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Ewers to Texas, Rattler to South Carolina Resets Transfer QB Market

In historic year of proven commodities in the transfer market, the young Texan with the big arm kicks off dominos

Think people had an eye on Quinn Ewers' decision?

Less than 24 hours after the Ohio State freshman announced his move to Texas, the portal has been poppin' with new names -- even experienced names -- looking for new homes ahead of the 2022 season. 

USC's Kedon Slovis, who threw for more than 7,500 yards since 2019, entered his name in on Monday. Texas A&M's Zach Calzada, author of college football's biggest win of 2021 over Alabama, did the same not long after. As the recruiting world gears up for National Signing Day on Wednesday, the amount of talent and experience in the portal at the game's most important position will not take a back seat. 

A few made decisions on colleges over the weekend and into the week, ala Ewers. Syracuse's Tommy DeVito is headed to Illinois while Utah's Charlie Brewer will follow up Malik Willis as the next transfer talent at Liberty. Between transition coaching staffs and schools without a prep passer verbally committed, expect more dominos to fall in short order. 

On Monday evening, Oklahoma transfer Spencer Rattler surprised some with a pledge to South Carolina and Shane Beamer. The biggest name to have entered the portal before Ewers did, Rattler went from Heisman front-runner in August to a backup looking for a fresh start in January. OU tight end Austin Stogner followed the news up with a likeminded pledge to the Gamecocks as the duo reunites with the former Sooner assistant, who coached each for multiple season in Norman. 

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Rattler drew interest from Pac-12 programs, including UCLA and Arizona, while Ewers to Texas was a full-circle moment considering he was originally a commitment to Tom Herman in 2020. It was a big domino in high school recruiting back then and now, his effect is being felt in the college ranks and beyond, once again inflating the expectation in Austin despite being one of the least-proven college commodities on the market relative to experience. Still, several programs making calls into the Ewers camp can now move on to some of the talented arms still on the hunt for their next stop. 

Auburn’s Bo Nix officially hit the portal Monday after announcing plans to do so late Sunday night. The three-year starter, an Auburn legacy who wanted nothing more than playing for the Tigers in college, has some 2023 NFL Draft stock to manage at his next program. Having already played under a bevy of offensive coordinators and play-callers in college, Nix should be able to hit the ground running at his next stop as a grad-transfer. After coaching in the Class 7A state championship game in Alabama Dec. 1, there was chatter about Patrick Nix getting back into the collegiate game. Nix played for his father at Scottsboro (Ala.) and Pinson Valley (Ala.) during his high school career. 

With Rattler off the board to the SEC East, Dillon Gabriel could be in the running to be Chip Kelly's starter in 2022 at UCLA. The UCF standout, who got hurt early in 2021, has a pair of 3,000-yard passing campaigns to his name and, of course, he came up watching Pac-12 ball as a native Hawaiian. Ole Miss has hosted Gabriel for a visit but that dynamic changed soon after, as offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby left the gig to join Brent Venables' staff at Oklahoma. The Rebels have appeared to move on, tracking other transfer quarterbacks. 

Cameron Ward may be the emerging name to know of among those in the portal, considering his 2021 impact and potential ceiling at the Power 5 or even FBS level with three seasons of eligibility remaining. The dual-threat threw for 4,648 yards and 47 touchdowns this season, helping the University of Incarnate Word to 10 wins and the Southland Conference crown as its player of the year. Ward entered the portal less than a week ago and already holds offers from Ole Miss, Indiana, Houston and others. Lane Kiffin and company got him on campus this week and a decision could come soon. 

The names mentioned here are just the beginning in one of the ever-expanding quarterback talent pool in the portal. Productive passers like Michael Penix (Indiana), Adrian Martinez (Nebraska), Myles Brennan and Max Johnson (LSU) and Jake Plummer (Purdue) are also in the early stages of finding the next stop on their QB journeys. 

Plenty remains to be seen with others potentially joining them, too, as spring quarterback races at programs like Georgia, Florida, Texas, USC -- not to mention other transition coaching staffs -- figure to bring in more known names into what Kiffin semi-ranted on in calling the movement "free agency" Monday night. Ironically enough, he happens to be in the market with top 10 Heisman finisher Matt Corral off to the NFL. Many have similar cap room so Wednesday's signing day surely won't be the end of the roster-addition portion of the college football calendar.