Let’s have fun discussing potential QBs that could hit the transfer portal this offseason and where they might land. Some of these are pretty obvious, while others may require you to don your tinfoil hat while reading. There are always exceptions, but players tend to follow previous coaches, revisit recruiting offers, and hang around in regions of the country with which they are familiar. Programs with a new head coach or OC also generally prioritize QBs in the portal. Each player listed here was meticulously researched in an attempt to connect the dots to some practical destinations. All potential landing spots that were offers coming out of high school are denoted with a * next to the program. 

Each player will have a 1-10 scale that is subjective in nature and based on the upside a player has should he land in a favorable CFF system. It is not necessarily based on what they have proven thus far in their careers but rather on the CFF potential they could ultimately provide in a perfect landing spot. We are assuming 1/10 being at least fantasy relevant and 10/10 being a fantasy god. There is also a 1-10 scale for the likelihood that the player even enters the portal.

One Foot Already In The Portal

Image from Sports Illustrated

Jeff Sims – Georgia Tech

As a three-year starter, the former 4-star and much-ballyhooed recruit certainly had his share of ups and downs. His highs were sensational, but his lows were abysmal. The Yellowjacket staff did Sims no favors in terms of his development, and this showed with his total lack of consistency. Based on recent comments from the coaching staff, he appears to have one foot already in the portal as we near the end of 2022. Arm strength, athleticism, and ability to make plays outside of structure are all elite traits for Sims that could result in a big upside should he land in the right system with the right tutelage. Scott Satterfield has demonstrated the ability to harness the untapped potential of dual-threat QBs in his handling of Malik Cunningham. Maryland was in his final three, and the reclamation project success that LSU had with Jayden Daniels is also worth noting should he move on. LSU OC Mike Denbrock offered him while he was at Cincinnati. Lastly, Sims was committed to playing for FSU when Kendal Briles was the OC (now at Arkansas) before he flipped to Georgia Tech.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 7/10

Transfer Likelihood: 10/10

  1. Louisville* 2. LSU* 3. Maryland*

Wildcards: Arkansas, Auburn

Miller Moss – USC

The second-year QB arrived on campus in the same class as Jaxon Dart and is now in the backup role behind Caleb Williams. Williams has another year left, and 5-star Malachi Nelson arrives. The only path to playing time for Moss is injury, so he is as safe a bet to transfer as anyone on this list. The former 4-star pocket passer has looked efficient in mop-up duty this season. Chip Kelly and UCLA heavily pursued the California native. This could be a spot that is revisited, given how strongly Kelly went after a transfer the last offseason. Cal and Colorado are programs with mutual interest that will have new offensive staffs and could be looking to upgrade in the portal. He would be a great fit if one of those programs looks to transition to a more spread/air raid scheme.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 4/10

Transfer Likelihood: 9/10

  1. UCLA*  2. Cal*  3. Colorado*

Wildcards: Washington, Fresno State, Purdue*

Jacolby Criswell – North Carolina

Criswell sat behind Sam Howell for two seasons and then lost a hard-fought battle for the starting gig in 2022 to Drake Maye. Certainly no shame in losing those battles, but the third-year, 4-star, dual-threat QB with three years of eligibility is probably ready to start his career. He looked as good as Maye in the spring game and has shown glimpses of his dynamic ability in his one spot start. While he doesn’t have the accuracy and touch of Maye, he has a stronger arm and wheels to boot. He’s likely to be one of the most sought-after QBs should he enter the portal. He will essentially be guaranteed a starting job at the program he chooses. All his visits were in southeastern programs, so it’s likely he stays in that region, but Oregon OC Kenny Dillingham did make a run at him while at Auburn. He is an Arkansas native and was heavily recruited by Pittman. Some things will need to shake out there with Jefferson and Hornsby, but a return home is possible. He took three visits to Ole Miss under Matt Luke, who is now on staff at Georgia. Auburn, Tennessee, and Georgia all pushed hard for him. Keep an eye on the connection with Rich Rodriguez should he land a job in the south this offseason. The Auburn hire will be interesting here. Now, if a certain UNC QB rumor is true (see below), then all bets are off here.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 8/10

