JMU Football Transfer Portal Tracker

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

It’s the JMU football offseason, which means Transfer Portal SZN is in full effect. The Dukes are actively looking to add talent to their 2023 roster, so we’ll do our best to track major events in the portal.

We’ll aim to update this article regularly (although holidays, day jobs, etc. can make it tough!) over the next month.

Fresh off an 8-3 season in their first year at the FBS level, the Dukes are an attractive choice for many portal entrants. At the same time, we expect players to leave JMU, whether it be for a Power Five opportunity or simply more playing time.

Transfer Portal Additions

Here’s a list of notable players the Dukes have added in the portal, broken down by position.

Quarterbacks

Name: Jordan McCloud

Former team: Arizona and South Florida

Size: 6′ and 200 lbs

Years of eligibility: Two

Analysis: He’s a talented player with good mobility, and he’s a top candidate to start at quarterback for the Dukes in 2023.

He’s completed 59.6% of his passes for 3,251 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions over the course of his college career. He’s also added 432 yards and five scores on the ground.

McCloud gives JMU experience at quarterback, which the position group needs with Todd Centeio graduating. Cignetti has done well to develop quarterbacks, so there’s a lot to like with McCloud’s experience and athleticism.

News coverage: The Daily News-Record caught up with McCloud after his announcement.


Name: Brett Griffis

Former team: Wake Forest

Size: 6′ and 185 lbs

Years of eligibility: Four

Analysis: Griffis didn’t play at Wake Forest, but he was a three-star recruit coming out of high school. Griffis, who played high school football in Virginia, received offers from Colorado, Georgia Southern, and Old Dominion once he entered the transfer portal.

Griffis figures to be in the mix to start in 2023, although Jordan McCloud’s experience makes him the likely favorite to start. At the very least, Curt Cignetti and company like Griffis as a depth piece and potential future starter.

JMU struggled last season when Todd Centeio went down with injury. The additions of McCloud and Griffis gives JMU improved depth at the position. It also brings the futures of Alonza Barnett III and Billy Atkins into question.

News coverage: The DNR caught up with Griffis.

Running backs

Name: Ty Son Lawton

Former team: Stony Brook

Size: 5’10” and 215 lbs

Years of eligibility: One

Analysis: Lawton rushed for 2,102 yards and 21 touchdowns in 27 games played with the Seawolves. He’s a dynamic rusher with a nice blend of speed and power.

JMU doesn’t lack talent at running back, but Lawton adds depth to the room. He joins a group with notable players like Kaelon Black and Latrele Palmer. Black and Palmer have proven their abilities, so the addition of Lawson gives JMU three experienced and talented running backs with track records of success. The Dukes are expected to have one of the best running back rooms in the Sun Belt in 2023.

News coverage: TBA

Wide receivers

Name: Phoenix Sproles

Former team: North Dakota State

Size: 6’1″ and 190 lbs

Years of eligibility: One

Analysis: A North Dakota State transfer, Sproles offers speed and decent size. He caught 61 passes for over 800 yards and five touchdowns while with the Bison. He joined the NDSU program in 2018, so he’s accustomed to winning, a fact that shouldn’t be completely overlooked as the Dukes look to become the best Group of Five team in the country.

Sproles even scored a TD against JMU in the 2019-20 FCS national championship.

Sproles adds depth to a WR room in need of added experience in 2023. Kris Thornton, Devin Ravenel, and Terrance Green Jr. all graduated, leaving the Dukes with several unproven underclassmen and key returner Reggie Brown.

News coverage: The DNR spoke to Sproles after he announced his plan to attend JMU in 2023.


Name: Omarion Dollison

Former team: South Florida

Size: 5’9″ and 185 lbs

Years of eligibility: Two

Analysis: Dollison caught 60 passes for 666 yards and one touchdown across three seasons with USF. He played with Jordan McCloud in 2020, giving JMU’s transfer quarterback a familiar receiver.

While his stats at USF weren’t eye popping, Dollison has potential. He’s athletic and quick with good ball skills. Given JMU’s losses at wide receiver, adding Sproles and Dollison gives the Dukes a pair of veteran receivers with solid potential. They’re building up the position.


Name: Elijah Sarratt

Former team: Saint Francis

Size: 6’3″ and 205 lbs

Years of eligibility: Three

Analysis: The talented wide receiver is the younger brother of JMU safety Josh Sarratt, so he’ll have the added comfort of playing with his brother in 2023. That’s a plus for him, and his commitment is a massive plus for JMU’s wide receiver room.

