WSU might have won the QB shuffle 2022


Instant reaction to developments on and off the field …

1. Big news at the Palouse

There are 238 days until the start of the 2022 season. If the Hotline ever had to think about a scenario that seemed extreme, one that was about five steps ahead of current reality, now is the time.

Here we go again:

Washington State may have just won the 2022 North Division quarterback reshuffle.

It’s true. The day the Cougars lost their promising young passer on the transfer portal, they might have set the stage for the division’s best quarterback play next season.

Laura’s Jayden, the Pac-12 offensive freshman of the year who had 23 touchdowns and led the Cougars to second place, entered the transfer portal on Friday.

This could deal a debilitating blow to WSU’s prospects for next season. If things don’t break down over the next few months and none of the roster’s remaining quarterbacks develop, the Cougars could face some offensive challenges in their first full season under coach Jake Dickert.

But again, we are playing the game of speculation.

What if WSU replaced Laura with a better quarterback… a quarterback few Pac-12 fans have ever heard of… a quarterback who has never played a Power Five football low.

One of Dickert’s first moves when he was appointed to the permanent post was to hire Eric Morris as the offensive coordinator.

Morris knows WSU, having served in Mike Leach’s first staff (2012). For the past four seasons, he has been the head coach of Incarnate Word, a San Antonio-based Southland Conference (FCS) program.

This season’s Incarnate Word quarterback Cameron Ward has entered the transfer portal. He’s one of the best passer in the country – not just in FCS but throughout Division I.

247Sports scoring services list Ward as the portal’s No.3 quarterback, behind only Caleb Williams, formerly of Oklahoma, and Quinn Ewers, formerly of Ohio State. Ward is rated higher than Spencer Rattler (ex-Oklahoma) and Kedon Slovis (ex-USC).

On December 8, the WSU officially announced Morris as the new player to play.

The next day, Ward entered the portal.

Call us crazy, but the Hotline suspects he’s headed for Pullman.

2. The landscape of divisions

Now, let’s take a step back and assess the state of play in quarterbacks in the North next season, based on what we know and can reasonably assume.

Call us crazy, but Ward might just be the best QB in the division, if he ends up in Pullman.

– Better than Washington options: returning starter Dylan Morris, who appears to be a transfer candidate; talented but raw freshman Sam Huard; and Indiana transfer Michael Penix, who suffered multiple ACL injuries to his right knee.

– Better than Oregon options: freshman Ty Thompson, who had 15 assists during his college career; and the talented but erratic Auburn transfer Bo Nix.

– Better than Cal’s options: rookie Kai Millner, who did not play in 2021; and Purdue transfers Jack Plummer, who was benched in the middle of the season.

– Better than the Stanford option: returning starter Tanner McKee, a gifted passer with reduced mobility.

– And better than the Oregon State option: returning starter Chance Nolan, an efficient pitcher in a racing-focused scheme.

Notice something?

At least four Northern teams could rely on 22-time transfers – all but Stanford and OSU.

The division lacks clarity in all phases, with the shift serving both as the reason and as an example of the situation.

3. Portal issues

The Transfer Portal has created free agency in college football, but it differs from the pro version in one respect: the window is always open, 365 days a year.

This is the most frenetic section, with the end of the season and training being formed for the practice of spring.

The Hotline checks the 247Sports portal database at least twice a day.

Three observations, for the moment:

– Washington has lost a lot of players, including starting receiver Terrell Bynum and linebacker Jackson Sirmon, their top tackles, who joins his father, Cal Peter Sirmon’s defensive coordinator.

But the Huskies haven’t reached the point of an unreasonable exodus given the change in coaches.

That said, there will definitely be more starts once the spring practices allow returning players and new coaches to take stock of each other.

– The exodus from the state of Arizona is both significant and unsurprising (due to the unresolved NCAA investigation into recruiting transgressions).

Several members of the announced recruiting class of 2020, who have yet to approach the hype, are on the portal: wide receiver Johnny Wilson, cornerback Tommi Hill, linebacker Jordan Banks and running back Chip Trayanum .

We expect the Sun Devils to experience a load of portal traffic (outbound and inbound) throughout the offseason.

– Quality, not quantity, defines Colorado’s outgoing transfer list. The Buffaloes have lost their best offensive player, Brenden Rice, and two of their best defensemen, cornerback Christian Gonzalez and safety back Mark Perry.

Coach Karl Dorrell has revamped the coaching staff after his second season at Boulder. His defense will also be very different next fall.

4. Draw jumpers

We’re also on the lookout for players leaving for the NFL Draft, especially with the deadline just over a week away (January 17th).

USC and Oregon are the hardest-hit programs yet, which should come as no surprise given how talented both lists are.

The Trojans lost both Drakes (London and Jackson), among others, while the Oregon defensive trio of rider Kayvon Thibodeaux, safety Verone McKinley and cornerback Mykael Wright also said.

Add in Washington cornerbacks Trent McDuffie and Kyler Gordon, and the players you’d expect to leave are, in fact, leaving.

We’ll see what the next nine days bring and how many picks projected mid-round will come from teams who, with them in the lineup, have rosters capable of making the top 25.

One more point on this subject. Better than we can tell, only a handful of inside defensive linemen or offensive linemen said: Thomas Booker of Stanford, Dohnovan West of ASU and Jaxson Kirkland of Washington.

The scarcity of top draft picks in trench positions is a major issue for the conference. There will be more exposures in the national championship game alone than what we’ve seen all season in the Pac-12.

5. Boom go to the stadium

We will end the column not with additional words but with a video.

The long-awaited and much-needed $ 153 million renovation of Oregon State’s Reser Stadium began explosively on Friday with a… explosion.

Several simultaneous explosions, in fact.

The Beavers blew up the west side of the facility to kick off a massive construction project, which is expected to be completed before the 2023 season.

And they filmed it, from several angles.

The video can be found on Twitter via the OSU football grip, @BeaversFootball, where it already has 500,000 views.

Or it can be found here.

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