Summer hasn’t slowed the Transfer Portal and several Conference USA Football programs have benefited from new additions over the past few weeks.
Players have come and gone this offseason with each and every Conference USA football program feeling the good and the bad enacted upon it by the Transfer Portal. Here are three new additions within the Conference over the course of the last few weeks who could play meaningful roles on the field this season.
North Texas – QB Grant Gunnell (Memphis)
The starter at Arizona in 2019, Gunnell transferred to Memphis last year but missed the 2021 season with a leg injury. Now healthy, Gunnell opted for the portal where he received a good amount of interest before landing in Denton with the Mean Green.
Gunnell threw for 1,864 yards in 12 appearances with Arizona, tossing 15 touchdowns with just three interceptions. A highly sought-after recruit coming out of high school, Gunnell will have a legitimate chance to win the starting job at North Texas this season and could be extremely productive in Seth Littrell’s system.
UTSA – RB Trelon Smith (Arkansas)
With no Sincere McCormick lining up in the backfield in San Antonio, it always seemed plausible UTSA would add another running back to the fold, but Trelon Smith isn’t just another body to pad the depth chart.
A former Cy Ridge product and Arkansas transfer Smith led the Razorbacks’ running backs in carries and yards in each of the past two seasons, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and scoring 10 touchdowns. Smith will get plenty of work with the Roadrunners this season and could find his way into contention for a few Conference USA football offensive awards.
Rice – OL John Hughes (West Virginia)
A former starter at West Virginia, Hughes will compete for a starting job in Houston among a front five that ended spring on a high note. Rice started and finished spring with the same starting five and didn’t appear to be in the market for a proven transfer until now.
The Owls’ feelings on the matter clearly changed when someone with Hughes’ resume became available this late in the cycle. Hughes will join wide receiver Isaiah Esdale, a former WVU teammate, at Rice this coming season.
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