Sarratt caught 42 passes for 700 yards and 13 touchdown passes in his freshman season with Saint Franics. He’s a rare transfer who has the ability to make an impact immediately while also having three years of eligibility left. He possesses size and speed, making him a dynamic option for the Dukes on the outside for years to come.

JMU has added a boatload of talent at wide receiver in the portal, and the Dukes are still expected to return Reggie Brown, among others. JMU has quality offensive weapons.

News coverage: TBA

Tight ends

Name: Taylor Thompson

Former team: Charlotte

Size: 6’3″ and 220 lbs

Years of eligibility: Two

Analysis: Thompson played three seasons with the 49ers, snagging 44 receptions for 580 yards and two touchdowns. He adds depth to JMU’s tight end room, which loses Drew Painter. JMU does return Zach Horton, who played well in 2022.


Name: Kyi Wright

Former team: Pitt

Size: 6’3″ and 265 lbs

Years of eligibility: Two

Analysis: Another potential weapon in the tight end room, Wright is a big dude. While he only has four career receptions, he has solid size and was a three-star recruit out of high school. JMU doesn’t ask for much from its tight ends, but Wright has the physical tools to contribute as a blocker and a wide receiver.

I never anticipate JMU feeding its tight end passes, but they’re able to succeed for a couple catches here and there, often via play action. Wright will have to compete to earn playing time, but I like the addition.

Defensive lineman

Name: Immanuel Bush

Former team: Marshall

Size: 6’1″ and 290 lbs

Years of eligibility: Three years of eligibility left, per the Daily News-Record.

Analysis: Sun Belt theft! The Dukes add a talented defensive lineman from a Sun Belt East peer. Bush recorded 17 tackles, including three tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks last season. Bush adds depth along the defensive line, and he performed well against JMU and Coastal Carolina (nine tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks) in 2022.

The Dukes should be solid along the defensive front in 2023, and Bush figures to compete for time immediately.

Local news coverage: The DNR chatted with Bush about his commitment.

Defensive backs

Name: Tre’Von Jones

Former team: Elon

Size: 6′ and 175 lbs

Years of eligibility: One

Analysis: Jones played in 38 career games for Elon, recording 185 tackles, 15 pass breakups, and three interceptions. He’s played well in the CAA throughout his entire collegiate career, and he brings tremendous experience to the secondary.

JMU is expected to return notable talent in the secondary, such as safeties Francis Meehan, Josh Sarratt, and Que Reid. At cornerback, Chauncey Logan played a key role as a true freshman, and there are several other talented young cornerbacks on the roster, including Brent Austin.

While the Dukes return talent, pass defense was the team’s No. 1 weakness. Jones will have to compete for playing time in a crowded secondary, but his experience is quite valuable. He’ll have a chance to play in 2023.

News coverage: TBA

Specialists

Name: Ryan Hanson, Punter

Former team: Arkansas State

Size: 6’2″ and 220 lbs

Years of eligibility: Two

Analysis: Adding plug-and-play specialists through the portal is an underrated skill. Hanson was a Third Team All-Sun Belt Player in 2022, and Pro Football Focus actually had him on its Second Team All-Sun Belt squad. Hanson is one of the best punters in the Sun Belt, and now he’s a Duke.

Curt Cignetti loves to control time of possession and field possession. Hanson helps with field position, as 19 of his 48 punts last season were downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. He’s a weapon, and he should be valuable in 2023.

News coverage: The DNR spoke with Hanson about his commitment to JMU.

Transfer Portal Departures

Here’s a quick list of transfer portal departures from JMU, with analysis. Our focus will be on notable departures (starters, key contributors, etc.), but we’ll try to track all departures to the best of our ability.

Anthony Johnson, WR – Johnson redshirted in 2022 as a true freshman, and he’s now in the portal.

Andrew Adair, OL – The Liberty transfer played in two games in 2022. He’s headed to Charlotte, he announced via Twitter.

Aaron Whear, LS – The long snapper plans to transfer. He wasn’t a starter for the Dukes.

Anthony Eaton, RB – Eaton joined the program in 2020, and he has three years of eligibility remaining.

Jordan White, S – White played in five games in 2022, recording an interception. He played in a limited fashion over four seasons at JMU, appearing in 19 games. He has two years of eligibility left.

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