College Football QB Newsletter - December 16, 2023
CFB Quarterback Depth Chart, Injury, Transfer Portal & Recruiting News of the Day
An annual subscription costs $59.99/year, nearly 30% off the monthly rate.
Happy bowl season to those who observe. Here’s a ton of QB info.
DEPTH CHART & INJURY REPORT
UCLA QBs Ethan Garbers (Stats) and Collin Schlee (Stats) are listed as co-starters for Saturday’s LA Bowl against Boise State. Chip Kelly has said he anticipates Garbers being available after exiting the regular season finale with an injury on the opening drive. Schlee appeared to be unavailable for that game but was seen practicing earlier this month, according to Bruin Report Online’s David Woods. Garbers has taken over as the starter when everyone is healthy, and both have a year of eligibility remaining after the bowl game.
Boise State head coach Spencer Danielson said true freshman QB CJ Tiller (Stats) will likely start Saturday’s LA Bowl against UCLA. He and Colt Fulton (Stats) are listed as co-starters on the depth chart with Maddux Madsen (Stats) out with an injury, and Taylen Green (Stats) has since transferred to Arkansas. Tiller and Fulton combined for five snaps at quarterback this fall.
Cal QB Ben Finley (Stats) will be available as the backup to Fernando Mendoza (Stats) for Saturday’s Independence Bowl against Texas Tech despite being in the transfer portal. Sam Jackson V (Stats) also entered the transfer portal but is not listed on the depth chart, so he is likely not going to be available. Mendoza announced he will return in 2024, but the Golden Bears added North Texas transfer quarterback Chandler Rogers (Stats), who’s the likely starter in 2024 heading into his final year of eligibility.
Photo courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications
Ohio named Parker Navarro (Stats) the starting quarterback for Saturday’s Myrtle Beach Bowl against Georgia Southern, according to the team’s Twitter account. Bobcats’ starter Kurtis Rourke (Stats) transferred to Indiana since the end of the season, and CJ Harris (Stats) has been out most of the season with an undisclosed medical emergency. Navarro played four games at quarterback this season, and Callum Wither (Stats) is listed as the backup on the depth chart.
Louisiana QB Chandler Fields (Stats) is listed as the starter with D’Wanye’ Winfield (Stats) as the backup on the depth chart for Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl against Jacksonville State. Fields has been starting since Ben Wooldridge (Stats) and Zeon Chriss (Stats) suffered season-ending injuries.
Jacksonville State QB Zion Webb (Stats) is listed as the starter ahead of Logan Smothers (Stats) on the depth chart for Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl against Louisiana. Webb and Smothers have split work for much of the season, but Webb has taken over as the guy recently. This will be his final college football game, while Smothers still has a year of eligibility remaining as the favorite to start in 2024.
New Mexico State QB Diego Pavia (Stats) is listed as the starter for Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl against against Fresno State, followed by Eli Stowers (Stats) and Blaze Berlowitz (Stats). Pavia said he’s confident he will be his usual self after exiting the conference championship with a shoulder injury. Berlowitz entered at QB instead of Stowers, and those two have been dealing with injuries but are expected to be available.
Miami (OH) quarterback Henry Hesson (Stats) is listed as the starter for Saturday’s Cure Bowl against Appalachian State with Brett Gabbert (Stats) out with a leg injury and Aveon Smith (Stats) in the transfer portal. Hesson played two snaps this fall, and Maddox Kopp (Stats) is the backup on the depth chart. Kopp has been ineligible all season due to the NCAA becoming more strict on multi-time transfers. Gabbert already announced he will return in 2024 and will likely be the RedHawks starter.
Texas State QB TJ Finley (Stats) will make a decision on his future after the First Responder Bowl against Rice on Dec. 26. He has two years of eligibility remaining after this season is keeping his options open when it comes to returning to the team and entering the transfer portal or NFL Draft. Malik Hornsby (Stats) has been the backup QB all season for the Bobcats, and 2024 will be his final year of eligibility.
TRANSFER PORTAL REPORT
Washington received a commitment from Mississippi State transfer QB Will Rogers (Stats) for his final year of eligibility, he told ESPN’s Pete Thamel. Rogers posted an Instagram story of his Huskies visit earlier in the day as the they landed their replacement for Michael Penix Jr. (Stats) heading into 2024.
Kansas State transfer quarterback Will Howard (Stats) posted his USC visit to his Instagram story on Friday, and the Trojans have been considered the favorite for Howard since he entered the transfer portal. Nothing has been made official in terms of Caleb Williams (Stats) and the 2024 NFL Draft, but he might be the No. 1 overall pick and is not playing in the bowl game. When you combine that with USC going after one of the top available QBs with one year of eligibility remaining, I think we can see where this is going.
Oregon State transfer QB Aidan Chiles (Stats) announced he will reunite with head coach Jonathan Smith at Michigan State with three years of eligibility remaining. Chiles had a regular role in the third series of most games as a true freshman with the Beavers this fall and joins walk-on Andrew Schorfhaar (Stats) as the lone quarterbacks on the Spartans roster currently. It would take an injury for Chiles to not be the Week 1 starter in 2024.
