Four high-profile transfers to watch in the ACC

Transfers have become as common as uniform changes in college football, but that does not make them any less interesting to discuss.

Four high-profile transfers have decided on different schools in the ACC already, and they could all end up paying big dividends. Two come with baggage and definite risks. So who are they?

Here is a quick look:

Devonte Fields, DE, Louisville. The Cardinals needed to bolster their defensive front with a quality rush end, and they did that with the addition of Fields, a former Big 12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year. But Fields was dismissed from TCU before the 2014 season after he allegedly assaulted his ex-girlfriend. He ended up at Trinity Valley Community College, where he had 6.5 sacks this past season. He is set to enroll in the summer with two years of eligibility remaining.

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino defended the decision to sign Fields, telling reporters on signing day, “I believe in second chances and sometimes third chances. Every one of them is on an individual basis -- guys on our own team, guys we go out and recruit. You do your research, and you try to make sure that if you have an opportunity to give a young man a second chance, I believe that you should do it.”

Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh. Peterman is set to enroll in May with two years of eligibility left as a graduate transfer from Tennessee. After failing to win the starting job with the Vols, Peterman decided it was time for a fresh start. He played for Pitt offensive coordinator Jim Chaney at Tennessee in 2012, so the draw was easy. His host during his visit to Pitt was starting quarterback Chad Voytik. Pitt absolutely needed to create competition and depth at the quarterback spot, where it was just Voytik and Trey Anderson last season. Voytik remains the starter, but given the new coaching staff, this will not be a competition in name only.

Jamari Staples, WR, Louisville. Staples played at UAB last season, catching nine passes for 190 yards and a touchdown. He enrolled at Louisville in January after UAB shut down its football program. He also has ties to the Cardinals' program, having played for Louisville offensive coordinator Garrick McGee at UAB. Staples has good size and raw talent, and he fills a major position of need for the Cards. Leading receiver Devante Parker is gone, and so are Eli Rogers, Kai De La Cruz and Michaelee Harris. Those four combined for 55 percent of the team’s receiving yards last season. If you count tight end Gerald Christian, Louisville is losing five of its top six leaders in receiving yards from 2014. The opportunity is there for Staples to contribute right away in 2015.

Gerald Willis, DT, Miami. Willis was a highly rated recruit in the Class of 2014 and played as a true freshman at Florida last season. But Willis reportedly had his share of behavior problems and was dismissed from Florida in January. Miami coach Al Golden told reporters on signing day the Canes did a background check on Willis before extending a scholarship offer. Golden also spoke with tight end Stan Dobard, who played with Willis in high school. Willis will enroll in the summer and must sit out the 2015 season because of NCAA transfer rules.

“We’re not perfect, but in his case it was stuff that was a lot of immaturity and things of that nature,” Golden said. “I don’t know if we would be sitting here if not for the connection with Stan and the testimony of Stan in terms of the environment he’s in, the enjoyment that he’s having and what this program represents. We’re very grateful for that.”