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By Craig Haley, FCS Exec. Director - Archive - Email
FBS-to-FCS transfers to watch
The top FBS-to-FCS transfers include Stony Brook RB Marcus Coker (L)
from Iowa and Eastern Washington QB Kyle Padron (R) from SMU.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - A transfer energizes a fanbase like little else during the offseason in the Football Championship Subdivision.

If their favorite school is willing to take on such a newcomer from a Bowl Subdivision program, fans reason that he must be a special player and will make an impact without any doubt.

Many times, it pans out that way. Last year's Walter Payton Award winner, Eastern Washington quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, who also led the Eagles to the 2010 FCS national championship, was the epitome of what a school can gain in a highly regarded transfer.

Not all transfers will be hits, of course - some will be a swing-and-a-miss for a school.

At this time of the year, though, fans came dream big with their team's new addition.

Following are FBS-to-FCS transfers to watch this season:

D.J. Adams, RB, Portland State (from Maryland) - Graduation depleted the Vikings' running game, but they hope Adams is an immediate cure. He scored 11 touchdowns for a Maryland freshman record in 2010, but his playing time decreased last year under first-year Terrapins coach Randy Edsall (only 40 carries). At 5-foot-10, 220 pounds, Adams was often used in short-yardage situations, but his power style fits the Vikings' system, and that will increase his touches.

Tyrone Bouie, CB, Bethune-Cookman (from Minnesota) - Bouie didn't play much in two seasons at Minnesota, but he's back home in a warmer climate and ready to make an impact in the Wildcats' secondary. He has an aggressive style of play, breaking well on the ball and giving support in run coverage. Part of a big class of transfers to coach Brian Jenkins' program, Bouie has three seasons of eligibility remaining.

Marcus Coker, RB, Stony Brook (from Iowa) - Seawolves coach Chuck Priore hit the FBS-to-FCS jackpot by adding Coker, who rushed for 1,384 yards, trailing only Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball of Wisconsin in the Big Ten, and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore last season. He is a 5-11, 230-pound bruiser who will be one of the top FCS prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft, unless he leaves school early next year. He will join Miguel Maysonet in another dominant Stony Brook backfield, which cushions the loss of Brock Jackolski, who accounted for more than 2,400 combined yards last season.

Braden Hanson, QB, North Dakota (from North Carolina) - Hanson only has one season of eligibility remaining, but the Fighting Sioux believe that's enough to help them transition into the Big Sky Conference and groom their younger quarterbacks. The final co-champs from the Great West Conference had a porous passing game a year ago, but Hanson, a 6-6, 215-pound left-hander, will see over tall linemen and get the ball down the field. He was the 2007 North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year.

Trent Hurley, QB, Delaware (from Bowling Green) - The starting quarterback at Delaware is little like center fielder for the New York Yankees - it's a position always revered, yet under the microscope. There's no guarantee that Hurley will be QB 1 for coach K.C. Keeler, but he will have an opportunity to win the job in preseason camp. He seriously considered going to Delaware before he enrolled at Bowling Green and now has three seasons of eligibility remaining. He has good arm strength and runs the ball effectively.

Jordan Love, CB, Towson (from Georgia) and Darrell Givens, S, Towson (from Rutgers) - Eddie Robinson Award winner Rob Ambrose needed to improve his secondary this offseason and he secured answers with Love and Givens, who both have two seasons of eligibility remaining. They were highly regarded coming out of high school, Love from Maryland and Givens from New Jersey. Love has more playing experience, having appeared in 21 career games, with 21 tackles and two forced fumbles.

Mika'il McCall, RB, Southern Illinois (from Iowa) - McCall came out of spring practice listed at No. 3 on the Salukis' depth chart at running back, but McCall will work his way into regular duty. He follows former Salukis running back Jewel Hampton in the Iowa-to-SIU transfer. McCall rushed for 61 yards on nine carries in Iowa's season opener against Tennessee Tech last year before he suffered a broken ankle. When he returned to the field, he was a disgruntled backup who was suspended for the Hawkeyes' final two games. He has three seasons of eligibility remaining.

Jonathon Miller, RB, Illinois State (from Oklahoma) and Ezra Thompson, S, Illinois State (from Colorado State) - His recovery from shoulder surgery may force Miller to miss the start of the Redbirds' season, but he could be their starting running back when he returns to the lineup. He was lightly used at Oklahoma, but did damage against an FCS opponent, rushing for 88 yards and a 36-yard touchdown against Idaho State in 2009. Like Miller, Thompson has two years of eligibility remaining and he is expected to start at strong safety. The former Illinois high school standout made 52 tackles in two seasons at Colorado State. He was a ball-hawk during the Redbirds' spring practices.

Kyle Padron, QB, Eastern Washington (from SMU) - The story is so unique: Padron replaced Mitchell as SMU's starting quarterback during the 2009 season, later lost the job and now is following Mitchell's lead to EWU, where after transferring in Mitchell won an FCS title and a Walter Payton Award. Padron, who's 6-4, 233 pounds, will excel in the Eagles' passing attack, which has a dominant group of wide receivers. He's quite mobile and likes to air the ball out. At SMU, he threw for 5,902 yards and 41 touchdowns.

Lynden Trail, OLB, Norfolk State (from Florida) - Trail needs to start making news on the field rather than off it. The defending MEAC champion Spartans think he can after switching him from defensive end to a 6-7, 250-pound outside linebacker during spring practice. Trail drew ire over a MySpace photo of him in eighth grade in gang apparel. He also was arrested on an assault charge this spring. As a player, he never took the field at Florida, but the Miami resident is the most highly recruited player in Norfolk State's Division I era.

Dontel Watkins, WR Murray State (from Utah State) - Utah State tried to switch the former JUCO transfer from wide receiver to cornerback last year, but he's back to the position in which he excels most for a senior season at Murray State. The 6-2 Watkins will be a great target for quarterback Casey Brockman and has reminded some of former Racers wideout Marcus Harris. In 2010, Watkins played in 12 games for Utah State, making nine starts, and led the team in receptions (42), receiving yards (492) and touchdown receptions (four). He also can return kickoffs.

Remember the JUCOs
Don't overlook transfers from junior colleges can make as much of an impact as an FBS transfer. Here's one to watch this season:

Kenny Cook, WR, Gardner-Webb (from Garden City Community College) - The Runnin' Bulldogs hope the next three seasons go as well for the 6-foot-4, 216-pound Cook as they did this spring. He caught five passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns in their spring game. Perry will help replace James Perry III, the all-time receptions leader in the Big South Conference. Perry sat out his sophomore season of high school after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.