Washington State transfer QB Cameron Ward (Stats) is visiting Florida State after his recent Miami trip with no more visits set up at this point, according to ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren. If he decides to go on more visits, Ward said USC, Nebraska and Washington would be in the mix, according to the report though this was before the Huskies added a commitment from Will Rogers (Stats). Ward has one year of eligibility remaining at his next stop.
Texas transfer quarterback Maalik Murphy (Stats) was expected to visit Duke on Friday, followed by Baylor on Saturday and Oregon State on Sunday, according to 247Sports’ Greg Biggins. Murphy is scheduled to visit South Carolina as well, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel. All four programs are looking to replace their starting quarterback from the 2023 season. Murphy officially entered the transfer portal on Thursday with three years of eligibility remaining after being the No. 2 quarterback with the Longhorns this fall. He will not stick with the team during the College Football Playoff.
Missouri quarterback Gabarri Johnson (Stats) entered the transfer portal with four years of eligibility remaining, according to On3’s Pete Nakos. The former 4-star prospect did not play a snap or crack the top three on the depth chart as a true freshman in 2023. Brady Cook (Stats) is set to return as the Missouri starting quarterback with Sam Horn (Stats) and Jake Garcia (Stats) behind him if they’re all back in 2024.
Former NC State quarterback MJ Morris (Stats) announced his commitment to Maryland with three years of eligibility remaining. Morris took over as the Wolfpack starter in each of the last two seasons but shut things down in 2023 after four games to use it as a redshirt year. He will open as the starter in 2024 as the replacement for Taulia Tagovailoa (Stats), who’s out of eligibility.
Indiana added former Ohio QB Kurtis Rourke (Stats) for his final year of eligibility. He was a three-year starter with the Bobcats and has a strong chance to be a 2025 NFL Draft pick with a strong season against Big Ten competition. Rourke will immediately step into the QB1 role looking ahead to next season.
Auburn QB Robby Ashford (Stats) entered the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining, according to Newsweek’s Nubyjas Wilborn. Ashford was never able to overtake Payton Thorne (Stats) as the starter this fall and was being pushed by Holden Geriner (Stats) for the backup role. He held a regular role as a rushing threat and appeared in 10 games in 2023. Assuming Ashford does not stick around for the bowl game, Gerner will be elevated to being the No. 2 option behind Thorne.
Florida State transfer quarterback AJ Duffy (Stats) announced he will play at San Diego State with three years of eligibility remaining. Duffy was the Seminoles’ fourth-string option at quarterback this fall, and the former 4-star prospect appeared in five games over two years at Florida State. Aztecs’ starter Jalen Mayden (Stats) is out of eligibility, and Duffy could take over that role with Tobin O’Dell (Stats) as his main challenger.
Syracuse will host Ohio State transfer QB Kyle McCord (Stats) this weekend, according to Rivals’ Adam Friedman. With McCord no longer expected to be part of the plan at Nebraska, the Orange appear to be next in line to get the Buckeyes’ 2023 starting quarterback. They’ll need to replace starter Garrett Shrader (Stats) after the bowl game, and McCord has one year left to play.
LSU will host Vanderbilt transfer QB AJ Swann (Stats) this weekend, according to On3’s Chad Simmons. Swann has started plenty of games for the Commodores over the last two seasons, and he would be fighting for the backup spot behind Garrett Nussmeier (Stats) if he lands with the Tigers, which is an option that could make sense. Swann has just two years of eligibility remaining but has yet to use a redshirt season.
Louisville will not add another quarterback in the transfer portal, according to On3’s Pete Nakos. The Cardinals had been mentioned for a few options after landing Tyler Shough (Stats), but they appear to be content at the position with Shough set to play his final season of college football.
Colorado added a commitment from former Kentucky quarterback Destin Wade (Stats), who announced the news on Twitter. Head coach Deion Sanders said the Buffaloes would be in the market for multiple veteran quarterbacks to work behind Shedeur Sanders (Stats) in 2024, so they may not be done yet. Wade was the Wildcats third-string option last fall and appeared in one game over two seasons with three years of eligibility remaining.
Rutgers transfer quarterback Evan Simon (Stats) committed to Temple, according to his Twitter account. The Owls need to replace starter EJ Warner (Stats) and backup Quincy Patterson (Stats) next season, and Simon’s top challengers are Forrest Brock (Stats) and Tyler Douglas (Stats). Simon has two years of eligibility remaining.
Former Wake Forest quarterback Mitch Griffis (Stats) announced his commitment to Marshall with two years of eligibility remaining. Griffis started the majority of games for the Demon Deacons this fall with Cole Pennington (Stats) as his top competition for the QB1 role in 2024. The Thundering Herd need to replace starter Cam Fancher (Stats), who’s in the transfer portal.
East Carolina transfer quarterback Mason Garcia (Stats) announced his commitment to Austin Peay with two years of eligibility remaining. Garcia opened the 2023 season as the Pirates’ starting QB before Alex Flinn (Stats) took over.
