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Transfers Get Ratings, and Oklahoma State Grades Out Pretty Well

How Josh Sills, Collin Clay and Christian Holmes will benefit Oklahoma State.



In February, I wrote about how transfer talent gets lost in the shuffle. Because there was no real way to gauge how good (or bad) the incoming talent was, we were left with incomplete ratings (and rankings) of football classes. This year’s transfer class was a good example with Christian Holmes (Mizzou), Collin Clay (Arkansas) and Josh Sills (West Virginia) all making their way to Stillwater.

These are three quality pieces — who could feasibly all play early and often (and doesn’t include LSU receiver Dee Anderson) — that had no rating other than what they were coming out of high school and didn’t count alongside the Shane Illingworths and Trent Pullens of the world.

While the latter portion of that is still true (the players still don’t affect the overall team ranking), the former has been amended. My homies over at 247Sports have assigned ratings to nearly 200 FBS transfers, and Oklahoma State has done well. First, a look at the methodology.

In setting out to rate the transfers, we tried to gather as much information as we could on the players. That meant starting with their initial ranking as a recruit out of high school. It’s a solid baseline since we trust our process.

It also requires looking at a player’s production, both in terms of stats and watching him on video. Context also had to be applied to that production. If a player is transferring from a G5 or lower division school even to a P5 program, the same level of production should not be assumed due to the increase in competition quality.

Finally, we leaned heavily on our experts and especially our network of team site writers. Because transfers have been in school, our team of beat writers have seen them in person and often also know what the coaching staff either at the former or new school feels about the player. Over the course of 500+ emails and several phone calls, we got what we were looking for. [247]

Only 15 transfers received a four-star transfer rating (nobody got a five-star rating), and Oklahoma State landed one of those in Sills. Here’s a look at OSU’s three incoming players, what they were ranked out of high school and what their new transfer rankings are.

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That’s three really quality pieces that, again, don’t count toward Oklahoma State’s 2020 class ranking. That would be the next logical step in this process, but even having individual ratings here is a good first one.

For the sake of context, here’s how 247 defines each of these ratings (this can be applied to both high schoolers and college transfers).

• Four-stars (90-97 rating): These are players that we believe are the most likely to produce college careers that get them drafted. By National Signing Day, this number is typically in the range of 350 prospects, roughly the top 10 percent of prospects in a given class.

• A high three-star (87-89): is considered a player with significant NFL upside who expect to be an impact college football player.

• A mid three-star (84-86): is a player that we consider to be a capable starter for a Power Five football team and an impact player at the Group of Five level.

• A low three-star (80-83): is a player that we consider to be a potential contributor at a Power Five program but a probable Group of Five starter with impact potential. [247]

Sills made a significant leap from his high school rating to his college performance and is considered a four-star guy now (again, one of just 15 such players who transferred). Clay was mildly downgraded from high school but is a borderline four-star player. And Holmes is about what we thought he would be — a “capable starter for a P5 program.”

This is the hidden benefit of leveraging the transfer portal, which — despite Gundy’s critiques of it — OSU has done pretty well over the past few years.

And while none of these players will likely make a difference between a Big 12 title and not a Big 12 title, they could all still serve as significant building blocks in an industry where you’re beginning to find them in a wide variety of locations.

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