In a 24-hour span that has seen several Wildcats enter the transfer portal, two more key names declared they are in search for a new home next season.
Senior wide receiver Kyric McGowan and sophomore defensive end Eku Leota will both enter the transfer portal this offseason after playing instrumental roles this year. NU now has six players planning to transfer this offseason as the two starters join WR Malik Washington, DBs Jeremiah McDonald and Gunner Maldonado and RB Isaiah Bowser in the portal.
2017 3-star RB Kyric McGowan has entered the portal as a grad transfer after rushing for 352 yards and 2 TD and adding 802 yards receiving and 2 TD at #Northwestern @rivalsmike @RivalsWoody @WildcatReport https://t.co/9PIMJPEG5X— NCAA Transfer Portal (@RivalsPortal) December 21, 2020
2018 3-star DE Andrew Leota has entered the transfer portal after totaling 25 tackles, 10 TFL, 6.5 sacks and 2 FF in 18 games with #Northwestern @rivalsmike @RivalsWoody @WildcatReport https://t.co/X1ixYN8G4F— NCAA Transfer Portal (@RivalsPortal) December 21, 2020
In his senior season, McGowan became one of the most versatile players on the roster and led the team with 667 all-purpose yards. He also registered one rushing touchdown as he took a number of snaps at both wide receiver and running back while also contributing on special teams as the primary kick returner. NU’s wide receiver room will lose a chunk of talent should he and fellow wideout Washington both transfer this offseason.
On the defensive side of the ball, the loss of Leota could be the most significant of all the anticipated transfers. He registered 13 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and led the team with four sacks this season. The North Carolina native became one of NU’s top breakout players this season and seemed to have a lot of potential heading into his upperclassmen years. For a defense that is likely losing multiple players to graduation and the draft this offseason, as well as longtime defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz, Leota transferring would serve as yet another significant blow.
This offseason is going to be a wild one as roster sizes will be bloated since all players were granted an extra year of eligibility and do not have to sit out a year before playing at their new school.
There are 532 active names in the transfer portal since the beginning of November.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 21, 2020
That means every FBS team would have to take 4 transfers each just for all the players in the portal since November to remain in the FBS. Maybe not all of them want that, but that's a lot.
Ultimately, the offseason will show whether Leota, McGowan and the others return to Evanston for the remainder of their careers, but if they do choose to leave, their loss will certainly be felt next year.