The transfer portal is college football’s most controversial, unpredictable, and ever-changing tool. After a 2021 rule change that eliminated the requirement for transferring athletes to sit out a year before being eligible to play again, this postseason portal activity is exploding.
While the portal used to look like a bunch of third-string athletes hoping to get a better shot at seeing the field elsewhere, the culture has entirely changed under this new rule, with starting QBs running here, there, and everywhere. Oklahoma starting QB, and Heisman hopeful, Caleb Williams, shocked the world earlier this week by deciding to throw his hat into the ring. And while these transfers may appear totally random and unpredictable, avid CFB fans on TikTok and online message boards have been doing some analysis in the way that only college football disciples can. Some may call it insanity, yet I call it devoted. Let’s take a look at what they have to say.
Enter the Girlfriend Transfer Portal Theory (GTPT). Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez was the first to go after leading the Huskers to the greatest 3-9 season the world had ever seen. He announced he was transferring to Kansas State on December 16, which just so happens to be the same school that his girlfriend Marisa Weichel plays soccer for. USC QB Kedon Slovis was the next to go, announcing his commitment to Pitt, where his girlfriend Kate McKay also plays soccer.
One TikTok user pointed out that even Wyoming quarterback Levi Williams transferred to Utah State — where, you guessed it, his girlfriend studies. Williams proposed to her three days ago.
So the question everyone is asking remains: can this theory be applied to the biggest news of this year’s transfer portal in Caleb Williams? Williams’ girlfriend Valery Orellana attends the University of North Carolina, a school that just lost its star starting quarterback. The Tar Heels, however, also just finished 7-6, so while he might bring a needed boost to their offense, it would shock me if an elite QB like Williams would choose a program like UNC’s based solely on his girlfriend’s presence there. You never know, but perhaps this theory can provide a look into other possibilities on the east coast that would bring Williams closer to Chapel Hill.
Obviously, it would be the funniest thing that ever happened if Williams followed Spencer Rattler to South Carolina, but he won’t do it. So if we’re staying within the bounds of the GTPT, there are a couple options to consider.
I could see Williams going to Clemson (in need of an elite quarterback after a disappointing season under DJ Uiagalelei), which is a little over four hours from UNC by car. Georgia QB Stetson Bennett is a senior, and with the way the Dawgs have been looking this year, Athens could be another solid option for Williams — if a bit further out from Chapel Hill. If he’s willing to give Maryland a shot, with a solid staff of former Alabama coaches, he’d be less than five hours from UNC, and close to his home in Washington, D.C.
Realistically, he may end up thousands of miles away following Lincoln Riley to USC. Only time will tell if the theory holds true for the best of the best.