Photo Credit: Eric Francis

What’s the Transfer Portal Like for a Starting QB?

February 28, 2022

If you’re a fan of college football you are forgiven if the first offseason with the transfer portal in full effect has felt a little overwhelming. That’s true at all positions, but quarterback really drives the point home. Big-time names at big-time schools have found new homes. The four-year starter at Nebraska is hoping to be the starter at Kansas State. Meanwhile the Huskers could start the Texas Longhorns’ starter from 2021. Both quarterbacks to start at Oklahoma last season hope to do the same at USC in 2022, just different USCs. Spencer Rattler is at South Carolina now, Caleb Williams at Southern Cal.

And on and on it goes. If you think it’s tough to keep up as a fan, it’s no simple task if you’re one of those quarterbacks in the portal either.

“No exaggeration, I announced at 12:00 p.m. I probably had five phone conversations by 1:30 p.m. with different coaches,” Adrian Martinez says of his experience on the newest episode of his podcast, Athletes Unfiltered. “For me, I never liked recruiting the first time around. I’m 22 years old now. I’ve played college football. I’m not in it for hype or a photo shoot or anything else. I wanted to get to the real stuff.”

“I answered a lot of calls, and I decided not to answer a lot of other ones because I was looking for a specific criterion in a school.”

Martinez, a three-time captain and Nebraska’s career record-holder in total yards, would commit to Kansas State two weeks after entering his name in the portal. He says on the podcast that Wildcats head coach Chris Klieman drove to Lincoln to meet with him the night he announced he was transferring.

More lunches and dinners followed that week, which included interest from some Big Ten schools.

“I’m not going to name them because I don’t want it to turn into a headline, but there were five Big Ten teams who reached out to me and wanted me to go to their school, wanted me to take a visit,” Martinez says. “I wrestled with the idea. But for me, I’d experienced the Big Ten. I had four straight years of living in the Big Ten.

“And say, if I went to a Big Ten West team, how much different would that really be? What new experience, what new challenge is that for me? It’s like the same thing. It is a different program, but I’m playing all the same teams. I know them well, but they know me well too. They’ve seen me. I decided not to go that route.”

Martinez is one of four quarterbacks on the Kansas State roster this spring. He will hope to replace Skylar Thompson who started 40 games for the Wildcats over the past five seasons. But Thompson missed multiple games in 2020 and 2021. Junior Will Howard was his replacement, starting 10 games over two seasons, and will be in the competition for snaps along with junior Jaren Lewis and redshirt freshman Jake Rubley.

Nebraska has two transfer quarterbacks in the mix as spring practices begin on Monday. Junior Casey Thompson, a 10-game starter at Texas, brings the most experience while redshirt freshman Chubba Purdy had injuries delay his progress at Florida State. They join sophomore Logan Smothers, who started last year’s finale with Martinez injured, redshirt freshman Heinrich Haarberg and walk-ons Matt Masker, Jarret Synek and Spencer Arceneaux in a crowded QB room this spring. True freshman Richard Torres, the Huskers’ 2022 signee, is on campus but suffered a knee injury during his senior season.

The new episode of Athletes Unfiltered with Adrian Martinez and Geoff Exstrom debuts Tuesday morning.


Athletes Unfiltered is produced by Hurrdat Media, which shares an ownership group with Hail Varsity.

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