4 min read

Everyone is still chasing that 2022 feeling

Jayden Daniels won the Heisman at LSU this year.

Michael Penix Jr. has Washington one win away from a National Championship next week.

Bo Nix threw for 45 touchdowns this season.

Jaxson Dart has Ole Miss buzzing after he lit up the scoreboard in the Peach Bowl this year.

Quinn Ewers brought Texas back.

Cam Ward is going to make the jump from Wazzu to potentially the first round of the NFL Draft this year.

Oh yeah, and there is some guy named Caleb Williams too.

The quarterback transfer class in 2022 was elite. It produced some of college football's best quarterbacks. Now, as teams attack the transfer portal to add to their 2024 recruiting classes, everyone is chasing that 2022 feeling.

And who can blame them? Some of the names on this list are elite quarterbacks who will go onto have NFL careers. And we're not even talking about guys like Dillon Gabriel, Spencer Rattler, Jayden de Laura, or Tommy DeVito.

Even with all of that success - and, boy, is it ever a lot of success - there were still a lot of quarterbacks in that 2022 transfer class who flopped. Max Johnson was highly rated when he committed to Texas A&M but that hasn't panned out. Kedon Slovis transferred to Pitt in 2022 only to transfer out again in 2023. Connor Bazelak also transferred again in 2023. So did JT Daniels. And Casey Thompson. Adrian Martinez lost his starting job at K-State after he transferred in.

So it wasn't like 100% of the quarterbacks were great, but certainly there was enough to make college coaches excited about the opportunities within the transfer portal.

The 2023 class should put a significant damper on that excitement, though.

The top quarterbacks who transferred in 2023 - from Sam Hartman to Jacob Conover (plus a few more to get us to an even 50) have all wrapped up their seasons. Let's take a look at how they panned out.

4000-yard passers: 0

3000-yard passers: 2

Shedeur Sanders - 3229, Jack Plummer - 3198

Players who finished in the Top 50 in total passing yards: 4

Players with 25+ TD Passes: 3

Players with 10+ Interceptions: 9

Players with 1500 or less passing yards: 30

The results aren't terrible, but they aren't nearly what 2022 was either. At the end of it all, the class of 2023 transfer portal quarterbacks produced a whole lot of average and very little spectacular.

Could some of these players take steps forward and win jobs in 2024? Of course they could. Their stories aren't all written in stone yet. But it's also very clear that the level of success that 2022 had won't be achieved here.

So what does all of this mean?

Well, nothing, necessarily. Could the 2024 class surprise people and have some crazy impact players? It definitely could. Nobody expected Penix Jr. to develop into the player he's turned into, and people had cast Nix off as a bust coming out of Auburn. But for the most part, the top rated quarterbacks in 2022 produced top rated results.

#1. Caleb Williams - Heisman

#2. Quinn Ewers - College Football Playoff

#3. Jaxson Dart - 11 wins and a New Year's Six game

#4. Spencer Ratter - A quiet 3100+ yard season in 2023

#5. Cam Ward - A quiet 3700+ yard season in 2023, securing himself a Day 1 or 2 draft pick

#6. Dillon Gabriel - Another quiet season, but 3600+ passing yards in Norman.

#11 Jayden Daniesl - Heisman

Nix was rated #18 and Penix #22, but for the most part, the top performers were the top rated players in 2022.

2023's top rated players?

#1. Sam Hartman - 2696 passing yards

#2. Devin Leary - 2750 passing yards

#3. Hudson Card - 2384 passing yards

#4. Shedeur  Sanders - 3229 passing yards

#5. Walker Howard - 56 passing yards

#6. Brennan Armstrong - 1783 passing yards

#7. Tanner Mordecai - 2061 passing yards

#8. DJ Uiagalelei - 2621 passing yards

#9. Collin Schlee - 217 passing yards

#10. Luke Altmyer - 1877 passing yards

No Heismans. The only 3000-yard season was a player who transferred to follow his dad from school-to-school. Probably not any first-round draft picks on this list either. It's all pretty pedestrian.

#12 Graham Mertz played well, 2910 passing yards and 20 touchdowns at Florida.

#18 Mikey Keene played well too, but he did it at the Mountain West Conference level, throwing for 2979 yards and 23 touchdowns at Fresno State.

The best performer was probably #35 Jack Plummer at Louisville, finishing the season with 3198 passing yards and 21 scores.

What does 2024 look like? Well, on paper at least, it's got a lot more 2023 to it than it does 2022.

#1. Aidan Chiles: Oregon State --> Michigan State

#2. Dante Moore: UCLA --> Oregon

#3. Maalik Murphy: Texas --> Duke

#4. Malachi Nelson: USC --> ?

#5. Kaidon Salter: Liberty --> ?

#6. Will Howard: K-State --> ?

#7. Riley Leonard: Duke --> Notre Dame

#8. Brock Vandagriff: Georgia --> Kentucky

#9. Dequan Finn: Toledo --> Baylor

#10. Dillon Gabriel: Oklahoma --> Oregon

The Moral: 2022's transfer class is looking more and more like an anomaly to me. There were bizarre situations at high profile schools that led to a cascade of transfers. Caleb Williams left with his coach, who pushed out Jaxson Dart. Spencer Rattler also left Oklahoma because of Williams and his coach, but for different reasons. Quinn Ewers left Ohio State before he finished unpacking his suitcase. Michael Penix Jr. was an afterthought and Bo Nix was a cast off. It was a unique year.

2024 looks a lot more like 2023, and neither of those classes appear to be great.

So, what is the moral of all of this?

Aaron Roderick and BYU simply have to improve their high school quarterback recruiting. The portal is not something they can count on for the long term because the talent just isn't going to be there.

So, as BYU grapples with their quarterback conundrum over the next few months, I'd be wary of criticizing how they've recruited the portal. I just don't think the talent is there.

But that doesn't mean the coaches don't deserve criticism. Roderick's failures at the high school level has put BYU into the situation that they're in right now. The inability to land and develop difference makers out of high school had pigeon-holed BYU into a situation where they have to rely on the portal.

That problem has to be addressed in a big way in the Class of 2025. If it's not, this quarterback uncertainty could be the way of the future for BYU's next few years.