College football has not even reached its first bowl game, and yet already the offseason has shaped up to be one of the most tumultuous in years.
From a whirlwind coaching carousel to several big names entering the transfer portal, the news cycle has been nonstop in the sport since the end of championship weekend.
As the start of early signing period nears, there are still many impactful names in the transfer portal, particularly quarterbacks, that could have a major impact on the upcoming season. Names like Quinn Ewers, Spencer Rattler and Adrian Martinez entered the transfer portal as a few top names among the many who could shake up a team’s fortunes in the 2022 season. Ewers has already announced that he is headed to Texas to begin his Longhorn career. Now, the question is where the rest of the transfer names will be headed.
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Sporting News is taking a look at the top names available, what they bring to teams and a projection for where they might land.
1. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
It feels strange for Rattler to be on this list at all, let alone not at the top. But that’s what’s in the cards for the former Sooners’ QB. Rattler began the 2021 season as the starter, but lost the job to five-star freshman Caleb Williams. He made occasional appearances under center, but he’s now one of many to announce their departure from Oklahoma following the exit of coach Lincoln Riley.
There is still plenty to love about Rattler as a quarterback. Once considered a favorite to go No. 1 overall in 2022 and for the Heisman Trophy this year, Rattler was coming off a redshirt freshman season in which he completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed 81 times for 160 yards and six touchdowns. Rattler struggled to guide the Oklahoma offense to reach its full potential this season, however, and finished the 2021 campaign with a 74.9 completion percentage with 1,483 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions, along with 77 yards and three touchdowns on 43 carries.
Rattler, a former five-star recruit in high school, has reportedly been looking west for potential transfer destinations. One spot that would be an ideal match would be UCLA, where he would figure to take the starting QB job right away, and get the chance to face Riley at USC in a redemption game for benching him this season for Williams. Chip Kelly also brings experience not only coaching in the NFL, but developing college quarterbacks into NFL-ready talents.
Projected transfer: UCLA
2. Dillon Gabriel, UCF
In his first two seasons with the Knights, Dillon Gabriel was nothing short of a star. However, an injury in his third game of the season ended the 2021 campaign for the junior QB, and now, he’s looking to take his talents elsewhere.
During his freshman and sophomore seasons, Gabriel threw for a combined 7,223 with a 59.7 completion percentage, 61 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He was off to another strong start in 2021, throwing nine touchdowns and 814 yards in his first three games, but he broke his collarbone in that third game. The Knights had undergone a coaching change prior to the start of the 2021 season, bringing in former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn to replace Josh Heupel, who left for the Tennessee opening.
Gabriel recently took a visit to Ole Miss, and has been linked with the Rebels, though that could change given that Jeff Lebby, Ole Miss’ former offensive coordinator and Gabriel’s first offensive coordinator at UCF, is headed to Oklahoma. Unless Williams transfers away from the Sooners, it is unlikely Gabriel would follow Lebby to Norman. He still seems like a solid bet to land in Oxford, with the Rebels needing a replacement for Matt Corral.
Projected transfer: Ole Miss
3. Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
Adrian Martinez has spent the past four years seeing starting time at Nebraska, and though he has at times flashed glimpses of playmaking potential, he never fully was able to live up to the hype that he brought when he arrived in Lincoln and following his first year. He’ll have one last chance to impress if he wants to take his game to the NFL level, this time at a different program.
In his first season with the Cornhuskers, Martinez completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns, eight interceptions and 2,617 passing yards. He also rushed for 629 yards and eight touchdowns on 140 carries. However, he hasn’t been able to improve much beyond that, as he has completed just 63.0 percent of his passes for 5,875 yards, 28 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions in his subsequent three years. He has also rushed 368 times for 1,672 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Though his final three years in Nebraska weren’t what Cornhusker fans were hoping for, Martinez has appeared at times like a star dual-threat QB capable of being a dynamic playmaker. Maybe a change of scenery is what the Fresno, California, native needs. He has been linked to Cal and Kansas State as possible landing spots, but given his California roots, we’re betting he’s heading to Berkeley.
