The NCAA winter transfer window opened on Monday, Dec. 4, and the portal filled with several notable quarterbacks almost immediately. In fact, this seems like the most loaded crop of signal callers to hit the market since the NCAA implemented the transfer portal a couple of years ago. From high-upside young guns to grizzled veterans, programs that are desperate for immediate help should not have much trouble finding it.
As of Dec. 6, 17 quarterbacks hold a four-star grade in 247Sports' transfer rankings. Five of the top-10 transfer prospects, regardless of position, are quarterbacks. By comparison, there were 16 total four-stars for the entire 2023 cycle.
Scroll down the list of the 10 best available quarterbacks and you'll see a litany of former five-star prospects or guys that have put up staggering numbers with starting experience at the FBS level. With some major schools looking for a new stud to lead their offense entering the 2024 season, it felt appropriate to take a look at the best fit for each uncommitted top-10 transfer quarterback.
Aidan Chiles, Oregon State
247Sports transfer grade: 96 | Best potential fit: Michigan State
This one is pretty elementary. Jonathan Smith, who recruited Chiles to Oregon State and coached him during his true freshman season with the Beavers, left to take the Michigan State job. From that point it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Chiles would follow him. Smith made an effort to give Chiles plenty of opportunity last season as the freshman played in nine regular-season games. Chiles would often enter a few drives into each contest, regardless of score, and spell starter DJ Uiagalelei. Chiles finished the year completing 24 of his 35 pass attempts for 309 yards and four touchdowns. He also finished fifth on the team in rushing with 79 yards and three touchdowns. Chiles has already had a year under Smith's scheme. This one fits like a glove.
Dante Moore, UCLA
247Sports transfer grade: 95 | Best potential fit: Michigan
Moore doesn't need to start right away. That much was made clear during his time at UCLA. The former five-star prospect showed plenty of promise as a true freshman, throwing for 1,610 yards and 11 touchdowns in five starts, but he struggled with turnovers and the Bruins ultimately turned to more experienced options later in the season. Moore could immediately step into a starting role at Michigan if J.J. McCarthy leaves for the NFL, but there's a strong chance that McCarthy returns for one more year in an effort to improve his draft stock. That would be ideal for Moore. He would get a year to learn Michigan's playbook and refine his skills without the pressure of taking a program to immediate success. This would also provide a return closer to home for Moore, who signed with the Bruins in 2023 out of Detroit.
Cameron Ward, Washington State
247Sports transfer grade: 94 | Best potential fit: Ohio State
Ward is sure to have a long list of suitors, but the Buckeyes would be hard to turn down if they come calling. Ryan Day cut his chops as a quarterbacks coach and has developed some of the most notable names at the position in recent history, including Justin Fields and C.J. Stroud. Ward brings legitimate chops as a high-volume passer, posting 6,963 yards and 48 touchdowns with just 16 interceptions in 25 games as a Cougar. He also seems like a much better fit for what Day likes to do than former starter Kyle McCord, who also recently entered the portal. While rushing ability isn't a prerequisite to play quarterback at Ohio State, it helps to have some mobility. Ward is great out of structure and can extend plays with his legs when the first reads aren't there, giving OSU's elite wide receiver corps more time to get open downfield.
Will Howard, Kansas State
247Sports transfer grade: 92 | Best potential fit: USC
There's a lot of buzz between Howard and USC already as Trojans coach Lincoln Riley searches for Caleb Williams' replacement. Howard doesn't exactly share Williams' skillset, but he's still a good scheme fit. Most notably, he has the rushing chops that Riley desires. Howard finished the 2023 season with 351 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. He's also a perfect bridge quarterback for the Trojans, which have a lot of young talent and depth they'd love to hang on to. Most notably, former five-star Malachi Nelson, a top-15 player in the class of 2023, seems like a QB-in-waiting for USC. Adding Howard would give Nelson another year to develop and ascend into the job naturally without scaring him away with a potential multi-year transfer.
Riley Leonard, Duke
247Sports transfer grade: 92 | Best potential fit: Notre Dame
Leonard's name was connected to Notre Dame from the moment he stepped into the portal. He's set to take an official visit to South Bend, Indiana, this week, and there's a chance he makes a decision pretty quickly after that. The timing would obviously line up well for the Fighting Irish. Leonard generated some legitimate NFL Draft buzz leading up to the season and delivered early with a big win against Clemson. Unfortunately, he suffered an ankle injury against -- ironically enough -- Notre Dame that kept him either shelved or severely limited the rest of the year. He would give Notre Dame's offense an entirely new look. The Irish have had some decent pure passers in recent years, including 2023 starter Sam Hartman, but Leonard blends effective passing with top-shelf athletic traits. He ran for 699 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2022 when he was fully healthy and had four rushing touchdowns in four games prior to his injury this season.
