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The transfer portal era forever changed college football as the task of assembling a roster is increasingly more difficult for coaching staffs unsure of which players are staying or going ahead of the next season. The recent 2023-24 transfer portal cycle witnessed a record-setting number of entries with almost 3,900 players opting to explore other opportunities. For comparison, that exceeded the previous record by more than 300.

Not every college football program was impacted as much as others during the two transfer windows that took place this winter and spring, but every power conference team except for Nebraska suffered double-digit departures. Most of the teams that experienced the highest number of entries were those that underwent a change at head coach following the 2023 season. That is true in the Big Ten, where the two teams with the most departures are breaking in new coaches. 

t-1. Indiana: 39 transfer portal departures

Coach Curt Cignetti is tasked with building Indiana into a respectable college football program as the competition level in the Big Ten increases with expansion in 2024. The new head coach of the Hoosiers seemed to clean house upon his arrival in Bloomington after five successful seasons at James MadisonIndiana witnessed another wave of transfer portal departures during the spring window, pushing the total number of losses to 39. Starting quarterback Brendan Sorsby, top running back Trent Howland as well as starting safeties Phillip Dunman and Louis Moore are among the notable departures from the portal cycle. Indiana has 29 incoming transfers for the 2024 roster.

More: Indiana set to receive visit from 5-star USC QB commit Julian Lewis

t-1. Michigan State: 39 transfer portal departures

There is immense potential for Michigan State under new head coach Jonathan Smith, but the rebuild process could take time after the Spartans lost 39 transfers to the portal, with most of those leaving during the spring window. The group of recent departures included a trio of defensive starters from last season — linemen Derrick Harmon and Simeon Barrow Jr., as well as safety Jaden Mangham. That is on top of the six Michigan State starters that entered during the winter window. The Spartans still have work to do and only have 17 incoming transfers. The Spartans were listed as one of the portal's biggest spring cycle losers

t-3. USC: 29 transfer portal departures

After a disappointing 2023 season in which USC failed to capitalize on a potential conference championship window with Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams at quarterback, the Trojans made it a point to upgrade at various positions and completely revamp the defense. That resulted in a large number of transfer portal departures, including double-digit exits during the recent spring window. Most of the notable portal losses came from the defensive side with linebacker Tackett Curtis and cornerback Domani Jackson among the starters leaving Los Angeles. USC also lost former five-star freshman quarterback Malachi Nelson as a transfer. USC's incoming transfer class entails 15 players. 

t-3. Washington: 29 transfer portal departures

Washington was already dealing with a high attrition rate with most of its key contributors from a national runner-up roster headed to the NFL. Then head coach Kalen DeBoer left for Alabama and the flood of transfer portal departures began. The Huskies had seven additional starters leave the program via the transfer portal. That wiped out the remaining starters on offense and left just a few coming back on defense. Offensive lineman Parker Brailsford and standout cornerback Jabbar Muhammad were the two highest-rated losses. New head coach Jedd Fisch was able to restore some of the talent level with more than 20 incoming transfers and counting for 2024.

How the rest of the Big Ten teams stack up

The Boilermakers lost 28 players to the transfer portal, but only two of those players should be seen as titanic losses: Defensive end Nic Scourton, one of the conference's top sackmasters, is off to Texas A&M, while receiver Deion Burks transferred to Oklahoma
The Buckeyes lost 25 players to the transfer portal, but that's what happens when you have unexpected returns and even some surprise portal hits like safety Caleb Downs, running back Quinshon Judkins and even freshman quarterback Julian Sayin. The Buckeyes will gladly take those players. Ohio State's portal departures is headlined by quarterback Kyle McCord, who's transferring to Syracuse
The Badgers lost 23 players to the transfer portal. Nobody rated as a four-star transfer, per 247Sports, so this was probably a healthy cleanse by second-year coach Luke Fickell. 
The Fighting Illini lost 22 players to the transfer portal. Only one player rated as a four-star transfer, so not a bad slate of departures for Illinois, but they'll miss running back Reggie Love, who started seven games in 2023. Love transferred to Purdue
The Ducks lost 20 players to the transfer portal. Only six players landed at the Power Four, though uncommitted tackle transfer Johnny Bowens is getting interest from several notable programs. 
The Golden Gophers lost 18 players to the transfer portal. This includes the Kaliakmanis brothers, who transferred to Rutgers. Athan will open the 2024 season as the Scarlet Knights' starter. 
The Wolverines lost 17 players to the transfer portal during their coaching transition from Jim Harbaugh to Sherrone Moore. Consider that number a massive win for Moore -- several other power programs were circling as poachers. Safety Keon Sabb transferring to Alabama is a loss, though, as Michigan revamps its safety room. 
The Bruins lost 17 players to the transfer portal during their coaching change from Chip Kelly to DaShaun Foster. One story of the cycle is UCLA managed to convince three players to withdraw from the portal and return to Westwood, including starting defensive tackle Jay Toia. Another story, though, is the loss of heralded quarterback Dante Moore, who transferred to Oregon while Kelly was still coach. 
Rutgers only lost 15 players to the transfer portal. Quarterback Gavin Wimsatt lost the battle and transferred to Kentucky (kudos to coach Greg Schiano for making the decision before the portal closed). Only one other player is headed to a Power Four school, which means Schiano did a nice job of player retention this year. 
Iowa officially lost 13 players to the transfer portal, a number that includes Kadyn Proctor, who never suited up for the Hawkeyes but did enroll at Iowa after transferring in from Alabama. Proctor of course transferred back to Alabama during the spring window. Strange times indeed. 
Maryland only lost 13 players to the transfer portal, but there are some tough losses: Linebacker Jaishawn Barham left for Michigan, tight end Rico Walker transferred to Auburn and a handful more chose Power Four destinations such as NC State and Cal. 
Penn State suffered minimal portal departures at only 13, though a few profile as important players. Keandre Lambert-Smith led the Nittany Lions in receiving in 2023 and safety King Mack was a top-100 recruit in the 2023 recruiting class. 
Northwestern only lost 12 players to the transfer portal after removing the interim tag from coach David Braun. Outgoing quarterback Brendan Sullivan was a disappointing loss (he transferred to Iowa), but the Wildcats have his replacement in incoming transfer Mike Wright. Departing transfers committed to Michigan, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Duke and Arizona, plus a few other Group of Five destinations. 
Nebraska actually led all of college football in lack of transfer portal departures with eight. The headliner is quarterback Jeff Sims (Arizona State), but he did not factor into Matt Rhule's quarterback room.