football Edit

Elite college QBs transferring at a staggering rate

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Justin Fields
Justin Fields (AP Images)

MORE: Transfer portal report | Breaking down the updated QBs

Nowhere in college football is the amount of transfers more staggering than at quarterback, where some research into the top 100 players at that position from the previous four recruiting classes unearthed one striking reality: More than half of the QBs on that list either left, switched positions or are now out of football entirely.

To put it another way: There is a better than 50 percent chance that the Rivals100 quarterback who signs with your favorite school will not end up playing quarterback at that school.

What is also evident through the research is that more transfers should be expected. Eight of the top 10 pro-style quarterbacks and seven of the top 10 dual-threat quarterbacks in the 2014 class either transferred or switched positions.

In the 2015 class, the numbers are even more staggering, as eight of the top 10 dual-threat quarterbacks went to another school, and one (Tulsa’s Chad President) retired from football, leaving only USC’s Sam Darnold as the only player who stayed at his school before leaving for the NFL. As the recruiting classes get closer to present day, fewer transfers have transpired, but they could be coming any day.

Transferring, though, is not a sign of failure. Kyler Murray is on the transfer list, and he was the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft two months ago. Jacob Eason could lead Washington a Pac-12 title this season. Shea Patterson is leading a strong Michigan offense. Justin Fields will have an opportunity to do huge things at Ohio State. And could Jalen Hurts make it three Heismans in a row for transfer quarterbacks at Oklahoma, following in the footsteps of Murray and Baker Mayfield (another transfer by the way)?


This is astonishing information, honestly. I didn’t think that more than 50 percent of the top quarterbacks over the last four recruiting cycles would be transferring, playing a different position or out of football. For every Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence there is a Keller Chryst or Will Grier or Brandon Harris, who were all highly regarded and ranked out of high school.

The bottom line is this – if you don’t play an elite quarterback early at your school you’re very likely to lose him. This was never the case a decade ago, as there were some transfers but nothing like this at the position. And it will only get worse with the new rules put in place that allow for years of eligibility to remain intact even playing four games and how easy it appears to get instant approval for immediate eligibility from the NCAA. They say wide receivers are divas, but the quarterback position has and always will be the ultimate position for inflated egos. Many players like Murray made the right decision, but so many others have not. And it shows.

STAYED AT SCHOOL (48 players)  

Brad Kaaya, Mason Rudolph, Deshaun Watson, Clayton Thorson, DeShone Kizer, Josh Rosen, Jake Browning, Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, Brian Lewerke, Sam Darnold, K.J. Costello, Feleipe Franks, Dwayne Haskins, Jarrett Guarantano, Khalil Tate, Skylar Thompson, Davis Mills, Jake Fromm, Kasim Hill, Dylan McCaffrey, Sean Clifford, Mac Jones, Chase Brice, Kellen Mond, Tua Tagovailoa, Keytaon Thompson, Sam Ehlinger, Jack Sears, N’Kosi Perry, Malik Cunningham, James Blackman, Trevor Lawrence, JT Daniels, Matt Corral, Tanner McKee, Jacob Sirmon, Tyler Shough, Devin Leary, Cammon Cooper, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Joey Gatewood, Justin Rogers, Phil Jurkovec, Emory Jones, Adrian Martinez, Dakereon Joyner, Jarren Williams

TRANSFERS (44 players)

Kyle Allen, Keller Chryst, David Cornwell, Justice Hansen, Michael O’Connor, K.J. Carta-Samuels, Will Grier, Treon Harris, Brandon Harris, Rafe Peavey, D.J. Gillins, Brady White, Ricky Town, Ty Storey, Deondre Francois, Blake Barnett, Travis Waller, Brandon Wimbush, Kyler Murray, Jarrett Stidham, Dwayne Lawson, Sheriron Jones, Jacob Eason, Austin Kendall, Brandon Peters, Patrick O’Brien, Messiah deWeaver, Jack Allison, Shea Patterson, Malik Henry, Shane Buechele, Max Gilliam, Devon Modster, Zerrick Cooper, Jalen Hurts, Hunter Johnson, Chris Robison, Tristan Gebbia, Tate Martell, Braxton Burmeister, Jack Tuttle, Cameron Rising, Justin Fields, Colson Yankoff


Sean White, Drew Barker, Jerrod Heard, William Crest, Zach Gentry, Tyler Hilinski, Chad President, Jake Zembiec