Greetings Sapient fans and welcome to my inaugural column. My name is Mike Huesmann and I appreciate you reading this. In my columns I will focus in on the college football transfer portal and all things related to it, including coaching changes and recruiting battles. The portal, as many of you know, has caused wide ripples in the CFB landscape with every major commitment seemingly leading to another player entering the portal, it is that chain reaction I will explore. Today we will focus on the quarterbacks. With Caleb Williams Fighting on, which then caused Jaxson Dart to join the Lane Train, we have the two premier remaining QB’s off the board but there are still out there who have plenty of experience. I will rank my top 5 remaining QB’s, schools I think they might be a fit at and are realistic options, and who might enter the portal if they choose that school.
- J.T. Daniels, Georgia.
- Shane Illingworth, Oklahoma St.
- Peter Costelli, Utah
- Taisun Phommachanh, Clemson
- Jack Sears, Boise St.
Since the publication of this article Shane Illingworth has committed to Nevada (2-2-2022).
- J.T. Daniels, Georgia
Possiblities: Notre Dame, LSU, Missouri, West Virginia, Florida St., Colorado St.
Chain Reactions: If Daniels goes to Notre Dame we could potentially see two capable QB’s exit as he arrives in South Bend. Tyler Buchner was the definite number 2 after Jack Coan and seemingly would feel he can be a starter at a decent FBS school. Drew Pyne also saw snaps last year and with multiple seasons left he could be a guy who gets brought in to compete somewhere. If Daniels chooses LSU I would expect Myles Brennan, who already dipped his feet in the portal, to leave Baton Rouge this summer and he could be a guy many teams have their eyes on at that stage in the offseason. Mizzou already lost their QB, former SEC Freshmen of the year Connor Bazelak to Indiana in the portal and others likely wouldn’t be prime targets in the portal. West Virginia also already lost their signal caller, Jarret Doege, to Western Kentucky via the portal. A reunion between Daniels and new Mountaineers OC Graham Harrell should at least be kept on the table. Youngsters Garrett Greene and Will Crowder would both be interesting if they hit the portal and would find a home somewhere, though they may decide to stay for a year and then battle for the job. Lastly, the Seminoles may be an option as they could use an experienced QB. Having already lost Chubba Purdy to the Scott Frost desperation hour the Seminoles may not lose anyone else.
2. Shane Illingworth, Oklahoma St.
North Carolina, Florida St., Missouri, Nevada, Tulsa, Colorado.
Chain Reaction: With Spencer Sanders set for another year slinging the ball for the Pokes it seems reasonable that the gargantuan California native Illingworth would seek to the the starter under center at another program. The Tar Heels are in need of a QB after the Sam Howell tenure came to an end. Illingworth doesn’t fit the prototype of a Brown/Longo QB but he certainly could battle Jacolby Criswell and Drake Maye for the job. It is almost certain one or both of them would then hit the portal if Illingworth arrives and wins the job. The Seminoles and Mizzou were discussed in regards to Daniels and that holds here. Mizzou being in the market for a portal QB will be an on-going theme until the land one. With Carson Strong about to be playing on Sundays the Wolfpack of Nevada now under Ken Wilson’s leadership would seem a logical landing spot with no premium QB left on the roster having also graduated the backup, Nate Cox. Nevada may be a lesser name but one to watch in this chase. The Tulsa Golden Hurricane return Davis Brin, the only man to throw a pass for them last fall, so it is an unconventional landing for Illingworth though Phil Montgomery has been mentioned here. Colorado is also a team to watch here but with Brendon Lewis having multiple years to play it is not what I would call the best of fits. Should Boulder be his landing spot then Lewis becomes a commodity should he decide to seek greener pastures.
3. Peter Costelli, Utah
Possibilities: LSU, Oregon, Oregon St., Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Cal, Missouri.