Projected transfer: Cal
4. Bo Nix, Auburn
Bo Nix always felt destined to be an Auburn Tiger. The son of Patrick Nix, a former Auburn quarterback, Bo Nix was a five-star recruit coming out of Pinson Valley High School in Pinson, Alabama, and was ranked by 247Sports Composite Rankings as the No. 33 prospect in the nation and the No. 1 dual threat quarterback overall. Late Sunday night, Nix announced that the 2021 season with the Tigers would be his last, and that as a graduate transfer, he would seek out another program.
In his freshman season, he completed 16 touchdown passes with 2,542 passing yards in 13 games as he led the Tigers to a win against Alabama and a 9-4 season overall. However, he wasn’t able to replicate that season statistically in his two years since, reaching passing touchdown totals of 12 and 11. His 61 percent completion percentage in 2021 was a career-best. He finished his Auburn career with a 59.4 percent completion percentage, 7,251 passing yards, 39 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, while rushing 262 times for 869 yards and 18 touchdowns.
When Nix was on, he showed a dual-threat quarterback, who could burn teams with his legs and open up the field with his passing. During his best games, he looked like a dangerous quarterback capable of leading a team to success. He’ll just need to find the right system to work in. His best season came that freshman year under Malzahn at Auburn, and he might opt to head down to Central Florida, where the Knights could use a quarterback, to try and post some big numbers in his senior year.
Projected transfer: Central Florida
5. Cameron Ward, Incarnate Word
There aren’t going to be many that have heard of the Incarnate Ward quarterback, but that doesn’t mean he should be lost in the shuffle. Cameron Ward was a star in his freshman and sophomore seasons with the Cardinals, but after a coaching change, he is looking to find a new home.
Ward shined during his sophomore campaign, throwing 47 touchdown passes and only 10 interceptions with 4,648 passing yards with a 65.1 completion percentage. This came after an impressive freshman season during the 2021 spring as he set single-season passing records at UIW with 2,260 yards and 24 touchdowns with four interceptions in six games, helping him earn the Jerry Rice award winner, given to the best FCS freshman. However, Incarnate Ward’s head coach, Eric Morris, left the program to be the offensive coordinator, prompting Ward to look for his new home elsewhere.
Ward is a bit of a wild card as he was lightly recruited out of high school, and only now are the offers starting to come in from FBS programs. He has received offers from programs like Indiana and Houston, and more are expected to flow in. His dad told 247Sports that he might even stay at UIW, but that came in the same report as a Power Five coach telling the recruiting site that Ward is “an absolute freak.” There’s a good chance he leaves to land on the bigger stage. The only question is where. For now, we have him following his former coach to Washington State.
Projected transfer: Washington State
6. Max Johnson, LSU
Much like Oklahoma, LSU is a program that has been losing recruits and seeing a wave of transfers after a coaching change. Ed Orgeron is out, and former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is in. The result has been that two quarterbacks. First, we get to the starter during the 2021 campaign, Max Johnson.
The results might not have been there for LSU in 2021, as the team went just 6-6, but Johnson had a solid campaign for the Tigers. In his first season as the full starter, he completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 2,815 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and six interceptions. Not quite Joe Burrow numbers, but certainly a respectable campaign. Johnson was a four-star, pro-style quarterback coming out of high school, according to 247Sports, and his brother, top 2022 tight end prospect Jake Johnson, could be following him after decommitting from LSU the same day as his older brother’s transfer announcement.
The Johnson brothers are the sons of former Florida State and NFL quarterback Brad Johnson, and the need for a new QB in Tallahassee makes this seem like an ideal fit. He would figure to be a starter right away at Florida State, and could be the boost Mike Norvell needs to get off the hot seat.
Projected transfer: Florida State
7. Myles Brennan, LSU
Myles Brennan looked like he was going to be the starter at LSU early in the 2020 campaign, but he was suffered an abdominal injury against Missouri, and was unable to play for the rest of the year. After losing the job to Johnson during fall camp and not seeing the field at all in 2021, he made the decision early in November to leave Baton Rouge for another.
