Will Rogers landing spots: Miami, Auburn among possible transfer destinations for Mississippi State QB

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers has entered the transfer portal, as he announced Friday after the Egg Bowl loss to Ole Miss.

Rogers, like many other players on the MSU roster heading into the 2023 season, ultimately became the collateral damage of now-fired coach Zach Arnett after he fired the vast majority of the late Mike Leach’s staff. Rogers had put up record numbers and was on an upswing that was deterred by an inexperienced Arnett trying to do things his way — making the offensive scheme do a full 180-degree turn that did not work out for anyone. 

Rogers’ long list of milestones speaks for itself. To name just a few of those, he’s the SEC’s single-season completions leader (505 in 2021) and career completions leader with 1,264.

Rogers is the only quarterback in SEC history with over 1,000 career completions. The next closest (Georgia’s Aaron Murray, 2010-13) holds just 921 completions. He is also listed at fourth on the SEC career passing touchdowns (94). 

He especially made strides during the back half of the 2021 season, making marked improvements upon his ball placement, release time and decision-making. It was in that season he broke the SEC single-game completion percentage record as he completed 92.3% of his passes in the upset victory over No. 12-ranked Kentucky.

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One of the biggest narratives that surrounds Rogers and other quarterbacks is that they come from an offense that is “too simple” but that’s been debunked several times as multiple Air Raid quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes have gone on to have successful NFL careers and it’s easy to argue Air Raid quarterbacks carry a larger amount of responsibility, as they practically become a coach on the field when they reach veteran status.

Here’s a look into three possible landing spots that make sense for the Air Raid signal-caller.

Will Rogers landing spots

Miami (Fla.)

According to sources, Miami was heavily interested in bringing on Rogers ahead of the 2023 season, but Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke decided to stay in Coral Gables instead of transferring to Alabama. With that, both Rogers and Van Dyke stayed put at their respective schools.

Looking back at the way the season went for Miami, Van Dyke did show some upside but it seems both parties would be better off going their separate ways in 2024. Van Dyke has come off as non-committal when asked about his future plans, so that seems like something that could become a reality.

Under head coach Mario Cristobal, this could be a good fit.

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Auburn 

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Auburn was one of the most popularly mentioned programs regarding quarterback transfers ahead of the 2023 season and the Tigers do not appear to have fully found their answer.

Such has been the case for several years now as the team clearly did not have the right coaching staff to fully utilize his talents. Former Michigan State QB Payton Thorne holds the starting role for the Tigers right now, but a player like Rogers could bring in some added competition and take the job.

The Tigers still have some things to work through offensively, but did make some strides during the beginning of the Hugh Freeze era, coming up just short of an upset of Alabama on Saturday.

Western Kentucky

Hilltoppers offensive coordinator Drew Hollingshead worked under Leach at Mississippi State and has already had involvement in Rogers’ development. Making a move to a school with ties to Leach and the Air Raid could serve Rogers well and give him a sense of comfort and continuity.

The Hilltoppers have been set with veteran quarterback Austin Reed, who has carried on the school’s legacy of developing great quarterbacks at the next level. According to sources in the back half of the season, Reed is expected to be a mid-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Rogers would be a fine fit here to assume his position, as he would with other schools that have Air Raid elements like Colorado State.

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