The college football offseason is in full swing. The coaching carousel is mostly done, recruiting classes are signed and soon, transfer quarterbacks will start announcing where they are going.

Most will probably start announcing soon, so they can start with a new school for the spring semester. But they could wait as late as this spring as quarterback battles shake out at top programs. Joe Burrow only transferred when he lost out to Dwayne Haskins in the spring for the starting job.

As the transfer quarterback market heats up, there is one Big Ten team uniquely positioned as an ideal landing spot. And there are several others that could benefit from one, as well. These are purely speculative, based on returning starters or underperforming incumbents.


Last week, Elijah Sindelar confirmed that he will not return for his final season of eligibility and will instead begin a life outside of football. The two most likely candidates to start next year are  redshirt freshman Jack Plummer and redshirt sophomore Aidan O’Connell, each of whom got time as the starter this year after Sindelar was hurt in the third game and did not return.

Neither Plummer (11 TD, 8 INT) nor O’Connell (8 TD, 4 INT) was convincing as the long-term starter, though the latter, a walk-on, did lead several spirited wins. Plummer (6.1 adjusted yards per attempt) and O’Connell (6.6) were significant drop-offs from Sindelar (9.1). Purdue coach Jeff Brohm shouldn’t be sold on either as his starting quarterback for 2020, which means he should be open to a graduate transfer quarterback.

Is there a juicier situation in the country for a top quarterback than Purdue? Oh, to be the QB who gets to throw to Rondale Moore and David Bell for a full season.

Moore will easily be one of the best receivers in the country heading into next season, and Bell may be the best No. 2 wideout there is. Of Purdue’s top four recruits from the last two years in terms of national ranking, three of them (Moore, Bell and Milton Wright) are wideouts. Moore missed the final eight games of this season due to injury, but he was electric as a true freshman with 1,471 scrimmage yards and 14 touchdowns. Bell totaled 1,047 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns as a true freshman.

Easy enough for the next Purdue quarterback, right? Through the first two weeks of this season, no quarterback had more yards than Sindelar, who completed 68 of 104 passes for 932 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions in games against Nevada and Vanderbilt.

TCU transfer Justin Rogers, the fifth-ranked quarterback in the 2018 class (36 spots ahead of Plummer), is reportedly considering Purdue. He has three years left and will petition for immediate eligibility.

The other top quarterback transfers (like Stanford’s KJ Costello, Florida’s Feleipe Franks, West Virginia’s Jack Allison and Arizona State’s Joey Yellen) should strongly consider Purdue, too. Each would put up huge numbers with Brohm.

Michigan State

The Spartans will have a new starting quarterback next season, and it’s unclear who that will be right now because there is no obvious candidate. Isn’t that the best situation for a graduate transfer?

The backup this season, Rocky Lombardi, hasn’t done anything to demonstrate that he’s the guy for next season. While starter Brian Lewerke battled injuries in 2018, Lombardi got three starts and appeared in eight games overall. He completed just 44.2 percent of his passes and had three touchdowns and three interceptions, with a meager 4.3 adjusted yards per attempt. The latter would have ranked 106th out of 107 qualifying quarterbacks that season, if Lombardi had the minimum of 14 passing attempts per game to qualify.

Besides, Lewerke has 24 touchdowns and 23 interceptions over the last two seasons. If Lombardi couldn’t surpass him through all that, he’s probably not the guy. Redshirt freshman Theo Day, a 3-star prospect who was the 17th ranked pro-style quarterback in 2018, is an option.

The tricky part for the Spartans is that they open 2020 with a conference game against Northwestern, so there will be no dress rehearsals to get the new starter acclimated. Maybe a graduate transfer would find this situation appealing.


Three-year starter Nate Stanley will play his final game in the Holiday Bowl against USC, and there’s not much experience behind him. Backup Spencer Petras, a redshirt freshman would be the most likely guy to step up, but he has attempted just 11 career passes.

Here’s the complicated part for the Hawkeyes. None of their four quarterbacks for next season are from the Midwest, meaning they are likely to lose someone anyways who doesn’t get the job, as they don’t have any ties to the area. Bringing in a graduate transfer could only further encourage a QB or two to leave, so the Hawkeyes have to be sure that a graduate transfer could come in and be an impact player for it to be worth it.

But still, wouldn’t this be a great spot for a transfer? Iowa is a very good program that has won at least seven games in 11 of the last 12 seasons and has won at least eight games in five straight seasons. Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Tyrone Tracy Jr. are weapons at wideout, and Tyler Goodson is a promising running back. If Iowa gets quality QB play in 2020, it could be in the mix once again for a Big Ten West Division title.


Everything has to be on the table for Northwestern after a disastrous 2019.

It’s fair to wonder if Hunter Johnson is the answer for the Wildcats. The former 5-star recruit and Clemson transfer was the worst of the four quarterbacks Northwestern used in 2019, and that’s saying something because the Wildcats were 128th in yards per play, ahead of only Old Dominion and Akron.

So, if bringing in a transfer at quarterback is possible for Northwestern, Pat Fitzgerald should strongly consider it.