Last year, some of the biggest names on campus at Bowling Green came to town via the Transfer Portal. Guys like Matt McDonald, Odieu Hilaire, Jakari Robinson, and Chris Bacon came to town and helped the Falcons to its best season since 2015.
In this cycle, the Falcons were incredibly active— partly due to the sheer number of outgoing prospects given. All in all, 16 players left for another opportunity whereas 10 players came in looking to continue their collegiate careers.
One intriguing note where transfers are concerned is the return of a familiar face in Davon Ferguson. A former Kansas Jayhawk who made a name for himself at BGSU, Ferguson departed via the transfer portal to Georgia Southern, even going as far as participating in spring practices. However, something happened along the way, as Ferguson has withdrawn from GASO and returned to BGSU, showing back up on the 2023 roster page in recent weeks.
With that housekeeping out of the way, we get into who has left and who has arrived in Bowling Green:
- QB Owen Bainbridge (Notre Dame College [Division II])
After just one year in the program, the former three-star recruit from Stow, OH will take his talents to Notre Dame College in the D-II level of college football. He did not appear in any games in his true freshman season.
- RB Jaylen Jennings (Uncommitted)
Joining his 2022 recruiting classmate, Jaylen Jennings is looking for a new home. As a true freshman, Jennings appeared in just four games, allowing him to keep his redshirt eligibility. Of those four games, he only recorded stats in the loss to Mississippi State where he ran the ball six times for 28 yards.
- RB Braxton Todd (Uncommitted)
The third 2022 signee to enter the Transfer Portal is linebacker-turned-running back, Braxton Todd. 247Sports categorized Todd as a linebacker but he played both ways in high school where he broke off three 400+ yard games in 2021. He did not appear in any games in his true freshman season, thus retaining his eligibility.
- WR Tyrone Broden (Arkansas)
Quite possibly the largest loss in this year’s Transfer Portal class is the Falcons’ leading receiver in 2021, Tyrone Broden. He went into the 2022 season with high expectations and even started off the year hot, but he fell behind Odieu Hilaire as WR1 in the offense.
In his four seasons with Bowling Green, Broden appeared in 26 games and accounted for 1,199 yards and 12 touchdowns off of 74 receptions. During that 2021 season, Broden went off for 100+ and two touchdowns twice. He teams up with former Toledo receiver Matt Landers in Arkansas.
- WR Jalen Holly (Uncommitted)
One and done it is for Jalen Holly. The decorated River Rouge High School alum who was a two-way player has elected to leave the Bowling Green program after not appearing in any games in 2022. As of now, Holly has not yet decided his next steps.
- WR Javonte Kinsey (Campbell [FCS])
After appearing in all five games in 2020, Javonte Kinsey only appeared in four across the next two seasons. All of his counting stats came in the 2020 matchup with Ohio where he hauled in a pair of passes for 28 yards and a touchdown. He’s the third loss to the receiver room in this cycle.
- WR Jaedyn McKinstry (Louisiana-Monroe)
The first step in Jaedyn McKinstry’s football journey was a mere 15 miles south from St. John’s Jesuit in Toledo to Bowling Green. His second step? A little further.
The young wide receiver was able to make an impact early. As a true freshman in 2021, McKinstry appeared in all 12 games, though he did only record stats in three games. In that time, he managed just 22 yards off of three receptions. Last season, McKinstry appeared in four games, thus retaining his redshirt eligibility. His new home is 916 miles away.
- OG Jalen Grant (Purdue)
After appearing in all 30 games from the last three years and racking up 27 starts, Jalen Grant is making his way to the B1G time. Grant was a stalwart on the Falcons offensive line and saw some playing time at center while Bowling Green awaited Jakari Robinson’s eligibility. The most interesting part of his transfer is that he had this to say to On3 Sports about midweek #MACtion: “I love my guys at Bowling Green. But playing on the weekdays is something different because you had class.”
- OT Jeremiah Banks-Wall (Western Illinois [FCS])
It’s not often a true freshman starts at tackle but Jeremiah Banks-Wall did just that in 2020. In addition, he started all 11 games of the 2021 season and appeared in one other. However, he lost that job in 2022 and only appeared in four games, thus maintaining this redshirt. Banks-Wall drops down to FCS with three years of eligibility remaining.
- OT Leiris Manzi (Highland Community College [JUCO])
Hailing from Rwanda, Leiris Manzi is quickly becoming a well-traveled individual. His first year of collegiate experience was actually at Hocking College (JUCO). At Hocking, Manzi appeared in just five games. After one year, the coached at Bowling Green saw something they could work with, so they welcomed him onto their roster. After not appearing in any games for the Falcons, Manzi has elected to go back to the JUCO level.
- EDGE Blaine Spires (Utah State)
Blaine Spires heads out west after spending four years with the Falcons. After redshirting in 2019, Spires appeared in 29 of Bowling Green’s 30 games over the last three seasons. In those 29 games, Spires accounted for 61 tackles, nine for loss, and 2.5 sacks for the Falcons. Losing Spires to the Portal and Karl Brooks to the NFL will be large shoes to fill for the Falcons.
- LB JB Brown (Kansas)
The Falcons’ linebacker room is losing a good one in JB Brown. Brown takes his talents to the Big 12 after appearing in every possible game since his freshman year in 2020. In those 30 games, Brown recorded 75 tackles. 5.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks. Brown will be joining a Kansas team with a former MAC coach in Lance Leipold. So, in his final year of eligibility, he will look to help out a Jayhawks program seemingly on the rise.