When Brennan started in 2020, he showed promise, completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 11 touchdowns, three interceptions and 1,112 yards. Brennan had been on the bench behind Burrow for his first several seasons in Baton Rouge after Burrow arrived from Ohio State, but coming out of high school in 2017, he showed plenty of promise, earning a four-star ranking from 247Sports Composite Rankings and being listed as the No. 6 pro-style QB in the class.
Nebraska is reportedly going all in for Brennan and hopes to land the former top recruit. Given the transfer of Martinez, the Cornhuskers will be looking for a fresh face under center to help them have a better season in 2022. Brennan provides some experience, and should be ready to be a full-time starter for a Power Five program.
Projected transfer: Nebraska
8. Jack Plummer, Purdue
Jack Plummer began the year as the Boilermakers’ starting quarterbac, but he did not last long in the role before he was replaced by Aidan O’Connell. O’Connell did enough to maintain a grip on the starting job, which has prompted Plummer to seek out another spot where he will get the majority of the snaps.
Plummer has been with the Boilermakers since coming out of the 2018 class, and he made a quick impact. He started a majority of the games in 2019 in replacing the injured Elijah Sindelar, passing for 1,603 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. O’Connell began the 2020 season as the starter, but Plummer replaced him after he was injured as well. That year, he completed 71 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns and two interceptions with 938 passing yards. That was enough to help him break camp as the starter in 2021, but he was replaced after completing 69.5 percent of his passes for 840 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions over his first four games.
Plummer is a pro-style quarterback, who would give any team a strong, accurate arm. The Arizona native did receive offers from the Wildcats, who struggled at the QB position in 2021, but it seems unlikely he would head to Tucson to compete with his younger brother, Will Plummer, for the job. He has not publicly announced any offers, but he could be a solid fit for Kansas State, which has been widely looking for a QB in the transfer portal, and which has found success in the past with a pro-style QB at the helm.
Projected transfer: Kansas State
9. Harrison Bailey
Coming out of high school, hype swirled around Harrison Bailey that he would be the starter in Knoxville. That didn’t happen, as he saw only brief time in 2020 and was completely out of the picture in 2021 after Joe Milton transferred to Tennessee. The former four-star recruit is looking to take his talents elsewhere.
For his career in Tennessee, he completed 51-of-75 passes for 594 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. 247Sports Composite Rankings had him listed as the No. 99 recruit in the 2020 class, and the third-best pro-style quarterback. Bailey has a strong arm, and plenty of size, standing 6-5, 220 pounds.
Coming out of high school, he had offers from a litany of schools, but several of them now seem like they have filled their QB positions, and Bailey will almost certainly be looking for a starting role. A native of Marietta, Georgia, he might opt to stay within his home state and head to Georgia Tech, which is in dire need of a quarterback and certainly could use someone right away with his throwing talents.
Projected transfer: Georgia Tech
10. Jack Miller
The Ohio State quarterback room was crowded, with four QBs who all at one point or another were listed as a five-star recruit. Even before Ewers made his decision to leave, Miller decided to transfer out of Columbus, seeing that it was unlikely he would get past his classmate, Stroud, for 2023, or beat out the two 2021 five-star QBs in Ewers and McCord for the backup role.
Miller saw backup duty in 2021, receiving most of his playing time against Akron when Stroud was injured and unable to play. During that game, Miller came in after McCord, and completed 5-of-8 passes for 66 yards, and rushed once for another gain of eight. Miller is a pro-style quarterback that won’t run often, but has the ability to scramble as needed, and does present a strong throwing arm to teams.
Unlike Purdue’s Jack Plummer, Miller might have no problem heading to Arizona and trying to beat out Will Plummer for the starting role down there, especially after the freshman struggled in 2021. Miller is a Scottsdale, Arizona, native and did receive an offer from the Wildcats coming out of high school. However, given the exodus of QBs from LSU, the Tigers might also make sense as a team that has had success with former Buckeye quarterbacks in the past, and Miller brings a game similar to what they had in Johnson and Brenner. And an offer to play for LSU might be too tempting to pass up.
Projected transfer: LSU