On Dec. 4, the transfer portal opened and the college football world saw a slew of talented players enter the portal in hopes of finding new life somewhere else. With the success of the big portal transfers (three of the four Heisman candidates, all QBs, transferred to their current school), players are hoping to find greener pastures on the other side of the portal.
This remains true at the QB position. While we mentioned that every QB in the Heisman race this year was a transfer, we didn’t mention how many QBs found new life as starters at different schools. According to Bearcat Journal, over 60% of the 2023 starters at Power Five schools were transfers to their new destination, and that number will more than likely skyrocket this upcoming season.
With all that being said, let’s get into the top 11 signal callers in the portal right now. I’ll only be ranking guys who have their contacts open, meaning that they can be recruited by any school. So this excludes Riley Leonard, who has no-contact on his profile and is expected to transfer to Notre Dame.
1 . Cam Ward
Ward is the big fish in the portal for QBs this year, and for good reason. He’s an exciting QB who can create big plays with his arm and legs (even when that gets him into trouble). Over his career, which spans over Incarnate Word and Washington State, Ward has thrown for 119 touchdowns and run for 16 touchdowns, creating exciting plays along the way. What the real kicker is here is that Ward has improved in his process as a QB, showing a lot of growth early this season. There are a lot of teams in on Ward, but Ohio State and Florida State seem to be the top destinations.
2. Aidan Chiles
Chiles is a very, very talented passer who has shown a lot of development under Jonathan Smith at Oregon State. Now he’s in the portal, and there are a lot of teams that should be interested. He’s got a live arm and can really test defenses downfield. He’s also an extremely talented runner, and can make any team very happy. Michigan State seems like the destination here.
3. Dante Moore
A former five-star QB who wasn’t exactly a good fit for what Chip Kelly wanted to run at UCLA, Moore is an extremely talented passer. When he’s kept upright, he can throw the ball to every part of the field with accuracy. He struggled a bit with processing (which is normal for a freshman), but he’s such a talented passer that someone is going to bring him in with the potential to have a superstar on their hands. Moore is from Detroit, and depending on what happens with JJ McCarthy at the end of the season the Wolverines could be in the mix for a QB, but Moore also was committed to Oregon before flipping to UCLA late. Never too late to run it back?
4. Will Howard
The 6’5, 240 pound Howard is one of the best athletes at QB entering the portal, but he should also be a highly coveted QB in the portal. When he plays within himself, Howard is a good QB that can be powerful in the run game and throwing the ball downfield, but can be hit by trying too hard to be Superman. I would keep an eye out for USC here; reports via KSO’s Derek Young are that Lincoln Riley visited Howard last weekend.
5. Dillon Gabriel
Big plays are the name of Gabriel’s game. Entering the portal after two solid years at Oklahoma, Gabriel is a great fit for the wide open style of college football. He has a strong enough arm to test teams downfield, while also being athletic enough to pull on option plays. In two seasons at Oklahoma, Gabriel threw 55 touchdowns to 12 INTs and added 18 touchdowns on the ground. Oregon is the big name to watch here.
6. Kurtis Rourke
One of the best QBs in the nation regardless of level, Kurtis Rourke is now in the portal. After recovering from an ankle injury last year, Rourke threw 11 touchdowns and five INTs this year, but the body of work for Rourke is so impressive. 50 touchdowns to 16 interceptions in his career and 7,666 passing yards to boot, while leading Ohio to a lot of wins. Rourke is a great decision maker who also can elevate an offense, and should be a starter at a P5.
7. EJ Warner
Another G5 to potential P5 transfer, Warner is capital G Good. The son of Kurt Warner, EJ threw for over 6,000 yards and 41 touchdowns at Temple, which hasn’t exactly been the best place to put up stats or win games. Warner doesn’t have exceptional size, but he throws the ball on time and has accuracy in the red zone. Hopefully he gets the chance to start at a P5 school where he can show off some of the tools that he has.
8. Dequan Finn
Finn is another grad transfer from a G5 school who will make an impact at a Power Five somewhere. In three seasons at Toledo, Finn threw for 7,070 passing yards and 63 touchdowns while also adding 23 touchdowns on the ground. Finn is a playmaker on the ground and has so much experience as a passer that he can win through the air as well. Another P5 guy to look for.
9. Chandler Rogers
Get to know the name Chandler Rogers, because he’s good. While at North Texas, Rogers threw for 3,382 passing yards and 29 touchdowns while also adding four touchdowns on the ground. He’s a very talented passer who can stretch the field and make plays in the run game. He’s going to a Power Five school, and could be a big name to watch as a grad transfer.
10. DJ Uiagalelei
Uiagalelei is an experienced QB, having started multiple games across both Clemson and Oregon State, and might be more of a fit for a team looking to win in one year. He’s a big, physical QB who can add on in the run game, and while the passing kind of fluctuates he showed at Oregon State that he can thrive in a play action offense with talented playmakers around him. Look for teams like FSU and UCLA in DJU’s recruitment.
11. Kyle McCord
McCord went through some ups and downs in his first year as a starter with Ohio State, but in the correct offense he can be an effective college QB. McCord finished the regular season with 3,170 passing yards and 24 touchdowns, but the fireworks show that you expect from an Ohio State QB just isn’t there. He’s more of a short yardage passer that can be effective as a college QB, just probably not a star.