Transfer Likelihood: 9/10

  1. Arkansas*   2. Auburn*   3. Georgia*

Wildcards: Oregon, Oklahoma State*

Mikey Keene – UCF

Keene did an admirable job as a true freshman taking over for an injured Dillon Gabriel in 2021. While he couldn’t beat out John Rhys Plumlee for the starting gig, he has once again looked like a quality starting QB in spot starts when JRP was injured. Keene, a pocket passer, does not appear to fit into the future plans for Gus Malzahn and this UCF system that seems to strongly prefer a dual-threat QB. Most of the 3-star Arizona native’s offers came from G5 programs west of the Mississippi. Utah State and Hawaii were original offers that could be a fit, but will he remain G5? Maybe Arizona State’s new staff will make a push for him to return home. Keene is a difficult one to place that could land anywhere at any level of competition and will be very dependent on the system he chooses for his ultimate success.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 2/10

Transfer Likelihood: 9/10

  1. Utah State*   2. Houston   3. East Carolina

Wildcards: Colorado, Arizona State, Iowa

Hudson Card – Texas

Card was once the #2 rated Dual Threat QB in his class by 247. But like most things associated with the Longhorns, he never reached those lofty expectations placed on him. His time in Austin saw two coaching staffs and two lost QB battles against Casey Thompson and Quinn Ewers. He has never shown any real elite traits, but he has a career 11/2 TD/INT ratio, with some moments that make you think he can compete as a P5 starter. He will likely have P5 offers in the portal but is probably better suited as a G5 QB if he wants to secure a starting job. Michigan was runner-up, but that isn’t happening now. Several former P5 coordinators that recruited him have moved on to G5 jobs like Old Dominion and Troy. He has strong ties in Texas, but could he look outside the state for a program that might guarantee him a starting role? Keep an eye on if NC State OC Tim Beck takes a job elsewhere. Kyle Whittingham loves him some state of Texas QB transfers.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 3/10

Transfer Likelihood: 8/10

  1. Houston   2. Tulsa*   3. Utah*

Wildcards: Northwestern*, Indiana*

Donovan Smith  – Texas Tech

Smith did well as a starter to close the 2021 campaign, but the coaching change to the Kittley system did him no favors. Kittley demands timing and precision, and those attributes simply aren’t Smith’s strengths. Many expected him to transfer last spring because of this poor system fit and his dad leaving the Red Raider’s staff for the NY Giants. It is a safe bet that he won’t pass on the portal opportunity again. A big QB with a big arm and the ability to make plays with his legs, Smith can boom in the right system or bust in the wrong one. The obvious choice would be to follow his old OC, Sonny Cumbi, to Louisiana Tech. Smith may have done enough to garner the attention of some P5 programs. His former head coach is on staff at Oklahoma. He didn’t have recruitment, given his dad was a Red Raider coach then, so we will just go with some fun options that need a QB and have a history of his style.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 7/10

Transfer Likelihood: 8/10

  1. Louisiana Tech   2. UCLA   3. UTSA

Wildcards: Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Michigan State

Eyeing the Portal

Image from Razorbacks Wire

Malik Hornsby – Arkansas 

Hornsby is one Jared Palmgren and I have discussed a couple of times on Chasing the Natty Podcast this season. The former 4-star dual-threat QB from Missouri City, Texas (a Houston suburb) was in the portal last offseason but then returned. He is legitimately one of the country’s fastest QBs and was compared to Robert Griffin III when coming out. Arkansas tried to split him between QB and WR this season, but it never panned out. Hornsby has warmed the bench for three years waiting for his opportunity, and he is sure to move on should Jefferson return. If Jefferson were to leave, it’s also possible the Hogs would hit the portal for a guy like Criswell. Hornsby has Konami Code upside in a dynamic G5 system. Surprisingly, he had some crystal balls to Purdue from high school. I could see him, Hudson Card, and Haynes King being offered by the same programs, but Hornsby has more upside. There is a universe out there where Hornsby is paired with Rich Rodriguez at a G5 program, and it’s amazing.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 6/10

