On The Move: Talented Passers Find New Homes
Just in case anybody wonders what impact the transfer portal and in particular, the ability to be immediately eligible after transferring for the first time, take a quick look at the current Heisman Trophy odds. There are 15 NCAAF quarterbacks with odds of +4000 or better to win the Heisman Trophy and eight of them will be playing for different programs during the 2022 season.
With USC’s Caleb Williams, Quinn Ewers of Texas, Jaxson Dart of Ole Miss, and Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel are among the Heisman candidates who have found new homes, it should be noted that the top two candidates are Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud- and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young of Alabama. They top the current list of college football rankings.
Familiar Faces Should Aid USC’s Williams
Caleb Williams believed in what Lincoln Riley was selling when the Washington D.C. native decided to sign and play for him at Oklahoma; as the place he started his career as an NCAAF quarterback.
With a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback in Spencer Rattler, not much was expected of Williams during the 2021 season. Williams threw 11 passes in the first five games of the season.
When Oklahoma scores a total of 39 points in closer than anticipated wins over Nebraska and West Virginia followed by another narrow escape against Kansas State, Riley turned to his true freshman who started the final eight games of the season.
If his stats in those eight starts were projected over 13 games, Williams would have thrown for nearly 3000 yards with 34 touchdown passes to go with eight TD runs and more than 600 rushing yards. Oklahoma fans were asking what the next few seasons might look like with Williams, the unquestioned starting quarterback.
How quickly things change, the next pass Williams will throw will come at USC as he transferred to Southern California not long after Riley took the head coaching job there.
USC also added former Pittsburgh receiver Jordan Addison, who is in contention as the top returning pass catcher in college football. Mario Williams, who finished tied for second on the 2021 Oklahoma team with 35 catches, is also with the Trojans. It is no wonder that Williams (+800) has the third-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy.
Seven teams in the Pac-12 had better conference records than USC during the 2021 season, but the NCAA football odds have the Trojans (+2000) as tied for the fourth-best odds to win the national championship.
Opportunity Knocks for Ewers and Dart
Williams is not the only highly touted quarterback recruit in the Class of 2021 on the move in the ever-changing landscape of the NCAAF quarterback.
Quinn Ewers returned home to play at the University of Texas after enrolling at Ohio State as the No. 1 rated player in his recruiting class. Although he has yet to throw a pass in a college game, he comes in tied for fifth in the Heisman Trophy odds at +2000.
Jaxson Dart, the No. 10 rated QB in his class, made quite the splash when he threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns at Washington State.
Dart didn’t play in the first two games of the season for USC but when Kedon Slovis was injured, Dart stepped in with a debut to top all debuts. After not playing in the next four contests, Dart passed for nearly 1000 yards in the final five games of 2021. With Williams coming to USC, Dart landed at Ole Miss to replace Matt Corral.
Dart is currently at +2200 in the Heisman Trophy odds. Those happen to be the same as those of Slovis who is now at Pittsburgh. Yes, there is a trend here with both Corral and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett being selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, there are openings in programs that are willing to air things out on offense.
Daniels Moves Again
There might not be a player in major college football who has a better understanding on how the transfer portal work than J.T. Daniels.
Daniels started his career at USC in 2018. He threw for 2672 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman. After losing the starting job and throwing just 34 passes during the next season, Daniels headed off to Georgia.
Daniels had games with 401 and 392 passing yards for the Bulldogs in 2020, however, once again he is on the move with Stetson Bennett the starter at Georgia. Daniels landed at West Virginia, which finished fourth in the Big 12 in passing offense a season ago.
His odds to win the Heisman Trophy are +2200.
Veteran QBs Look to Thrive in New Homes
While some of the more noteworthy quarterbacks who transferred were members of the Class of 2021, there are others who have quite a bit more experience.
Dillon Gabriel passed for more than 8000 yards and 70 touchdown passes while at Central Florida. He is now at Oklahoma looking to restart his career after an injury limited him to just three games during the 2021 season.
One of the quarterbacks he will be replacing for the Sooners is Spencer Rattler who passed for more than 4500 yards and nearly 40 touchdowns during the 2020 and 2021 season before giving way to Williams.
Ironically, both the current and former Oklahoma quarterbacks have +3000 odds to win the Heisman Trophy.
Bo Nix threw for more than 7000 yards during his three seasons as Auburn’s starting quarterback. He had 39 touchdown passes and 18 scoring runs for the Tigers. He is now a member of the Oregon Ducks. The head coach for Oregon should know what Nix is capable of because two of Nix’s 34 games at Auburn came against Georgia where Dan Lanning was the defensive coordinator.
Nix is a little bit behind the other transfers with +4000 Heisman Trophy odds.Follow us on Twitter