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Transfer Portal Roundup: Week 1

It’s been almost a year since the NCAA introduced the Transfer Portal, a system that gives student-athletes an easier way to seek playing opportunities elsewhere without needing permission from their coach.

As soon as the 2018 season ended, a number of Penn State players jumped at the opportunity. More than 15 players — including quarterback Tommy Stevens and wide receiver Juwan Johnson — ended up leaving, sending Penn State fans into a minor panic.

These former Nittany Lions suited up in their new colors this past weekend, and a few of them seem to already be enjoying their new roles. Here is a recap of how these transfers performed during week one with their new teams:

Tommy Stevens, Mississippi State

After two years of misguided “Put in Tommy!” chants at Beaver Stadium, it is finally Tommy Time…for Mississippi State.

Tommy Stevens’ first-ever collegiate start and reunion with former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead ended up being a successful Saturday afternoon. Stevens led the Bulldogs to a 38-28 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, throwing for 236 yards and two passing touchdowns, as well as a rushing touchdown.

Stevens showed the world that he has what it takes to be a starter, and didn’t crack under the pressure debuting in the massive Mercedes-Benz Superdome. But he still has a lot to prove, and will surely be tested when he faces SEC powerhouses like Auburn, Texas A&M, LSU, and Alabama later in the season.

Juwan Johnson, Oregon

Juwan Johnson sadly did not dress for Oregon’s upset loss against Auburn, sitting out because of a “tweaked muscle,” according to Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal.

Johnson is slotted as Oregon’s top receiver, so his absence Saturday was surely felt. Hopefully, he can remain healthy at Oregon and not fall victim to the same injury bug he caught while at Penn State.

Brandon Polk, James Madison

Polk caught four passes for 66 yards, had one rushing attempt for nine yards, and returned two kicks for 52 yards in James Madison’s 20-13 loss at West Virginia.

The Dukes have been a consistent presence in the Colonial Athletic Association over the past several seasons. Polk will be a valuable weapon in the team’s effort to win the conference this season.

Jarvis Miller, UMass

Originally from Springfield, Massachusetts, Jarvis Miller contributed four tackles in the Minutemen’s 48-21 loss to Rutgers.

Miller and the rest of his squad will try to bounce back from the ugly loss next weekend against Southern Illinois.

Zech McPhearson, Texas Tech

Zech McPhearson had a quiet first game with his new team, recording one solo tackle and a pass deflection in Texas Tech’s 45-10 victory over Montana State.

The cornerback and the rest of his squad have quite the schedule ahead of them. The Red Raiders will face Oklahoma, Texas, and TCU, among others, during the 2019 season.

Ayron Monroe, Temple

Ayron Monroe recorded two solo tackles in Temple’s 56-12 rout of Bucknell. The former Nittany Lion safety finished his Penn State career with 40 total tackles and will try to carve out an even more important role in his time as an Owl.

Temple will play Maryland next Saturday, so Monroe will get a chance to showcase his skills against a former Big Ten foe.

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About the Author

Matthew Ogden

Matthew Ogden is a senior double majoring in Marketing and Journalism. He resides in South Jersey and is the cohost of Onward State's podcast, Podward State, and the blog's preeminent expert on Kanye West. Email him your favorite Spotify playlists to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MattOgden98.

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