Transfer Likelihood: 6/10

  1. Houston*   2. UTSA   3. Akron

Wildcards: Louisville, Purdue*

Ty Thompson – Oregon

The former 4-star recruit sat behind Anthony Brown and then again behind Bo Nix. When given a chance to show what he’s capable of, he’s certainly been less than impressive. Nix could return for another season, but even if he were to declare, I think there is a decent chance that they pursue a portal QB as his replacement. It isn’t a foregone conclusion that Thompson moves on, but a change of scenery could benefit him. His former OC, Joe Moorhead, is at Akron now, which could be fun. But would he want to drop down that far in the competition? He had some crystal balls to Iowa, who will be looking for a new QB, but I don’t wish that pain on my worst enemy. He also took visits to Cal, Oregon State, and Iowa State. Wisconsin also hosted him, but the coach that recruited him is now on staff at Iowa. Sadly, many roads lead to Iowa City if Ferentz is willing to take a QB without starting experience. 

CFF Upside Player Rating: 3/10

Transfer Likelihood: 6/10

  1. Iowa*   2. Cal*   3. Oregon State*

Wildcards: Utah*, Akron, Fresno State

Haynes King – Texas A&M

King has been an absolute failed experiment for the Aggies and Jimbo after being named the opening-week starter two years running. His career 56.6% completion percentage, 10/10 TD/INT ratio, and 7 YPA leave a lot to be desired from a starting QB. Despite Jimbo going kicking and screaming to make the change to the true freshman, Aggie fans can rejoice for finally having their guy in Conner Weigman. While King isn’t long for the SEC, he still provides some upside in lower-level competition, given his elite speed. The Longview, TX native was considered the fastest player on the roster outside of elite track star Devon Achane. He is someone to keep an eye on should he land at the G5 level, which is where we will assume he lands if he wants a starting job, despite numerous SEC and P5 offers. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 3/10

Transfer Likelihood: 6/10

  1. Louisiana Tech*   2. North Texas*   3. UTSA

Wildcard: Houston*

Image from the Cavalier Corner Magazine

Brennan Armstrong – Virginia

There is no need to beat a dead horse. Suppose you read my stock-down report from last spring or listened to just about any episode of Chasing the Natty podcast throughout the season. You know where I stood on Brennan Armstrong and the Virginia offense with the coaching change from Bronco Mendenhall and OC Robert Anae to Tony Elliot and OC Des Kitchings. It was doomed from the start and somehow got worse. Between an ineffective system and the heartbreaking, recent tragedy that struck that program, Armstrong may want to hit the reset button on his career. If we assume Armstrong is willing to delay his MMA career (not a joke) and use his Covid season, he should have some decent options given his strong 2021 season. The play of Garrett Shrader to finish the season will be a key determining factor here. If it’s not great, then logic says Armstrong reunites with his former OC and QB coach at Syracuse. Armstrong was once committed to Minnesota and also took visits to Notre Dame with Brian Kelly and Mike Denbrock. Lastly, Mendenhall is rumored to be interested in the Colorado job opening.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 8/10

Transfer Likelihood: 4/10

  1. Syracuse   2. Minnesota*   3. Notre Dame*

Wildcards: Colorado, LSU

DJ Uiagalelei – Clemson

The former 5-star, top-three overall recruit appears to be broken. The system he plays in is broken. Offensively, it’s all broken in Clemson. Dabo has done his best to stay loyal to his blue-chip QB and commend him on his progress with weight management and footwork last offseason, but it just doesn’t seem to be working. Even when it has gone right at times this season, it still appears challenging with nothing easy or in rhythm. Both DJ and Dabo could use a divorce. DJ could return to the west coast. What he needs is rehab from a QB guru like Dan Mullen, Kalen Deboer (UW), Garrett Riley (TCU), Jason Beck (Syracuse), Dana Bible (UCLA), or Joey Halzle (TN). Kenny Dillingham could be at Oregon as OC or Arizona State as the head man. It probably isn’t in DJ’s best interest, but he could always look at his former OC, Tony Elliot, at Virginia or Jeff Scott, should he land an OC job somewhere. Maybe he will join his 5-star DE brother at whatever school he chooses.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 4/10