Chain Reaction: We’ve already went over LSU though the possibility of losing Brennan may be less likely with Costelli as that would be an unclear situation on who wins the job. Oregon is an interesting situation where he would almost certainly backup Bo Nix on his farewell tour then start but the potential for Nix to use his covid year of 2020 and comeback in 2023 makes Oregon a longshot to me. The Ducks bitter rivals in the Civil War, whoops I forgot we aren’t calling it that anymore, the Beavs also may be a contender but with Chance Nolan having 2 years left this also seems like a poor fit. Clark Lea and Vanderbilt is a unique situation. The Dores return Ken Seals and Mike Wright who each took ample snaps last year, though neither had what anyone would call a stellar season. Costelli has more natural talent than either but going into a situation with returning starters is always a risk, though it may be less so considering neither had a stranglehold on the job. This easily could lead Seals or Wright to hit the portal themselves. The Cal Bears have already brought in Jack Plummer from Purdue in the portal though he is running out of years to play. This fit makes some sense as they recruited Costelli, a Mission Viejo native, hard out of high school. Virginia Tech with new coach Brent Pry are also a team who’s supposedly interested in Costelli having lost Braxton Burmeister to San Diego State, as well as reserve QB Knox Kadum this portal season. They have brought in Grant Wells from Marshall, in addition to Jason Brown from South Carolina, so this one doesn’t do it for me. In a recurring theme the Missouri Tigers are searching for a QB in the portal after losing Bazelak, will they find one?
4. Taisun Phommachanh, Clemson
Possibilities: UConn, Boston College, Missouri, Cincinnati.
Chain Reaction: Phommachanh is an interesting portal prospect. He has been on the open market for a long time now with little indication where he will go. It is possible he is waiting for the right fit, it is possible he’s letting the other portal QB’s settle to find the best available school, and it has been rumored that schools are apprehensive about his passing ability. He’s a tough one to gauge. A highly touted recruit out of Connecticut, no one would fault him for being behind Trevor Lawrence or D.J. Uiagalelei on Dabo’s depth chart. A trip home to UConn now under former NFL head man Jim Mora could be in the cards though with the Huskies already bringing in Ta’Quan Roberson from Penn State I don’t like the odds here. Boston College poses an interesting situation, a P5 team who will surely need a QB in 2023 after Phil Jurkovec graduates. Will Taisun be content serving as a #2 for another year then battling for the job? Phommachanh is yet another possibility for Mizzou, see a theme yet? His passing woes may turn Eli Drinkwitz off but if the musical chairs stop and no one lands in Columbia it wouldn’t be a jaw dropper. The Cincinnati Bearcats where a team heavily involved in recruiting him as a high school senior, is it possible Luke Fickell would come back and have him take a crack at succeeding Desmond Ridder? A move here would likely put Evan Prater, a former Mr. Ohio, in the transfer portal.
5. Jack Sears, Boise St.
Possibilities: Tulsa, New Mexico, Idaho, other FCS.
Chain Reaction: College number 3 for Sears will be interesting. The former USC player, who briefly signed with San Diego St. before landing in Boise is set to leave the blue turf. There is very little clues on where Sears might end up but his natural talent and measurables should at least earn him a battle for a starting job at a G5 school for his final year of eligibility. A former highly touted recruit who just hasn’t seemed to make it all work for him, Sears will probably not have P5 suiters and the FCS remains a definite possibility for anyone of this caliber who only has one year to go. It’s difficult to tell where he ends up as some schools may be apprehensive of his lack of previous success and development after being such a highly touted recruit. New Mexico is a team who could be a destination for Sears having lost Terry Wilson Jr. who himself had arrived from Kentucky. With a year left and Danny Gonzales yet to prove himself entering year 3, a guy who can arrive and step in immediately makes sense. Idaho, now in FCS, and with Jason Eck having recently arrived from FCS power South Dakota St. would also be a team in need of a QB’s services where there would be minimal disruption to the current roster.