Transfer portal QB tracker 2023: Latest news on Riley Leonard, DJ Uiagalelei and others on the move

As the 2023 college football season comes to a close, the start of a very busy offseason has already kicked into gear ahead of conference championship week.

Multiple players have entered the transfer portal, including several currently or formerly highly-touted quarterbacks.

Here’s a look into some of the top passers currently available in the portal:

MORE: Bowl projections | Championship games picks

Best quarterbacks in the transfer portal 2023

Tyler Van Dyke, Miami

It was not long ago that Van Dyke was seen as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, with the possibility of becoming a first-round draft pick. While Van Dyke has had his bright moments and started off the season on a major upswing, he’s met some struggles. 

Van Dyke’s touchdown-to-interception ratio, largely due to some faultiness in reading a defense from time to time and decision-making, is an area of concern at 19:12. That’s the worst of his career.

There’s a sense that Van Dyke could get back to his former potential in a different offense, and that a parting of ways in in both he and Miami’s best interest. According to sources, it almost occurred last year when Van Dyke was expected to go to Alabama. Instead, he chose to stay.

Over four years at Miami, Van Dyke holds a 63.7% completion rate, passing for 7,478 yards with 54 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.

Will Rogers, Mississippi State

Some viewed Rogers as having regressed during the 2023 season as he looked uncomfortable within the offense and did not come close to matching the level of production he had reached in previous years.

That’s really not his fault though, as Rogers and the MSU team around him had to overcome the passing of the late Mike Leach, known for his success as an Air Raid guru. The Bulldogs tried to maintain continuity by promoting defensive coordinator Zach Arnett to head coach, but he did anything but that, as he hired offensive coordinator Kevin Barbay and flipped to an entirely different scheme.

Before that, Rogers had shown immense improvement in decision-making, accuracy and release time. He’s one of the best pure passers in the nation, the owner of the SEC’s single-season completion record (505 in 2021) and is the career completions leader with 1,264.

He’s the only signal-caller in conference 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 will have one year of eligibility remaining.

Will Howard, Kansas State

One of the biggest portal surprises regardless of position was the entry of Howard, who will garner a lot of attention. It is understandable why Howard entered the portal, though, as he split reps during the season with freshman quarterback Avery Johnson, who it appears the Wildcats will be moving forward with into 2024.

While there are other quarterbacks in the portal with some better individual attributes than Howard, he is still largely seen as one the best all-around option available.

He presents dual-threat capabilities as he’s completed just under 60% of his passes for 5,786 yards and 48 touchdowns with 25 interceptions on his career to this point while completing 58.8% of his throws. On the ground, he’s garnered 921 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

Howard will have one year of eligibility remaining.

Max Johnson, Texas A&M – (UNC)

Johnson showed upside as one of the bright spots of a loaded quarterback room at LSU, but once again finds himself in the transfer portal as he was unable to secure and hold onto the starting gig at another school.

Johnson saw the field for eight games at Texas A&M in 2023 and was named the starter when Connor Weigman went down with a season-ending foot injury. Johnson was unable to play in the final three games of the season for the Aggies, though, as he too suffered an injury.

As a graduate transfer, he will have immediate eligibility at UNC without the need to apply for a waiver for the second transfer.

Johnson has 30 games of SEC experience between LSU and Texas A&M, completing 60.5 percent of his passes with 47 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He’s also run for five touchdowns.

Tyler Shough, Texas Tech

Shough is another quarterback who, like Johnson, will be on the second transfer of his career. There was some optimism surrounding Shough after he transferred from Oregon to join the Red Raiders, but instead, he’s had trouble consistently showing what he can put together in his body of work due to injury.

Shough has taken the field just 15 times over three seasons for Texas Tech because of injuries. He’ll look to stay healthy and finish his career strong with a change of scenery. He has a career completion percentage of 63.5 with 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Blake Shapen, Baylor

Shapen’s decision to enter the transfer portal comes around the same time it was announced the program had parted ways with offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes. The Bears are expected to announce the hire of a new offensive coordinator within roughly the next week.

The former three-star recruit started eight games in 2023, putting up 2,188 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. Among Shapen’s biggest accomplishments is leading Baylor to a Big 12 Championship appearance in 2021, taking the place of an injured Gerry Bohanon. He has at least one year of eligibility remaining and will be immediately eligible.

Nate Johnson, Utah

The former four-star recruit brings a lot of potential to the table, but there’s little chance that potential would have been fully utilized by the Utes with the strength of the current quarterback room. Veteran quarterback Cameron Rising is returning for his seventh year and Bryson Barnes will also come back after he impressed for the majority of the 2023 season.

