5 Early CFB Transfer Ideas for Big Names Who Will Lose Key Position Battles
Position battles are the biggest stories of spring practice. While returning starters have the inside track on their job for next season, they're not fully assured of that role.
In the vast majority of these competitions, though, the challengers fall short. Looking ahead to the 2019 season, several players who previously contributed or once offered hope for the future may be on their way out.
And they're all quarterbacks.
Following a typical collegiate timeline, they're likely to be graduating within the calendar or next academic year. With only one starting spot available at the position, the best opportunity for these players will be at a new location.
Davis Mills, QB, Stanford
Davis Mills arrived at Stanford as a 5-star prospect, but injuries have plagued his last few seasons from high school to college.
In 2019, the Cardinal are expected to start K.J. Costello. Barring health issues, that won't change. However, the battle for the backup spot is important because Costello could turn pro after 2019. Mills must hold off Jack West because another QB arrives next summer.
Tanner McKee, a 4-star in the 2018 class, is serving a two-year church mission before heading to school. Stanford's quarterback room will be stacked with competition upon his arrival.
If Mills graduates during the next academic year, San Diego State seems an ideal spot. As a complement to a strong defense, the Aztecs have a run-focused offense and typically start a QB no better than average. Mills' talent could be the missing piece SDSU needs to earn the Group of Five's New Year's Six bowl berth.
Matt Fink, QB, USC
JT Daniels started as a true freshman, but his inconsistency—combined with the arrival of new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell—means USC is holding a real competition this offseason.
New system, fresh start. That doesn't mean we're anticipating a different outcome than Daniels under center, though.
Matt Fink enrolled early in 2016, yet he has attempted just 18 career passes. He served as the backup to Sam Darnold and Daniels, and a rib injury last season allowed Jack Sears to pick up a spot start when a concussion sidelined Daniels.
A redshirt junior, Fink's chances of earning playing time are exceptionally low. There should be plenty of interest elsewhere.
For the same reason as Davis Mills, San Diego State would be a sensible transfer choice. Fink may desire to stay in the Pac-12, though, and Colorado will lose Steven Montez after the 2019 season.
Tanner Mordecai, QB, Oklahoma
This offseason, Oklahoma has dominated the quarterback headlines. There was Kyler Murray's football/baseball decision, Jalen Hurts' transfer, the signing of 5-star Spencer Rattler and the brief controversy surrounding Austin Kendall.
Did you forget about Tanner Mordecai?
A 4-star prospect in the 2018 class, he was the third-stringer as a true freshman. Hurts will be a one-year contributor for the Sooners, so Mordecai has a path to playing time in the future. That is fully contingent on beating out Rattler, though.
If that happens, Mordecai has every reason to stay. If not, his outlook in Norman would be bleak.
He could instead return to his home state of Texas and join SMU. Recent addition Shane Buechele has two years of eligibility after leaving Texas, but Mordecai would likely be subject to transfer rules and required to sit out a season. Then, he could be a star.
Brandon Peters, QB, Michigan
Once considered the future of the position, Brandon Peters has dealt with injuries and an unexpected high-profile transfer blocking his path to the starting job at Michigan.
After redshirting in 2016, he briefly worked his way into the lineup a year later. Peters helped the Wolverines to three wins in four starts before a concussion ended his stint with the first team. He then struggled in the Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina before Shea Patterson arrived.
In 2018, a lower-leg injury plagued Peters as the regular season began. Whether that affected his place on the depth chart is unknown, but Dylan McCaffrey served as the second-stringer all year. That seems unlikely to change this season.
Peters is an Indiana native, so staying in the Midwest at a MAC program makes sense. And former Michigan assistant Jim McElwain is now the head coach at Central Michigan.
Fire up, Peters.
Or maybe, just maybe, Les Miles would try to snag a once-touted recruit for a shot in the arm while trying to rebuild Kansas.
Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
Kyle Trask certainly feels like the odd quarterback out.
Last season, Feleipe Franks started all 13 games for Florida despite an up-and-down year. Trask appeared to have a shot to supplant Franks in November, but a foot injury ended Trask's season.
That missed opportunity may have dug Trask an even deeper hole, since Emory Jones is likely to rise up the depth chart. Dan Mullen cautiously used the 4-star prospect in 2018 to preserve his redshirt, and it's only sensible to give the younger player every chance to play.
It's smart coaching. It also hurts Trask, who will be a fourth-year junior and theoretically a grad transfer next offseason.
Since Jim McElwain recruited Trask to Florida, a reunion at Central Michigan is sensible. Staying in the state, though, South Florida will lose Blake Barnett following the 2019 season. One under-the-radar option is Texas State, where offensive guru Jake Spavital is looking to transform an anemic Bobcats scoring attack.
All recruiting info courtesy of 247Sports.