Transfer Portal: Five high-profile QBs make the move
With spring practice wrapped up around the country, depth charts are starting to take shape. That means plenty of players looking for playing time will be headed into the transfer portal in search of a new place to play.
No position is under a bigger spotlight than quarterback, and plenty of quarterbacks who can see the writing on the wall when it comes to playing time are now looking for new homes. Today, we look at five former high-profile recruits that have entered the portal in the past few weeks and speculate about the impact they could have at a new program.
As a recruit: Baldwin’s recruitment started out with mostly Group of Five and FCS offers and he made his commitment to Colorado State in May 2017. But as his senior season went along, word spread of his excellent play and Ohio State, Iowa and Kentucky entered the picture. By time his senior season was coming to a close, Baldwin backed off his pledge to the Rams and committed to the Buckeyes a few weeks later.
With the Buckeyes: Baldwin missed all of 2018 while recovering from a knee injury suffered at the end of his high school career but it looked like he would be in the mix to replace Dwayne Haskins, along with Tate Martell. Of course that all changed when former five-star Justin Fields transferred from Georgia and was given immediate eligibility. Martell transferred before spring practice started and now Baldwin will do the same.
Farrell’s take: Fields ran Martell out of town and now he’s done the same to Baldwin, who was a four-star out of high school. Baldwin was a tall, skinny kid at a big program in Texas that some worried was a system guy. However, we liked him enough to have him as a four-star ranked outside our Rivals250 and he has the talent to land at another big program. As with a few on this list, I’m surprised he’s leaving so soon.
As a recruit: The Southern California native fielded offers from several Pac-12 teams, including Washington, Utah and California and also had an offer from Notre Dame. But once USC was ready to take his commitment, Fink jumped on the chance to commit in the spring of 2015.
With the Trojans: After redshirting in 2016, Fink served as a backup in 2017 and 2018, appearing in seven games while playing in mostly mop-up duty. Fink’s most important playing time came after freshman starter J.T. Daniels was knocked out of the Trojans' game against Utah in 2018, when he stepped in and went 6-of-7 passing for 43 yards and a touchdown while also running for 21 yards. Unfortunately, Fink suffered an injury of his own in that game that robbed him of the chance to start in place of Daniels the following week. After battling Daniels and Jack Sears for the starting job during spring practice, Fink entered the transfer portal. Expected to graduate this year, Fink could transfer and be eligible immediately, with two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Farrell’s take: Fink is an interesting one. Out of high school, his film was solid but after seeing him in person all week at the Under Armour All-America Game, it was clear that USC reached and he didn’t have the talent to compete there. We dropped him to our lowest three-star ranking after that week and it’s hard to explain how bad and out of place he was. He’ll end up at a smaller program and have success, maybe on the FCS level.
As a recruit: Sirmon didn’t wait long to commit to the Huskies after receiving an offer as an underclassman, pledging to the school in 2015 and never wavering despite offers and interest from Alabama and several other major programs.
With the Huskies: Sirmon enrolled early but didn’t see the field in 2018 and was no better than third on the depth chart after completing his second spring practice. He has at least three years of eligibility remaining, but will have to sit out 2019 if he transfers to another FBS program, barring a waiver from the NCAA.
Farrell’s take: Sirmon was known for his big arm out of high school as he could sling it with the best of them. He’s the other four-star quarterback in the 2017 class, along with Colson Yankoff, to enter the transfer portal. I liked Sirmon a lot because he had size and that cannon arm and I’m surprised he’s giving up on Washington so quickly as he was the first quarterback to commit in that class.
As a recruit: Stevens made an early commitment to in-state Indiana but following Brandon Wimbush’s flip from Penn State to Notre Dame, Stevens followed suit and flipped his commitment to the Nittany Lions during the fall of his senior season.
With the Nittany Lions: Stevens has been primarily a backup with Penn State, sitting behind Trace McSorely after losing the quarterback competition to McSorely prior to the 2016 season. While serving as a backup, Stevens was a jack of all trades, playing some wide receiver while also appearing in short yardage situations and in mop up duty at quarterback.
In his three years on the field, Stevens had 454 yards rushing, 246 yards passing and 60 yards receiving with 12 total touchdowns. He has one year of eligibility remaining and is eligible to play at a new program in 2019.
Farrell’s take: Stevens was a tall but skinny dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school who was regarded as a slight step down from Wimbush when it comes to arm strength and athleticism. He was a very good athlete, a solid passer who needed some work on his pocket presence and accuracy but he was a pure leader. It’s surprising to see him transfer.
As a recruit: A dynamic athlete who was originally recruited by Mark Helfrich and Scott Frost at Oregon, Yankoff committed to the Ducks as an underclassman. But once the Ducks fell on hard times and Helfrich was fired, Yankoff decommitted. After fielding offers from programs around the country, he committed to Washington a few months later.
With the Huskies: Yankoff never saw the field for a Huskies in a game, despite enrolling early in 2018. After falling down the depth chart during the competition to replace Jake Browning, Yankoff elected to enter the transfer portal. He has at least three years of eligibility remaining, but will have to sit out 2019 if he transfers to another FBS program, barring a waiver from the NCAA.
Farrell’s take: I’ve often said when you have two four-star quarterbacks in the same class then often times you have one because you know one of them will transfer. In this case, both Yankoff and Sirmon are apparently leaving. Yankoff showed a lot of talent coming out of high school and could move around and tuck and run when needed. He was originally a commit to Oregon and many felt that offense was a better fit, so it will be interesting to see where he lands.