Johnson temporarily beat out Barnes for the starting position, but was later benched in favor of Barnes. Johnson finished out the season with 499 passing yards and 12 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He also had 235 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns over eight games.

Just a freshman, Johnson enters the portal with plenty of eligibility in search of becoming a team’s long-term option

Athan Kaliakmanis, Minnesota

After finishing out his first full season as the starter, the sophomore announced his entrance to the portal. The move makes sense for Kaliakmanis with a very real competition set to open up in the quarterback room.

Kaliakmanis finished out the season with a 53.1% completion rate, passing for 1,838 yards with 14 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.

Gerry Bohanon, USF

The former Baylor and USF quarterback was announced Tuesday evening to be in search of his next program. Bohanon has shown a lot of potential at times when he’s been healthy, but has dealt with injury issues that have set him back.

Bohanon will be on the sixth year of his college career, completing just under 60% of his passes for 3,464 yards with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Bohanon has one year of eligibility remaining.

Hank Bachmeier, Louisiana Tech

Bachmeier is looking for his third landing spot after stints at Boise State and Louisiana Tech. The multi-year starter was the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2019 and was Boise State’s highest-ranked signee in the history of the program at the time.

Heading into the sixth year of his career, Bachmeier has completed 63% of his passes for 8,663 yards with 51 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.

Bachmeier will have one year of eligibility remaining at his next destination. 

E.J. Warner, Temple

Warner, the son of former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, announced during the week he was departing from Temple. The move comes on the heels of the team missing bowl eligibility for the fourth consecutive season.

He’s thrown for at least 3,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, finishing out the 2023 season with a completion percentage of 57.5%, passing for 3,076 yards with 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Warner will have two years of eligibility remaining at his new destination. 

Ken Seals, Vanderbilt

Seals marked the first quarterback to leave the room at Vanderbilt, leaving the Commodores with a lot to think about heading into the 2024 season. 

There was a point in time Seals was viewed as a player who could be a legitimate multi-year SEC starter, though there’s been some continuous shakeup at quarterback throughout his time in Nashville.

Perhaps he can find his footing with a change of scenery. In his time at Vandy, Seals completed 60.6% of his passes for 4,292 yards with 28 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

Seals has two years of eligibility remaining. 

A.J. Swann, Vanderbilt 

The Commodores also lost Swann to the portal, just one day after Seals announced his intent to transfer. Swann showed a lot of promise, but fell short of where the bar was set, finding himself on the bench due both to injury and poor performance.

“I want to start off by thanking God for guiding me and blessing me with the opportunities I have had,” Swann said in a statement. “I would also like to thank my teammates for sticking with me and being by my side and to all y’all boys, love y’all and I know y’all are gonna be great and can’t wait to see y’all succeed.”

Swann will have two years of eligibility remaining. He finished the 2022 season with a 54.6% completion rate, passing for 1,457 yards with 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina

McCall announced on the afternoon of Nov. 26 that he was leaving Coastal Carolina and entering the transfer portal. This marks the second time McCall has entered the transfer portal after he entered it the first time when Jamey Chadwell departed for the Liberty job.

Under new head coach Tim Beck, McCall threw for 1,919 yards, 10 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He threw for 2,700 yards, 24 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in 11 games during the 2022 season.

McCall at his best and in full-capacity from a health perspective has been one of college football’s most electric players to watch and was once considered one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.

He has one year of eligibility remaining.

Riley Leonard, Duke

Duke starting quarterback Riley Leonard has entered the transfer portal following head coach Mike Elko’s departure to Texas A&M.

Landing a quarterback like Leonard will be a major accomplishment for whichever program snags him as he was considered a potential early first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft before suffering a season-ending foot injury he said he underwent surgery for around early November.

Leonard finished out the season with a 57.6% completion rate, passing for 1,102 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions as he consistently battled through injuries. He also ran for four touchdowns.

DJ Uiagalelei, Oregon State

Oregon State turned some heads this season as the Beavers made their way into the rankings, but it looks like Uiagalelei won’t be joining them in 2024.

He’s a multi-year starter who saw time at both Clemson and Oregon State in the role. While he ultimately did not become what he was expected to at Clemson, Uiagalelei reestablished himself at OSU and should be strong candidate for several schools with his improvement.

Uiagalelei has one year of eligibility left. He completed 57.1% of his passes for 2,638 yards with 21 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in 2023.

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