Five JMU Football Transfers Poised to Make Major Impacts in 2024

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin

JMU football added 21 transfers this offseason, revamping its roster after significant departures via graduation and the portal. The Dukes added promising young players with a chance to develop into future stars, and they also added veterans expected to contribute immediately. 

Let’s take a closer look at five transfer additions with the chance to make the biggest immediate impact for the Dukes. Given JMU’s losses, there are plenty of names not on this list who should contribute in 2024, too.  

Dylan Morris, QB, Washington

Not only does Morris come to JMU with decent credentials – he started for the Huskies in 2021, throwing for 2,458 yards in 11 games for the Pac-12 program – but he also plays the most important position on the field. Given Jordan McCloud’s decision to enter the portal – he’s still yet to share a transfer landing spot – the Dukes were in need of a veteran quarterback. 

Enter Morris. While he was the backup for Washington in each of the last two seasons, he has Power Five starting experience and was QB2 for a program that reached the College Football Playoff in 2023. Being on a playoff team is valuable experience for a quarterback, even if he wasn’t the guy leading the offense. 

With JMU’s significant inexperience at quarterback outside of Morris – Alonza Barnett, Billy Atkins, and Brett Griffis are considered talented returning backups who lack meaningful college playing experience – it’s likely Morris opens 2024 as JMU’s starting quarterback. He’s an obvious name to include on this list. 

JMU led the Sun Belt in passing efficiency in 2023 and ranked second in 2022. Can a new coaching staff and a new quarterback maintain that level of excellence?

Ayo Adeyi, RB, North Texas

JMU rushed for an average of 134.2 yards per game in 2023, the third-lowest output of any Sun Belt Conference team. JMU only averaged 3.9 yards per rush attempt, the second-lowest mark in the conference. The running game was a major disappointment in 2023. 

Fortunately for the Dukes, they’ve revamped the position group through the portal. Kaelon Black and Ty Son Lawton are among the most notable departures, but Ayo Adeyi headlines a strong group of portal additions. 

Adeyi ran for 1,017 yards for North Texas last season, averaging an impressive 7.1 yards per carry. He’s averaged at least seven yards per carry in consecutive seasons, and he shouldn’t have trouble adjusting from the AAC to the Sun Belt, as they’re similarly talented conferences. 

Adeyi gives JMU a reason to lean on the running game in 2024. He’s a major addition.

Cam Ross, WR, UConn 

Losing Elijah Sarratt, Reggie Brown, and Phoenix Sproles means new receivers need to step up in 2024. The Dukes return plenty of potential new starters, including Taji Hudson and Yamir Knight. 

JMU also added receivers via the portal, a group that’s headlined by Cam Ross. He brought in 44 catches for 552 yards and a pair of touchdowns for UConn in 2023, despite 

Look for Ross to immediately compete for starting time at the receiver position. He’s dangerous when healthy, and he’s more proven at the FBS level than any other receiver on the Dukes’ current roster.

Editor’s note: Thanks to Three Notch’d Brewing for their advertising support. 

Jacob Dobbs, LB, Holy Cross

Like many of the other guys on this list, Dobbs comes to JMU with a major opportunity due to the production lost at his position group. Jailin Walker and Aiden Fisher both left for Indiana, leaving the Dukes without their top two tackles from 2023. 

Dobbs, who recorded 123 tackles and 12 tackles for loss in 2023, was one of the best tacklers at the FCS level in recent years. He’s an impressive athlete and a good leader. Dobbs will likely start for the Dukes in 2024 and could be a team captain as well. 

Look for Dobbs to lead JMU in tackles in 2024, spearheading a front seven that could be one of the Sun Belt’s best despite significant offseason departures.

Eric O’Neill, DE, Long Island

O’Neill might be the most underrated signing of JMU’s 2024 portal class. He finished the last two seasons with an absurd 44.5 tackles for loss. 

Given his size, strength, and quickness, O’Neill looks the part of a Power Five defensive end. He’s a likely starter at defensive end for JMU, and he could quickly become a dominant force within the Sun Belt. 

The Dukes lost Jalen Green, Mikail Kamara, and Jamree Kromah at defensive end. That trio might all log NFL snaps in the near future, with Green and Kromah expected to be drafted or quickly signed to a free agent deal this spring. Kamara transferred to Indiana, where he stands a good chance of starting and developing into an NFL Draft pick. 

That’s not an easy group to replace, but O’Neill is a top candidate to lead JMU in tackles for loss and sacks in 2024.

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