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College Football Transfer Market: Ranking the Quarterbacks On the Move

Justin Fields, Georgia to Ohio State
The world of modern college football looks a lot different then it did ten years ago. Offenses are getting faster and relying more and more on the pass, conference realignment has introduced brand new rivalries and competition, and the Playoff system continues to evolve. Another stark difference is the growth of the transfer market, which has essentially become college football free agency. The advent of the NCAA transfer portal makes it easier for players to get offers and find better opportunities, and this off-season it has been active, with plenty of big names on the move. While there are important transfers at every position, the QB position has the biggest names, and will likely have the largest impact on the Playoff chase. It seemed like the perfect time to look at this ever-growing transfer market, and rank the quarterbacks changing schools. These guys will play a huge role in the college football landscape in 2019, and the list could get even larger by the time the sport kicks off in late August.

1. Jalen Hurts, Alabama to Oklahoma
After leading Alabama to two National Championship Game appearances and coming in clutch in the 2018 SEC Championship, Jalen Hurts will likely begin 2019 as the most decorated active player in college football. Now, he'll team up with the innovative mind of Lincoln Riley and a Sooners' offense that has big-play threats everywhere. Riley has groomed the last two Heisman quarterbacks and made Playoff appearances with both of them, and Hurts has the tools to do much the same. He isn't quite the passer Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray were, but he is an excellent athlete and he understands what he needs to do to win games. With receiver CeeDee Lamb back on the outside and a strong offensive line to protect him, Hurts is going to have a monster year in Norman, and should be able to add another conference championship to his belt.

2. Justin Fields, Georgia to Ohio State
Fields shocked plenty when he decided to commit to Georgia as a five-star recruit, despite the play of Jake Fromm, who was just a year older. Fields did see some action in a limited role and looked like he may be able to overtake Fromm for the starting job, but in the end he decided to head elsewhere. He enrolled at Ohio State, promptly leading to the transfer of their projected starter Tate Martell and giving new head coach Ryan Day a huge piece to build around. As of right now, Fields' status for 2019 is uncertain. He has applied for a waiver to play right away for the Buckeyes, but there remains a strong chance he'll have to sit out a year. Even if he does, he'll be well worth the wait; the dual threat has all the tools to be a superstar in today's college football and he is a great fit for Day and this offense.

3. Jacob Eason, Georgia to Washington
Its easy to forget about Jacob Eason, who announced he would transfer to Washington following the 2018 season, but he could be in store for a big year in Seattle. Eason is another five-star recruit who was pushed out of Athens by Fromm, but should be in store for a starting role with Jake Browning graduating. Sitting out a year should actually help Eason; he'll have great command of Chris Petersen's offense and is now more acclimated to the Pac-12 way of life. While Oregon may be rising fast, Eason's arrival should be able to keep Washington as the favorite in the North Division.

4. Kelly Bryant, Clemson to Missouri
Much like Jalen Hurts, Kelly Bryant was one heck of a player but was unseated by a younger guy that just happened to be better. After a long drawn out process of deciding where he would play in 2019, Bryant settled on Missouri, who is replacing future NFL Draft selection Drew Lock. Bryant won't quite have the tools Hurts has at his disposal, but does have All-SEC tight end Albert Okwuegbunam to work with, and offensive coordinator Derek Dooley had a really good debut in 2018. It will be interesting to see whether the addition of Bryant can help the Tigers break a likely Georgia-Florida lock on the SEC East.

5. Tate Martell, Ohio State to Miami
Martell is a controversial character to be sure, but there isn't much denying the potential of the guy once hailed as "the next Johnny Manziel" when he originally committed to Texas A&M in high school. Martell played sparingly in 2018 for Ohio State, only showing up in goal-line packages but his spring game showing previously should have Miami fans excited. Martell still has to prove himself as a passer but his running ability should immediately find success in the ACC, and the Hurricanes are desperate for a new face of the offense after a dismal '18.

6. Ben Hicks, SMU to Arkansas
He might not have the name recognition of some of the other quarterbacks on this list, but Ben Hicks could be in store for a big 2019 at Arkansas. Hicks became SMU's all-time leading passer under the guidance of former head coach Chad Morris and after falling out of favor there, he decided to follow Morris to the SEC. It will obviously be a tough transition going from American Athletic football to SEC football, but Hicks is a savvy, veteran guy who should be up for it. Don't be surprised if Hicks has a big year under his old coach, and ends up having a better year than most on this list.

7. Austin Kendall, Oklahoma to West Virginia
With Jalen Hurts coming to Norman, Austin Kendall decided it was time to move on himself, deciding to move inside the conference to West Virginia. Its an under-the-radar move that could end up being a huge move for both Kendall and WVU, who is breaking in a new head coach in Neal Brown. The Mountaineers have really hit on transfer quarterbacks over the last few seasons, with Will Grier, Skyler Howard and Clint Trickett all having success in their second stop in their college careers. Kendall, who has two years of eligibility remaining, should be the next in that line.

8. Hunter Johnson, Clemson to Northwestern
One of the guys who Kelly Bryant beat out for the Clemson starting job in 2017, Hunter Johnson should be a huge addition for Northwestern in 2019. Johnson sat out all of last season but the former four-star recruit now looks like the clear-cut heir at the position with Clayton Thorson graduating. Johnson is a polished pocket passer who impressed in short spurts of playing time with the Tigers, and he is an ideal fit for this Wildcats offense. He also has three years of eligibility remaining, giving him plenty of time to make an impact in Evanston.

9. Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame to UCF
After starting 15 games the past two seasons with the Irish, Brandon Wimbush was overtaken by backup Ian Book, who ended up leading ND to the Playoff. That shouldn't discredit what Wimbush can do, as he is an excellent running quarterback with a great feel for the game. His decision to go to UCF was an interesting one considering the circumstances. The Knights do have a former Heisman finalist on their roster in McKenzie Milton, but his status for 2019 and beyond is murky following a scary injury at the end of the year. Wimbush is a little bit of an awkward fit in Josh Huepel's spread offense but the veteran should still play a crucial role for UCF in '19.

10. Riley Neal, Ball State to Vanderbilt
Much like Ben Hicks, Riley Neal is a guy that won't get as much attention as some other transfers on this list because he started playing at a Group of Five school in Ball State. Don't let that fool you; Neal is a very good quarterback who should have a big impact for Vanderbilt this next season. Neal totaled 2,675 in just nine starters in 2015, before notching over 3,000 total yards in '16. He hopes that being fully healthy and moving up to big-time SEC football will be the right move for his final season of college football.

Just Missed the Cut
Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech to TBD
Shane Buechele, Texas to TBD
Alex Delton, Kansas State to TCU
Nick Starkel, Texas A&M to TBD
Ross Bowers, Cal to TBD

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