5 most painful Clemson transfer portal departures of all time

Clemson fans have adjusted to players leaving for the transfer portal, but some exits have stung worse than others.
Kelly Bryant (2)
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Andrew Mukuba

Years ago, people who conceived of the transfer portal, the redshirt rule, and the rule that allowed graduates to transfer without sitting out a season assumed these would be tools used by athletes who were buried on depth charts to move to a lower-tier program where they would have a better chance of competing for playing time. We all learned very quickly that it was also going to be used by players who already had plenty of playing time and might want to step up to a higher-tier program for more exposure as well.

With the advent of NIL, the tiers of the programs meant little anymore. If a peer program was willing to offer more, anyone could lose a starter to a lateral move. Clemson avoided that for many years, but after the 2023 football season, they felt the sting of a starter leaving for another program as well.

Andrew Mukuba was a stud as a freshman but suffered from the dreaded sophomore slump. He rebounded his junior season and was considered someone who might try to make the leap to the NFL. If he returned for another season of college ball, he would continue as a starter in some capacity for Clemson.

Mukuba made the surprising decision to transfer to the Texas Longhorns. Some pundits and fans attempted to claim that he left because he knew he would be overtaken by younger talent in 2024. Mukuba might indeed have needed to start at free safety or strong safety instead of the nickel/safety hybrid position where he started in 2023, but he would have been first-string one way or another.

Next: RJ Godfrey