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IOWA CITY — Kirk Ferentz expects most of the Iowa players who have entered the transfer portal — eight scholarship players as of Wednesday afternoon — “probably won’t be back with us.”
But the Iowa football coach said it is “possible” for a player who departed via the transfer portal to rejoin the team.
“I don't think there will be a high number of those, at least in our program,” Ferentz said Sunday.
Iowa does not have a one-size-fits-all rule for players coming back from the portal.
“Our approach will be we'll look at each and every individual case,” Ferentz said.
Former Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon, now in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers, is an example of a player who entered the portal before returning to Iowa.
Some of the players leaving Iowa are “very firm in their thinking,” Ferentz said.
“Amazingly a couple of them already had, I think, a destination in mind,” Ferentz said. “That's good. It's good they have a home.”
But “not everybody's a hundred percent,” Ferentz said.
“That's kind of my encouragement when I talked to the team yesterday,” Ferentz said Sunday, “was just take some time here, deliberately take some time over the next few days and make sure if you want to be here, you're here.”
Recent data shows cases of players not always having positive outcomes after entering the transfer portal.
Charlie Jones was the epitome of how the portal can help someone when he left Iowa and became an all-Big Ten wide receiver at Purdue.
But there are other cases like quarterback Deuce Hogan, who left a scholarship at Iowa and ended up as a walk-on at Kentucky.
In 2020 and 2021, only 54 percent of FBS football players who entered the transfer portal found a home at another NCAA school, according to NCAA data. Five percent returned to their original school.
Among the athletes to find a new home, 14 percent went from an FBS school to a Division II or Division III school.
“The bigger issue in this whole thing is a couple months from now, how many guys are going to be homeless in terms of leaving a scholarship situation and then ending up without one?” Ferentz said. “But that's a different discussion.”