- SAF Jordan Anderson (UCLA)
After four years with Bowling Green, Jordan Anderson has made the jump to the Power Five. A familiar face in the lineup, Anderson appeared in 36 games across his four years. In that time, Anderson recorded 180 tackles, 11 TFLs, a sack, five interceptions, and 20 pass breakups. Despite gaining a safety transfer, Adnerson’s departure will be felt.
- SAF Willie Jones (Western Illinois [FCS])
Willie Jones hits the portal after just two years with Bowling Green. As a recruit, he was sought after by programs across the MAC. However, in his time, Jones only appeared in one game in 2021. Jones joins his former teammate, Anderson, in jumping in the Transfer Portal.
- CB Marcus Sheppard (North Dakota State [FCS])
Another secondary loss is Marcus Sheppard, who departs after three years in the program. Sheppard was a three-star recruit in the 2020 class and made an impact early. His best season was in 2021 where he made 12 tackles in seven games. In 2022, Sheppard appeared in 10 games but did not record any stats.
- PK Mason Lawler (Incarnate Word [FCS])
After five years with the program, Mason Lawler is taking his talents to the FCS level. For the first four years of his career, Lawler served as a back-up punter for the Falcons. In 2022, he took over as the full-time kicker for the Falcons. He finished the year a perfect 34-of-34 in extra point attempts and 11-of-16 in field goals.
The New Faces in Town
- QB Connor Bazelak (Indiana)
Someone has to take over after McDonald’s departure and Connor Bazelak has the experience to do so. For the first three years of his career, Bazelak quarterbacked the Mizzou Tigers. There, he threw for 5,084 yards and 23 touchdowns off of 66.4 percent completion. After 24 appearances, he transferred to Indiana where he threw for 2,312 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Bazelak has two years of eligibility remaining. You can read more about the transfer here.
- WR Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim (Alabama A&M [FCS])
The Huntsville-to-Bowling Green pipeline is starting to develop. Considering how well the Odieu Hilaire transfer worked for the Falcons in 2022, it’s only natural. Now, Adbul-Fatai Ibrahim comes to town, following Hilaire to Bowling Green after a four-year career as a Bulldog.
Right off the bat, Ibrahim notched the first of two 1,000+ yard seasons as a true freshman. In 2021, he went off for 1,008 yards. In his career, Ibrahim finished with 2,488 yards and 22 touchdowns off of 163 receptions and should be able to make an immediate impact on the Falcons’ offense.
Ibrahim, a walk-on at Alabama A&M, was a three-time First-Team All-SWAC receiver and earned FCS All-American honors in 2021. Ibrahim has just one year of eligibility remaining.
- WR Finn Hogan (Central Michigan)
Bowling Green’s newest addition to the receiver room needs only to travel less than three hours to get to his new home. Finn Hogan spent two years at a fellow MAC school, Central Michigan. There, Hogan made his mark in 2022, where he started 10 games and appeared in an additional two. In total, he’s accounted for 155 yards and a touchdown on 19 receptions.
Hogan has three years of eligibility remaining.
- WR Jaylon Tillman (Grand Valley State [Division II])
The Falcons reached deep within the Transfer Portal for the former D-II wideout from Grand Valley State, Jaylon Tillman. GVSU was one of the better teams in the D-II level and Tillman amassed 689 yards and six touchdowns off of 38 receptions in two years. With Tillman and Hogan, the Falcons have a net loss of two receivers in regard to the Transfer Portal.
He comes to Bowling Green with two years of eligibility remaining.
- OL Chris Akproghene (Tulsa)
Initially from Nigeria, Akproghene comes to Bowling Green from Tennessee via Tulsa. For the first three years of his career, he was a Volunteer where he appeared in just seven games in total. Last year, Akproghene appeared in 10 games for the Golden Hurricanes. That’s an impressive feat when one realizes that he got on campus the week of the first game.
He has two years left of eligibility.
- DL Evan Branch-Haynes (Arizona)
Adding to the defensive line depth by way of the Pac-12 is Evan Branch-Haynes. Branch-Haynes spent his first two collegiate seasons at Arizona and appeared in just four games in total. In those four games, he recorded five tackles, four of which came in a loss against Utah.
He has three years left of eligibility.
- DL Chace Davis (UTSA)
Chace Davis comes to Bowling Green from UTSA after just one season. Davis only appeared in four games in 2022. Prior to being a Roadrunner, Davis took the JUCO route out of high school and spent two years at East Los Angeles College.
He comes to Bowling Green with two years left of eligibility.
- LB Davian Mayo (Memphis)
For the past three years, Davian Mayo spent his time a member of the Memphis Tigers. In that time, Mayo appeared in 30 games with a start. He contributed 21 tackles last year and will battle it out to break through a group of seniors in the linebacker room.
Mayo has two years of eligibility remaining.
- SAF Steve Lubischer (Boston College)
Yet another Boston College to Bowling Green transfer! In his four years in the Eagles’ program, Steve Lubisher appeared in 22 games, including 12 in 2022. In total, he managed just seven tackles.
He has two years of eligibility remaining.
- CB Jordan Jackson (Stony Brook [FCS])
In the past, the Falcons dipped into the FCS level and found success (SEE: Odieu Hilaire). Jordan Jackson is the next in line and he comes to town from Stony Brook. There, Jackson started five games and appeared in 20 others. He amassed 70 tackles, 2.5 for loss, a sack, broke up eight passes, and hauled in an interception.
Bowling Green gets him with two years of eligibility remaining.