Even rookies are blown away by the transfer portal’s QB carousel

SAN ANTONIO – Shortly after 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 3, the check-in room for the 2022 All-American Bowl began to buzz: Oklahoma freshman quarterback Caleb Williams had announced his intention to enter the transfer portal.

Williams was once the No. 1 quarterback rookie in the nation. He had just completed a season that earned him 247Sports True Freshman All-American honors. And now he was leaving Oklahoma. Alerted to developments, Clemson commits Cade Klubnik – himself the No. 1 QB prospect in 2022 – couldn’t hide his surprise.

“It’s crazy!” Klubnik said as he left the room. Then, with a pause, he turned with a final question: “USC?

Welcome the era of the transfer portal, where even five-star quarterbacks wonder where their future peers will end up. And what an offseason it’s been for quarterbacks in the transfer portal.

Twenty-four FBS starting quarterbacks — 14 of the Power Five — have traded this offseason. That’s 18.5% of FBS’s starting signal callers. Not included among them are backups like Quinn ewers, spencer ratter and Connor Bazelak, who will soon take on the leading roles of Power Five.

A coach of the movement’s Power Five quarterback said, “It’s literally wild.”

But it is also the continuation of a trend. The transfer portal has magnified the spotlight on the subject, but there is little news about quarterbacks choosing to migrate. There were 248 247Sports Composite four- and five-star quarterbacks between the 2010-19 classes. Of this group, 63% have been transferred at least once in their career.

The reason is obvious. Only one quarterback can play. It’s a reality that even quarterbacks in the Class of 2022 recognize as they prepare to arrive on campus.

“Kids want to play, and you can’t hate them for it,” said Penn State pledge and five-star QB Drew Allar. “If they think there is another place where they can play and be more successful, they should take a chance.”

The sample size is small, but the era of the transfer portal, sparked by the single transfer exemption introduced last year, appears to have sparked a more aggressive move. Starting with the Class of 2016, one of the first hit by the Portal’s launch in October 2018, an even higher rate of quarterbacks are on the move. This class of 2016 saw 20 of the 21 four- and five-star callers transferred at least once in their careers. And between the 2016-19 classes, 68% of former four- and five-star quarterbacks have traded at least once. It is with the caveat that several 2018 and 2019 QBs could still choose to leave.

We’re also seeing the movement in 2020 (10 of 27) and 2021 (5 of 31), despite those quarterbacks having been on campus for two years or less.

The quarterbacks 247Sports spoke to at the All-American Bowl, which included five of the top 10 QBs in the 2022 class, unanimously indicated their willingness to wait and compete at their next schools. At the same time, almost all admitted that the transfer gate is something quarterbacks need to think about if they don’t reach the field in a reasonable amount of time.

“I really think it depends on your situation,” commits Missouri Sam Horn noted. “If it’s a better situation to be transferred, then I would be transferred. But if not, I would probably wait and be patient to see how it works.

247Sports surveyed 86 players at the All-American Bowl anonymously, asking how many years they would be willing to be a substitute before being traded. By far the most common response, included in 42 responses, was two years. It’s just a measure of an individual rookie’s patience. Often circumstances will dictate a transfer.

Signatory from Oklahoma Nick Evers, who was also caught in the Williams whirlwind on Jan. 3, experienced it firsthand. Evers was committed to Florida for much of the 2022 cycle before Dan Mullen was fired. He then reversed his commitment to Oklahoma just before the early signing period. Given how often coaches migrate, Evers said it’s understandable that a quarterback might feel that a school or staff — if they’re still around — haven’t delivered on their promises.

“Coaches aren’t necessarily the same when they sign you,” Evers said. “They are not keeping their end of the bargain. It’s something they promise you when you’re recruited in high school, and then once you get into college, you feel like you’re in a bad spot. So I think that plays a big role with some of these guys who didn’t get exactly what they thought they were getting and want to find a better opportunity.

Like the circle of life, making up a quarterback room, especially in places with multiple high-level recruits, naturally leads to some transfers.

South Carolina wide receiver signer Landon Samson played high school football with Ewers, who is now a Texas QB after a five-month stint in Columbus. When asked if he was surprised to see Ewers’ transfer from Ohio State, Sampson replied, “I knew from the second he went to Ohio State. Ohio that he would be transferred.”

“CJ Stroud was probably going to be the starter,” Sampson said. “If he had a good season, since he was a good quarterback, Quinn might not have the chance to play until his junior year.”

Ultimately, the quarterbacks 247Sports spoke to said every decision was different. While many of them follow depth charts as they once did quarterback dominoes in their recruiting class, every decision is up to the individual, especially in circumstances such as injuries and team changes. ‘coach.

Those like Klubnik would like to see quarterbacks stick it out longer and fight for the job.

“You only have one quarterback, so you want to be the guy,” Klbunik said. “But it has to happen in the offseason. You have to compete for it.”