Army QB Champ Harris (Stats) announced he’s in the transfer portal with three years of eligibility remaining with the opportunity to redshirt if needed. Harris operated as the backup to Bryson Daily (Stats) as a true freshman this fall and played in six games. He was ahead of third-string Larry Robinson (Stats), who also announced he will enter the transfer portal with four years of eligibility left. Daily will likely return as the Black Knights’ starter in 2024.
Coastal Carolina QB Luke Sather (Stats) announced he will enter the transfer portal with four years of eligibility remaining. Sather did not play a snap as a true freshman in 2023 and was not among the top four options on the depth chart.
Navy QB Tyler Baker announced he will enter the transfer portal with four years of eligibility remaining. He did not appear in a game this fall with the Midshipmen. Blake Horvath (Stats) and Braxton Woodson (Stats) are the top two most likely starting candidates heading into 2024.
Kansas State added a walk-on commitment from Washburn University transfer Kellen Simoncic, who announced the news on Twitter. He will make the jump from Division III with two years of eligibility remaining.
2024 4-star QB Anthony Maddox Jr. (MS) decommitted from Texas A&M, according to Tide Illustrated’s Brandon Howard. He is coming off a weekend visit to in-state Ole Miss, which has received a few crystal ball predictions to land Maddox on 247Sports. Maddox had been committed to the Aggies’ previous coaching staff since February, and their next goal will be to keep 4-star QB Miles O’Neill (NJ) in the 2024 class.
Texas A&M, Houston, Baylor and Clemson are taking a final swing at Florida 2024 5-star QB DJ Lagway (TX), according to 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. Gators’ head coach Billy Napier visited him earlier this week, and Lagway has been committed for more than a year.
Nebraska received more predictions to land Georgia 2024 5-star QB commit Dylan Raiola (GA) on On3 and 247Sports. All signs point to the Cornhuskers set to make a last-minute flip for the top quarterback in the class, though the Bulldogs still have a commitment from 4-star Ryan Puglisi (CT) in the class. Additionally, Georgia received a walk-on commitment over multiple Group of 5 offers from in-state 2024 3-star QB Colter Ginn, who announced the news on Twitter.
With Nebraska on the verge of adding Dylan Raiola, the Cornhuskers’ in-star, 2024 3-star QB commit Daniel Kaelin is expected to visit Michigan State this weekend, according to Husker Online’s Sean Callahan, who put in a prediction for him to land with the Spartans. For what it’s worth, Kaelin tweeted “GBR,” and if you’re not fluent in Nebraska fan acronyms, that stands for Go Big Red. Kaelin has been committed to Nebraska since May, and Michigan State is currently without a quarterback commit in the class.
Michigan State is also looking to flip 2024 3-star QB Alessio Milivojevic (IL), who has been committed to Ball State since June with more predictions to land with the Spartans on 247Sports heading into an official visit this weekend.
Duke lost a commitment from 2024 4-star quarterback commit Tyler Cherry (IN), who announced the news on Twitter. Cherry had been committed to the Blue Devils for nearly seven months and is coming off visits to Michigan State and Indiana over the past week. He is still expected to make things official with whatever school he chooses during next week’s Early Signing Period, according to 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong.
2025 4-star QB Ryan Montgomery (OH) will visit South Carolina (Jan. 20), Georgia (Jan. 21) and Auburn (Jan. 22), according to 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. These three programs are heavily in the mix alongside Florida, and he is expected to make a commitment shortly after those trips.
UCF 4-star QB commit EJ Colson (GA) announced he will reclassify from 2025 to the 2024 class and sign during next week’s National Signing Day. He has been committed to the Knights since July, and this will now be a two-quarterback class at UCF with Colson joining in-state 3-star quarterback Riley Trujillo.
Boston College will host 2024 3-star QB Henry Hasselbeck (MA) this weekend, according to 247Sports’ Brian Dohn. The former Michigan State commit is coming off a recent trip to see UCLA, and the Bruins added another prediction to add Hasselbeck on 247Sports despite already having a commitment from 2024 3-star quarterback Karson Gordon (TX). The Spartans and Eagles do not have a QB committed in the class.
Northwestern flipped 2024 2-star QB Ryan Boe (IL) from North Dakota State, according to his Twitter account. He had been committed to the Bison since June and was originally recruited by Wildcats’ head coach David Braun, who had been on the North Dakota State staff.
UPCOMING KEY DATES
A look at what’s ahead over the next 30 days.
Dec. 16 - Bowl season starts
Dec. 20 - 2024 recruiting early signing period starts
Dec. 20 - 2024 Juco midyear transfer signing period starts
Dec. 22 - 2024 recruiting early signing period ends
Jan. 1 - Bowl season ends
Jan. 1 - College Football Playoff semifinals
Jan. 2 - Transfer portal window closes
Jan. 6 - All-American Bowl
Jan. 8 - National Championship
Jan. 13 - Hula Bowl
Jan. 15 - NFL Draft early entry deadline
Jan. 15 - Juco midyear transfer signing period ends
Monday’s College Football QB Newsletter will feature an updated depth chart & injury notebook with the latest news on teams still competing in the postseason. Adjust your lives accordingly.
Gunslinger Buzz is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.