Transfer Likelihood: 5/10

  1. UCLA*   2. Arizona State*   3. Oregon*

Wildcards: Miami*, Louisville*

Tanner Mordecai – SMU

We have witnessed the CFF ceiling with Mordecai when he was a top 12 QB in 2021 and scored nine TDs in a single game this season. The SMU QB room appears to be very fluid and go several ways. The former Sooner turned Mustang has proven to be the best option at SMU; the staff’s connection to Preston Stone and his potential for the future may mean Mordecai’s time in Dallas is nearing an end. It is also possible, but less likely that Mordecai sticks around for his final season and Stone hits the portal. Mordecai’s track record should result in a fair number of suitors. There are plenty of options for the Waco native to stick around Texas and the midwest. Mike Gundy recruited him in high school, and Shane Beamer’s time overlapped with his while at OU. Keep an eye on his former OC, Garrett Riley, and UNC OC, Phil Longo, who pushed hard in Mordecai’s recruitment while he was the OC at Ole Miss, should either of them take another job. He’s one that probably should stay G5.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 6/10

Transfer Likelihood: 6/10

  1. Oklahoma State*   2. Houston*   3. North Texas*

Wildcards: Missouri, South Carolina*, Tulsa

Evan Prater – Cincinnati 

Prater is a former 4-star recruit courted by numerous P5 programs before ultimately deciding to stay at home. He won Mr. Ohio as a senior in 2019 and became the highest-rated recruit Cincinnati has signed in program history. It looked like the sky was the limit for this 6’5″, 200 lb. freaky athletic clone of Desmond Ridder. But things certainly haven’t gone as expected. After patiently waiting two years behind Ridder, he was passed over by a very average Ben Bryant. Expect Prater to hit the portal should Bryant decide to use his extra covid year, as we assume he will. The raw tools are there for Prater, but it’s hard to say how much he’s developed in the three years at Cincy without him taking many meaningful snaps, and it’s certainly concerning that the Bearcat staff prefers Bryant. The last two visits Prater took were to Louisville and Miami. Michigan State, Purdue, and Georgia Tech also made a push for him. Dan Enos was the OC at Miami at the time and is now in Maryland. Should he declare, replacing Malik Cunningham or Taulia Tagovailoa are strong landing spots.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 5/10

Transfer Likelihood: 4/10

  1. Louisville*   2. Georgia Tech   3. Bowling Green

Wildcards: Purdue*, Maryland

Kyron Drones – Baylor

The Houston native and former 3-star QB was an Elite 11 finalist. He signed with Baylor before they hired Jeff Grimes as OC. Drones performed admirably when he was called upon against West Virginia after Shapen suffered an injury. He is uber-athletic and, with size at 6’2″ and 223 lbs., has been used primarily in goal line packages. Shapen will be back, and 2023 4-star Austin Novosad will enter the mix next year. We still don’t know how consistent he can be as a passer, but his ability to run the ball makes him intriguing should he find the right opportunity. 247’s Gabe Brooks compared him to Jamie Newman.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 4/10

Transfer Likelihood: 4/10

  1. Southern Miss*   2. North Texas*   3. Houston*

Wildcards: Georgia Tech*, Texas State*

Mike Wright – Vanderbilt 

I thought Wright was almost assuredly headed to the portal after being benched in week three for freshman AJ Swann. His recent resurgence with Vandy after Swann went down with an injury certainly has us pumping the brakes. A 4-1 record as the Commodores starter with wins over Kentucky and Florida has to count for something despite how much this staff seemed convinced Swann was their man. Amazingly, the third-year QB with two years of eligibility remaining was labeled a “Pro Style” QB coming out of high school. He is anything but a pocket passer. In fact, he is sponsored by Recruiting Analytics, and rightfully so, as he has been clocked as fast as 21.9 mph. The Georgia native was offered and visited Georgia Tech, and it would be fun to watch him in the Jamey Chadwell system if he took that job. Chadwell extended a Coastal offer to Wright. He also had numerous MAC offers, which would be amazing. He also visited Northwestern.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 7/10

Transfer Likelihood: 3/10

  1. Georgia Tech*   2. Northwestern*   3. Bowling Green*

Wildcard: Eastern Michigan*, Liberty*

Let’s Get Weird!

