5 Transfer Portal Landing Spots for Damien Alford: Kansas, Minnesota Have a Need for the Syracuse WR

    Damien Alford was a team captain last year, but he's in the portal after an abrupt dismissal. With plenty of suitors set to emerge, where will he land?

    Damien Alford was a team captain last season at receiver for the Syracuse Orange and a bright spot in an otherwise bleak passing offense that finished last in the ACC. He’ll be suiting up for another team next season after clashing with new coach Fran Brown, leading to his dismissal before he ultimately entered the transfer portal.

    A 6’6″ target is on the market for one more season, but where are some potential landing spots for Alford?

    Landing Spots for Damien Alford

    Alford’s dismissal may have been a preemptive strike from Brown, who has been cleaning house to make room for the 34 players in his first recruiting class with the Orange.

    Originally from Canada, Alford reportedly considered entering the portal after the team’s 45-0 loss in the Boca Raton Bowl to USF this past season, but came back to get his degree this spring. Some believe Brown dismissed Alford before he planned to enter the portal after graduating, with the WR supposedly deleting a tweet saying he found out about the dismissal on social media.

    The fact he was dismissed likely won’t deter other coaches from pursuing him, given the circumstances surrounding the situation. That means a player who caught 67 passes for 1,291 yards (19.2 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns over four seasons for a Power Five program is available.

    His dismissal was announced on February 12, but he didn’t officially enter the transfer portal until this week and hasn’t publicly reported any offers. Still, there will be plenty of coaches licking their chops thinking about throwing 50/50 balls to Alford in the end zone.

    Kansas Jayhawks

    Terrence Samuel has been the receivers coach for the Jayhawks the last two seasons, but he was the receivers coach at Syracuse in 2021 when Alford was a redshirt freshman. Kansas could use his help with the 10th-ranked passing offense in the Big 12 last season and hasn’t signed any receivers for its 2024 class.

    His best seasons at Syracuse were after Samuel left, but the wide receiver coach was there for Alford’s first season of extended playing time with the Orange — when he caught 13 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns.

    NC State Wolfpack

    Alford’s emergence as a dangerous pass-catching weapon began in 2022 when he caught 20 passes for 429 yards and two touchdowns. Robert Anae was the OC at Syracuse that season, his lone campaign with the Orange before leaving for the same role at NC State.

    The Wolf Pack have two coveted 2024 transfer receivers set to join them with Ohio State’s Noah Rogers and Wake Forest’s Wesley Grimes, but, with his size, Alford offers an element they don’t bring to the table.

    Cal Golden Bears

    Sterling Gilbert is the new pass game coordinator and OC at Cal, replacing Jake Spavital, who left for Baylor. Gilbert was the OC/QB coach at Syracuse for Alford’s first two seasons with the Orange (2020-2021), overseeing his initial development out of high school.

    MORE: 2024 ACC Transfer Portal Rankings

    The Bears already have a trio of solid receivers coming in from the portal — Notre Dame’s Tobias Merriweather, Utah’s Mikey Matthews, and New Mexico State’s Jonathan Brady – but Alford could be reunited with Gilbert in a system he recognizes if he’s willing to share targets.

    Minnesota Golden Gophers

    Nick Monroe coached the safeties at Syracuse for Alford’s first three seasons before leaving to be the co-DC at Minnesota ahead of the 2023 season. Even though it’s on the other side of the ball, Monroe was Alford’s primary recruiter out of high school and is well aware of his abilities, having watched him practice against his safeties.

    The Gophers have two receivers coming from the portal with Penn State’s Christian Driver and Emporia State’s Jaylan Varner, but they have a need for a big red-zone target that Alford could fill.

    New Mexico Lobos

    Jason Beck was the QB coach (2022) and the OC (2023) at Syracuse before he was let go with the rest of the staff, but he resurfaced as the OC and QB coach at New Mexico for head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

    KEEP READING: College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    It’s likely Alford will have bigger programs after him than the Lobos, but it’s also late in the recruiting process, so there might not be as many options. If that’s the case, teaming up with the man who oversaw his best statistical season (33 catches, 632 yards, three touchdowns in 2023) isn’t the worst choice.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

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