If you want to know how much of an impact the transfer portal has had on the college football landscape in a relatively short amount of time, look no further than the quarterback position. While it's certainly commonplace for quarterbacks to exhaust their eligibility or to choose to leave early to chase their NFL dreams, the introduction of the transfer portal has added another accelerant when it comes to roster turnover.
Consider that nearly two-thirds (62.1 percent) of the projected starting quarterbacks in the Power 5 conferences (plus BYU and Notre Dame) will be someone different compared to this time last year. There are always exceptions when it comes to this exercise, which is being done in late February as opposed to September when the season starts, but it doesn't change the fact that of these shifting starting signal-callers, nearly half of them (18 of the 41 projected new starters) can be classified as recent (happened since the 2021 regular season ended) transfers.
With more than half of the teams in the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC (along with BYU and Notre Dame) dealing with a change at center, this turnover rate is a key stat looking ahead to the 2022 season.
Take a look at USC, for example. Not only do the Trojans have a new head coach in Lincoln Riley, but they also will have a new starting quarterback because the two that played the most snaps for them last season transferred. Kedon Slovis went to Pittsburgh while Jaxson Dart landed at Ole Miss. On top of that, USC's projected starter for 2022 is expected to be Caleb Williams, who was at Oklahoma last season and had replaced Spencer Rattler as the starter for the Sooners. Rattler also transferred (to South Carolina), leaving a spot open at Oklahoma, which is expected to be filled by former UCF starter Dillon Gabriel. So a change at one Power 5 school resulted in a domino effect that impacted four others (as well as UCF). And that's just one example.
So besides becoming familiar with all of the new quarterbacks across the country, another question comes to mind. Where are Power 5 teams finding their quarterbacks for the upcoming season?
For the seventh year in a row, Athlon Sports has tracked the roots of every projected starting quarterback in the Power 5 conferences, along with BYU and Notre Dame. Again, the operative word for this exercise is "projected," as it's entirely likely that there will be more transfers to come. (Arizona State's Jayden Daniels just recently entered his name in the transfer portal.) And some of these projected starters aren't as secure compared to others with a number of quarterback competitions expected to take place this spring that will probably carry over into fall camp.
There are 23 states as well as Washington, D.C., represented by this year's quarterback crop. Here are just a few of the observations that can be made from this exercise.
California remains king
It should come as no surprise that California produces the most projected Power 5 starting quarterbacks considering the state's size and reputation for high-quality talent. And for 2022, the Golden State is responsible for 11 of the 66 starting jobs included in this exercise. The only state in double digits, California's representation is six more than the next state, Georgia. However, it's three fewer than last season, but that's more nitpicking than anything.