Image from Sports Illustrated

Grayson McCall – Coastal Carolina

McCall has been a staple in the CFF arena for a few years. He has even garnered some draft buzz due to his incredible level of efficiency, but he probably needs to step up to the P5 level to get early-round consideration. There were rumors of him making a move last off-season that never came to fruition. Maybe he reconsiders it this offseason, and perhaps his coach, Jamey Chadwell, and/or OC Willey Korn, land a P5 job, and there is a natural transition for McCall. It is hard to say if the triple option/spread hybrid system will work at the next level, but it isn’t too dissimilar from what Leipold is running with success at Kansas. If McCall were to follow Chadwell, then Georgia Tech could certainly be in play. South Carolina needs a new OC and QB and could look at the Charlotte native. Could he replace one of the QBs leaving in the ACC at Louisville, Wake Forest, or FSU? He could be a perfect fit for Anae at Syracuse, but that room is fairly crowded. 

CFF Upside Player Rating: 7/10

Transfer Likelihood: 2/10

  1. Georgia Tech   2. South Carolina   3. Florida State

Wildcards: Louisville, Boston College, Wake Forest

Collin Schlee – Kent State

Let’s get real galaxy brain for a second. I think only a handful of G5 guys can make the jump to P5, win a job, and be fantasy relevant. Schlee is one of them. Don’t be fooled by some of the pedestrian outings in the second half of the season. Schlee got banged up and hasn’t been the same. He has the measurables to be a high-ceiling QB. He’s very athletic (high school basketball star) with rushing upside and top-end arm strength with various arm angles. His accuracy isn’t consistent but could be refined with the right QB coach. If he wants to play on Sundays, a transfer is imminent. UW and OU got a close look at him when they faced Kent State in the non-conference. Could his home state of Maryland give him a look if Tagovailoa moves on?

CFF Upside Player Rating: 7/10

Transfer Likelihood: 1/10

  1. Washington   2. Cincinnati   3. Maryland

Wildcard: Oklahoma, Kentucky

Kurtis Rourke – Ohio

Similar to Collin Schlee, this is a true long shot of a guy who could want to jump from G5 to P5 to boost his chances to get drafted. I don’t think he has quite the tools Schlee possesses, but it’s possible a P5 program would take a look based on his incredible season. Naming the landing spot would be pure speculation since he was a 2-star recruit only Ohio offered, probably because his brother played there. But let’s throw darts at some programs that have taken transfers in the past and like a gunslinger. Cincinnati could use an upgrade from Ben Bryant, and Purdue would be a fun fit with talent but no experience behind O’Connell. 

CFF Upside Player Rating: 6/10

Transfer Likelihood: 1/10

  1. Cincinnati   2. Purdue   3. Indiana

Wildcards: Minnesota, Michigan State, Wake Forest

Image from Tar Heels Wire

Drake Maye – North Carolina

This isn’t a rumor-based article, but we must address the room’s massive elephant. Things seem to be going great for Maye at Carolina. So great that he fended off another talented QB on this list, and now he’s led his team to the ACC championship game. But there is a lot of smoke of Maye being lured by Saban to Alabama this offseason. Maye is a Tar Heel legacy, but he was once committed to the Tide, and the lead recruiter is still on staff at Alabama. This seems incredibly far-fetched to leave an offense he has complete comfort with to learn a new one. There is too much smoke to ignore the possibility. If he were to go, it would be a big stock up to Criswell and Conner Harrell.

CFF Upside Player Rating: 10/10

Transfer Likelihood: 1/10

  1. Alabama*

Some schools are obviously listed multiple times. P5 Programs like Houston, Utah, Arizona State, Auburn, Kentucky, Indiana, Northwestern, Iowa, UCLA, and Louisville will likely be active in the portal. G5 Programs like UTSA, Utah State, App State, Old Dominion, East Carolina, Fresno State, and Georgia Southern are likely to be active. Not all of these QBs will enter the portal, and many more than what is mentioned here will certainly transfer. Buckle up! It will be a wild ride this offseason with the transfer portal and NIL.

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