Three-Point Stance: Transfer QBs, bounce-back coaches, NFL Draft steals
Rivals national columnist Mike Farrell is here with the top transfer QB additions so far this offseason, a look at five coaches who need major bounce-back seasons and a list of some potential first-round NFL Draft steals.
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1. BIGGEST TRANSFER QUARTERBACK ADDITIONS
We all know how much the transfer portal has impacted college football, especially with transfers Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Justin Fields having spectacular runs with their second program. Here are the five biggest transfer quarterback additions so far this offseason:
1. Caleb Williams, USC - Once Williams took over for Spencer Rattler midway through the Texas game last season, it was immediately evident that he is a special talent. Now he's in arguably the most storied program for quarterbacks with a great chance to be a Heisman Trophy finalist. Expectations for him are as high as for anyone in the nation.
2. Quinn Ewers, Texas - Despite having never taken a collegiate snap, Ewers winds up second on this list because he was the top prospect in the country for the 2022 class before reclassifying and enrolling at the beginning of the 2021 season. Now back in his home state of Texas, Ewers looks to be the main man behind center in Steve Sarkisian's second season, and he's got a lot riding on his shoulders.
3. Jaxson Dart, Ole Miss - Dart wasn't expected to play much as a true freshman last year at USC, but after an injury to Kedon Slovis, he stepped in and performed very well. With Lincoln Riley coming to USC and Williams following him, Dart transferred to Ole Miss and found the perfect offense to make the most of his big arm and sneaky running ability. He's got a higher ceiling than any quarterback Lane Kiffin has ever had as a head coach.
4. Cameron Ward, Washington State - The only FCS transfer on this list, Ward absolutely lit up the competition over the past two seasons, winning the Jerry Rice Award (given annually to the top freshman in the FCS) in the spring season in 2021 and then going on to be an FCS All-American in the fall, throwing for more than 4,600 yards and 47 touchdowns. He is being joined on the Palouse by his offensive coordinator at Incarnate Word, Eric Morris, and he'll put up some massive numbers in the Pac-12.
5. Spencer Rattler, South Carolina - Despite being benched for Williams in the middle of last season, there's still no denying Rattler's arm talent. He was the preseason favorite for the Heisman in 2021, and he's now re-connected with Shane Beamer at South Carolina and could put up some great numbers.
2. COACHES THAT NEED TO BOUNCE BACK IN 2022
The new coaches get a lot of attention in the Power Five but they got there for a reason — their predecessors often failed. Here are some guys who need big bounce-back seasons even if they aren’t on the hot seat.
Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M - Is this the season that the Aggies finally put it all together under Fisher? They've got as much talent as anyone in the freshman class. Yes, they're losing some talented guys to the draft, but with the return of Devon Achane and adding Max Johnson through the portal, it's put up or shut up time for one of the sport's highest-paid coaches.
James Franklin, Penn State - It's hard to believe that it's already Franklin's ninth season in Happy Valley, but coming off of back-to-back losing seasons in conference play the heat is turning up despite constant extensions. The Nittany Lions have recruited well during his tenure, but it's amounted to only one division title and zero playoff appearances. He needs a double-digit win season to show once again that he belongs at one of the most storied programs in college football.
Mack Brown, North Carolina - After a strong 2020 season that saw the Tar Heels set a bunch of offensive records, they fell back in 2021, finishing fifth in the ACC Coastal. Now they need to find a quarterback to replace Sam Howell and rebuild an offensive line that had serious issues last year. It's also time to start wondering how much longer the 70-year-old Brown wants to coach.
Steve Sarkisian, Texas - The 2021 season couldn't have gone much worse for the Longhorns in Sark's inaugural season, which included a six-game losing streak punctuated by a loss at home to hapless Kansas. He needs a big bounce-back season to get things on the right track, and he's hoping that the addition of Quinn Ewers can solve the quarterback issues that plagued the team last year. However, if it doesn't turn around this season, he may not be long for the job as the fans and boosters in Austin won't stand for much more losing.
Herm Edwards, Arizona State - This is less of an indictment of his record at Arizona State as it is one of the controversies surrounding the program. There have been multiple instances of potential NCAA violations, issues with assistant coaches and departures of their best players via the transfer portal. Things could fall apart very quickly in Tempe.
3. LOOK OUT FOR THESE FIRST-ROUND STEALS
The NFL Draft is less than two months away. Here are some prospects that may fill critical needs as first-round steals: