record and College Football Playoff hopes, defeating Alabama, LSU and Florida along the way. In those three games, Hooker threw for 973 yards and nine touchdowns, rushing for 224 more as well.

"[Hooker] played at an unbelievable level," Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said after the Vols upset then-No. 3 Alabama 52-49 on Oct. 15. "He's the key to our ignition."