Dequan Finn, Toledo
247Sports transfer grade: 91 | Best potential fit: Miami
This may be an out-of-the-box selection, but all indications are that Miami is looking for a quarterback to replace veteran starter Tyler Van Dyke. The Hurricanes probably don't want someone long-term, as it seems they have a lot of faith in true freshman Emory Williams -- he started a couple games when Van Dyke got benched -- and they certainly want to keep him around for the future. Finn only has one year of eligibility remaining. Finn, the 2023 MAC Player of the Year, would be a jolt of energy and creativity for a Miami offense that has lacked those qualities at the quarterback position. He has 88 total touchdowns over the last three years and can get it done both on the air and the ground. While his big-play ability can lend itself to some mistakes and inconsistency, that's a gamble worth taking.
Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma
247Sports transfer grade: 91 | Best potential fit: Oregon
Gabriel seems like a tailor-made Bo Nix replacement. He even has better collegiate credentials than Nix, who transferred to Eugene, Oregon, after a fairly up-and-down career at Auburn. Gabriel has thrown for 14,865 yards and 125 touchdowns in five seasons split between UCF and Oklahoma. He has the experience that Ducks coach Dan Lanning seems to covet when combing the market for a new signal caller, and he and Nix share a ton of similarities. Both are excellent on their feet. Gabriel averaged 4 yards a carry with 12 rushing touchdowns in 2023. Gabriel has played in a quick-read Air Raid system for basically his entire career, not too far removed from the RPO-heavy playbook that Oregon employs. Nix thrived in the very same structure that maximized his short-area accuracy and allowed him some creativity when the play broke down.
Kyle McCord, Ohio State
247Sports transfer grade: 91 | Best potential fit: Pittsburgh
There isn't much buzz out there on McCord. Miami could make sense here given reasons listed above. Pittsburgh also seems like a great match, however. He signed with the Buckeyes in 2021 out of Philadelphia, and his family has deep ties to the northeast, so he could covet a return closer to home. Pittsburgh's coaching staff, for their part, always seems to seek out veteran pocket passers with plenty of starting experience. The Panthers have brought in three transfer quarterbacks since Kenny Pickett left, and two of them had extensive starting experience at a program that ran a heavy pro-style offense. McCord is a natural fit for Pitt's smashmouth scheme -- much more so than he was at Ohio State.
Will Rogers, Mississippi State
247Sports transfer grade: 90 | Best potential fit: Washington
Washington is already a heavy favorite to land Rogers' services, providing the Huskies an immediate answer once Michael Penix Jr. leaves for the NFL Draft in the spring. Rogers is one of the most decorated quarterbacks in SEC history. He broke the conference's completions record in October 2022 and he leaves Starkville with 1,301 total completions. His 12,315 career passing yards ranks second in SEC history, as well. Rogers spent a lot of time in an Air Raid system under former Mississippi State coach Mike Leach, which means he's comfortable pushing the ball down the field. That's perfect for a Washington team that saw Penix boast a 10.4-yard average depth of target and lead the nation with 2,186 air yards in 2023. The Huskies also employ a lot of play action, which was another staple of Leach's Air Raid.
Tyler Van Dyke, Miami
247Sports transfer grade: 90 | Best potential fit: Syracuse
This is a bit of a dart throw as Syracuse breaks in a brand-new coaching staff with Fran Brown taking over the program. Reports indicate that Brown is targeting Jeff Nixon, who coached at Baylor under Matt Rhule, as his offensive coordinator. That seems to indicate the Orange will run a spread-style offense in which some power run concepts will be schemed. Van Dyke ran something very similar at Miami, which means there would be a level of comfort. Van Dyke is also familiar with Syracuse assistant Nunzio Campanile, who recruited Van Dyke to Rutgers out of high school. Moving to Syracuse would also mean playing closer to home for Van Dyke, who signed with the Hurricanes in 2020 out of Glastonbury, Connecticut. Van Dyke would give Brown and the Orange a reliable veteran with plenty of ACC experience that could help the program transition and lay a foundation in Year 1.