Top Transfer QBs to Watch During 2019 Spring Games
While it's important to remember a spring game has a relatively small impact on what to expect during the regular season, the scrimmages still carry plenty of entertainment value.
That drama mostly centers around the quarterbacks.
Several former starters at major programs and once-touted recruits will take the field in April for a spring-ending exhibition. Below is a look at the top signal-callers in that category to keep an eye on.
The list is organized based on date and time of the games, beginning with a preview of Jalen Hurts at Oklahoma.
Note: Hunter Johnson would have been featured, but Northwestern doesn't have an exhibition. Indiana's Jack Tuttle and Washington State's Gage Gubrud will miss the spring game due to a lower body injury. Josh Jackson and Shane Buechele won't arrive at Maryland and SMU until the summer.
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
When: Friday, April 12, at 8:30 p.m. ET (Fox Sports Oklahoma)
Oklahoma has benefited from a spectacular trend of high-impact transfer quarterbacks. Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray both guided the program to a College Football Playoff appearance and won the Heisman Trophy after they transferred from Texas Tech and Texas A&M, respectively.
Whatcha got, Jalen Hurts?
Barring a surprise surge from incoming 5-star Spencer Rattler, Hurts will start for the Sooners this season. Alabama's former starter has always been a competent passer but is most dangerous as a runner. He enters 2019 with 5,626 yards passing and 1,976 rushing yards in his college career.
How will OU coach Lincoln Riley tailor the offense to best match Hurts' playing style? That should get a little clearer when the Sooners take the field Friday.
Justin Fields, Ohio State
When: Saturday, April 13, at noon ET (BTN)
Ohio State is pretty invested in the quarterback-competition narrative, but everyone watching knows how this story will end.
Justin Fields will start for the Buckeyes in 2019.
Despite the measured assessments from Ohio State coach Ryan Day, the Georgia transfer will eventually pull away from Matthew Baldwin. Besides, reports throughout spring practice have consistently noted Fields is taking a majority of the first-string reps.
The spring game is an ideal moment for Fields to effectively end that conversation. In limited action last year, the dual-threat QB finished 27-of-39 with 328 yards and four touchdowns through the air. The 2018 5-star recruit added 256 yards and four scores on the ground.
Brandon Wimbush, UCF
When: Saturday, April 13, at 2:30 p.m. ET
As a sophomore, Brandon Wimbush totaled 2,674 yards and 30 touchdowns while helping Notre Dame to a 10-3 record. However, his final four appearances included a pair of two-interception games, and he was pulled twice in favor of Ian Book.
The late-season issues persisted in 2018, and Wimbush lost the job in mid-September. He managed one November start, but Book locked up the first-string role as Notre Dame went undefeated in the regular season and made the CFP.
So, Wimbush decided to find a different home for his final year.
UCF was a logical choice for the graduate transfer because McKenzie Milton―the two-time AAC Player of the Year―will not play in 2020 while he rehabs from a gruesome knee injury. Wimbush is competing with Darriel Mack Jr., and the spring game will provide the first look at that battle.
Kelly Bryant, Missouri
When: Saturday, April 13, at 4 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Kelly Bryant helped Clemson reach the College Football Playoff in 2017 and assisted in guiding the program to a 4-0 start last season. He wasn't always tremendous, but he hardly did anything to lose the job.
The problem was Trevor Lawrence did more and stole it.
Given that Bryant had not redshirted, he wisely stepped away after four games to protect his final year of eligibility. He landed at Missouri as the apparent replacement for potential first-round NFL draft pick Drew Lock―and hasn't wasted time earning a spot.
Already listed as the starter ahead of Taylor Powell, Bryant has a chance to show exactly why he's soared up the depth chart.
Tate Martell, Miami
When: Saturday, April 20, at noon ET
Miami had a quarterback problem in 2018. Poor coaching, bad decisions and off-field issues all contributed to the headaches.
Could Ohio State transfer Tate Martell be the answer?
Somewhat unexpectedly, the NCAA ruled Martell would be eligible immediately, granting the 2017 4-star recruit a hardship waiver after his former school, Ohio State, landed Justin Fields from Georgia. He's now competing with N'Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams to start in 2019.
The spring game is simply one part of a lengthy evaluation, but a strong performance could boost Martell in the three-man battle.
Jacob Eason, Washington
When: Saturday, April 27, at 3 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
For the last four seasons, Jake Browning led Washington's offense. But it's about to become the Jacob Eason show.
In 2016, Eason rapidly earned the starting job at Georgia. He finished that campaign with 2,430 yards passing and 16 touchdowns against eight interceptions, and he created a ton of excitement for the future. However, a knee injury in the 2017 season opener allowed Jake Fromm to take over―and the latter never left the starting lineup.
Eason transferred back home, running the scout team in 2018 while sitting out because of NCAA transfer rules.
When the Huskies hit the field April 27, it'll be Eason's first time in the spotlight for 18 months.
Recruit rankings courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.