Quarterbacks transferring
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College Football's Top Returning Quarterbacks Are All Transferring

The college football landscape is changing more than we've ever seen, and the number of top quarterbacks transferring is a large part of what will be one of the craziest offseasons in the history of the sport.

Along with conference realignment, the death of the Pac-12, and an expanded College Football Playoff, the transfer portal has taken a whole new life of its own over the last few days. What was once a rare occurrence for college athletes has turned into a virtual free agency for players and programs across the country, and the list of quarterbacks transferring this offseason would have been unheard of even a year ago.

Some surprising names announced they would be entering the transfer portal just a week ago, with the likes of Washington State's Cameron Ward and Duke's Riley Leonard highlighting the class of quarterbacks heading to new schools. Other lesser-known quarterbacks including UCLA's Dante Moore and Coastal Carolina Grayson McCall also threw their names into the ring.

Two Of The Biggest Quarterbacks in College Football Are Transferring

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 3:  Quarterback Dillon Gabriel #8 of the Oklahoma Sooners cuts back past safety Tyson Wilson #1 of the UTEP Miners to score a 12-yard touchdown in the first quarter at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 3, 2022 in Norman, Oklahoma.

Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

But the quarterbacks that came out to announce that they were transferring on Monday are going to completely chance the identity of multiple college programs. Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord stunned the nation with Austin Ward from Dotting the Eyes reporting that the one-year starter would be leaving one of the top jobs in the country.

It was a disappointing year for McCord, who threw for 24 touchdowns and six interceptions, but failed to help lead Ohio State to a Big Ten title or College Football Playoff appearance. The junior unfortunately was not able to live up to the pressure and expectations of being an Ohio State quarterback, and his transfer announcement likely signals that Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day is looking at other top quarterbacks in the transfer portal to take over the starting job in Columbus.

The McCord announcement was a surprise, but was a bit understandable given his struggles to meet expectations at a top-tier program. On the other hand, Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel completely shocked the college football world with the news that he'd also be transferring.

The longtime Central Florida and Oklahoma starter helped lead the Sooners to a 10-2 record in their final season with the Big 12, and had racked up over 6,000 passing yards and 73 total touchdowns in two seasons with the program. A move to the SEC could have given Gabriel an even bigger stage to show that he's a potential NFL quarterback, but the productive QB could have an offer from another top-tier program (Ohio State?) to take over for a potential playoff-caliber team.

Other top quarterbacks transferring include Kansas State's Will Howard, Tyler Van Dyke out of Miami, and Arizona State's Drew Pyne, who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of former Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels, who became a Heisman hopeful over the past two seasons at LSU.

The decision to leave their schools may not be easy, but these quarterbacks have seen success stories across the country of players not getting an opportunity to thrive at one program, then go on to succeed at another. Joe Burrow was a former backup at Ohio State before leading LSU to a national championship, while the Washington Huskies are heading into this year's Playoff with a Pac-12 conference title thanks to Michael Penix Jr., a former starter at Indiana.

While more traditional college football fans may hate the chaos that the transfer portal is bringing, it's not going away any time soon, and it looks like the 2024 offseason is just the start of what the new normal will be for the sport going forward.

MORE: The Best College Football Players Entering the Transfer Portal