And other MACtion notes from the transfer portal.
6 NIU PLAYERS ENTERED PORTAL ON FRIDAY
Not an #ad, but if you’re not following 247sports.com’s transfer portal account on Twitter, you’re missing out. The latest:
That’s a lot of guys leaving all on the same day. In fairness, most of the names listed in that tweet will join their new programs as graduate students. When it comes to graduate transfers, I tend not to make damning declarations about The State of Program X when kids get their degrees and try their once-in-a-lifetime ticket to play college football, or even simply attend college, at a different college. I also don’t feel comfortable saying any transfer move was good or bad based on what I think about the new school a student attends. I have no agency over any of these kids’ futures, and it’s almost always never worth toiling over from my chair at home.
That said, lots of guys just don’t want to stay at NIU. By my count, 17 players from NIU’s roster have entered their names to the transfer portal this offseason. Those 17 departures, by last name:
- CB, Mark Aitken (now at Eastern Illinois)
- DT, Miles Baggett
- RB, Nazareth Bryant
- CB, Romel Goston
- QB, Andrew Haidet (now at Southwest Minnesota State)
- CB, J.D. Harris (now at Chattanooga)
- CB, Tyrik Henderson (now at Iowa Western Community College)
- LB, Cortez Hogans (now at Snow College)
- DT, Weston Kramer
- LB, Vinny Labus
- WR, Michael Love (now at Iowa Western Community College)
- RB, Jyran Mitchell
- WR, Leon Payne
- TE, Maximillian Thrower
- WR, Dennis Robinson
- CB, Antwain Walker
- DE, Caleb Wright
Not all of these 17 players are transferring out of NIU as graduate students. Most of the listed transfers-out are still without a degree and are trying to get their football careers going elsewhere. I can’t say if these guys think they have bigger plans than what NIU and the MAC have for them, I can’t say if these guys just don’t like their current surroundings, and I can’t say if any of this will or won’t pay off for the Huskie football program in the long run.
What I do know is that of NIU’s 17 transfers out, DT Weston Kramer is the only starter on either side of the ball to go. So maybe NIU isn’t losing starters during a unique offseason where seniors can choose to come back if they want (Ball State’s got 16 seniors coming back), but, for better or for worse, it’s losing depth at a lot of different positions.
KEVIN MARKS AIN’T LEAVING
Junior RB Kevin Marks for Buffalo put his name in the transfer portal for just one week. According to 247sports’ Chris Hummer, Marks had heard from bigger schools like North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and UCLA during the portal process. No clue what was said, but in the end, Marks withdrew his name and will be back at Buffalo.
Marks is definitely one of the most talented backs in the MAC, and the fact that he’s coming back gives the Bulls more hope heading into 2021. That position group with Ron Cook Jr. and Dylan McDuffie (and more) behind him makes it one of the league’s deepest.
KYRON MCKINNIE-HARPER OUT AT CMU
A complicated story here. Let’s start with this: Kyron McKinnie-Harper came in as one of the better class of 2019 cornerback recruits from Detroit for Central Michigan and is now leaving the school as a transfer.
McKinnie-Harper made nine starts as a true freshman (11 games), logged 36 tackles, 10 pass breakups, and forced two fumbles. He was destined for more success on the field, but soon after found himself in serious legal trouble. I’ll defer to 247sports’ Chris Hummer for the wording because I’m not gonna be the one to explain this incorrectly:
As of September, McKinnie-Harper was no longer enrolled at Central Michigan and was granted Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) status, according to CMU’s student newspaper. Offenders reportedly enter a guilty plea and “are designated “youthful trainee status” and must successfully complete the terms of their probation. If successful, the offense is removed from a person’s criminal record. Court records of the case are sealed.”
McKinnie-Harper QMs charged with one felony larceny count of more than $1,000, less than $20,000. Conviction could result in 5 years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen property. He also faces two misdemeanor larceny counts of $200, less than $1,000. A conviction is punishable by 1 year in jail and/or fines of up to $2,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen property. Using a computer to commit a crime is a felony that could result in 4-to-10 years in prison.