“This transfer portal thing, I don’t think is good,” Kiffin said. “I’m not saying you shouldn’t be able to transfer. I’m saying that it became a sexy thing to do. I can get in this portal so I can get some attention. We’re in a generation of just wanting attention no matter what. So now I can go in this [portal], get an article written about me, and get re-recruited because I don’t like exactly how something’s going.”
Kiffin made the comments Wednesday following the Owls first spring practice.
A high number of offseason transfers depleted FAU’s depth this spring, particularly at wide receiver. DeAndre McNeal and Desean Holmes both elected to transfer and Adrian Bryant, who signed in December, also left the school, likely to transfer.
Last year’s leading receiver, Jovon Durante, entered the NFL draft. Auburn transfer Kyle Davis effectively failed out of FAU and signed with the CFL.
“We’ve got kids out there that we just found in school the other week playing receiver, running routes,” Kiffin said.
Complicating matters for FAU is the NCAA’s cap that prevents teams from bringing more than 25 scholarship players to campus as part of a given class.
The high number of transfers, combined with the early entrants into the NFL draft and a large graduating senior class from 2019 make it impossible for FAU to achieve the maximum allowable scholarship limit of 85.
Kiffin said the transfer and scholarship rules have player safety implications.
“You’re going to see rosters around the country that are not at 85 and they wont be able to get to 85,” Kiffin said. “What do you do if you have 25 seniors and 10 guys transfer, that’s 35 off your roster but you’re capped at 25? I think you have an issues. That’s really opposite of what has been the new thing to do which is player safety, getting more players on the field so players don’t play as many snaps. Now this portal’s making that go backwards.”
Quarterback De’Andre Johnson of Last Chance U fame transferred from FAU this offseason, as did reserve offensive lineman William Tuihalamaka. Dacoda Weaver and Zach Bennett, two more reserve linemen, are no longer on the roster but it is unclear whether they elected to transfer.
Kiffin made liberal use of transfers during his first two seasons as FAU’s coach, bringing in the likes of wide receivers John Franklin and Davis from Auburn, defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni from Pitt, center Junior Diaz from Tulane and guard Antonio Riles from Florida.
Two days ago Auburn offensive lineman Calvin Ashley announced his intention to transfer to FAU for next season.