Transfer Quarterbacks Ohio State Could Consider Targeting to Add Depth Behind Justin Fields

By Colin Hass-Hill on April 18, 2019 at 10:12 pm
Ryan Day

With Matthew Baldwin in the transfer portal searching for his next destination, Ohio State desperately needs another quarterback.

Justin Fields will assume the starting quarterback job. But the rest of the position group doesn't inspire confidence. Chris Chugunov transferred from West Virginia to become a Buckeye, but Ryan Day never intended for him to be anything but back-end depth. Now, he's in line to be the backup to Fields as a fifth-year senior. The only other quarterback on the roster is Danny Vanatsky, a sophomore walk-on.

Day has said he prefers to have four quarterbacks on the roster. The Buckeyes currently have two, and only one who they likely feel comfortable putting in games. Thus, as ABC6's Clay Hall reported, they'll likely scour the transfer market looking for a quarterback with immediate eligibility.

Ohio State both needs someone who is willing to serve as Fields' backup and can play in the 2019 season, which eliminates many potential options.

Here's a look at some of the possible quarterback targets.

Gunnar Hoak (Kentucky)

Hoak hasn't decided whether he'll transfer or remain at Kentucky, but given he attended Dublin Coffman, he makes sense as a possible transfer target. He will earn his degree next month and has two more years of eligibility remaining.

As a redshirt sophomore last year, Hoak played his first snaps, appearing in four games and going 13-for-26 with two touchdowns and one interception. In the spring game last weekend, he completed 14-of-15 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. If he opted to transfer, Hoak might look for a destination where he could start immediately, in which case Ohio State would be eliminated.

Hoak, a former three-star prospect, was born in Columbus. His father (Frank Hoak), uncle (Fred Pagac) and cousin (Fred Pagac Jr.) all played football for the Buckeyes. 

Alex Malzone (Miami - Ohio)

Malzone served as a backup quarterback last year, but he began his college career with two seasons at Michigan. 

The former four-star prospect has not announced his transfer, but according to 247Sports, he's in the transfer portal. Malzone, who grew up in Michigan, doesn't have much playing experience. In four years, he has thrown four passes without a completion. But he has a year of eligibility remaining and could possibly provide depth along with Chugunov.

Matt Fink (USC)

Fink is moving on after three years at USC, and the timing correlates with the implementation of Graham Harrell's air-raid offense.

As a Trojan, Fink went 13-for-18 for 89 yards and a touchdown. He can hurt defenses with his feet and picked up 106 yards on 14 rushes the past two seasons combined. A native of Rancho Cucamonga, California, Fink was the No. 456 overall prospect in the country. 

McLane Carter (Texas Tech)

Mike Yurcich coached at a Big 12 program before joining Ohio State, and he could take a look back at the conference for a potential quarterback.

Carter announced his transfer from Texas Tech this week.

He began his college career at Tyler Junior College before becoming a Red Raider. Kliff Kingsbury named Carter the starter after preseason practices wrapped up last fall. However, he suffered an ankle injury that allowed Alan Bowman to supplant him, forcing him into backup duties. In two years at Texas Tech, the rare left-handed passer went 51-for-97 for 677 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. 

Colt Garrett (Texas Tech)

Garrett joined Texas Tech as a preferred walk-on from a local high school in 2016, and he announced on Thursday his intention to transfer. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

In three seasons, Garrett played in just three games and completed his only pass, a 44-yard touchdown. He's one of the least experienced quarterbacks Ohio State could consider.

Deondre Francois (Florida State)

It would be a bit of a shock if Francois ended up at Ohio State, but he's in the portal and would have immediate eligibility.

At one point, Francois was a highly regarded starting quarterback at Florida State. But he battled injuries and his play declined. Then, in February, Willie Taggart dismissed him from the team on the same day his ex-girlfriend made an abuse allegation against him in an Instagram post. 

Francois would have one year of eligibility remaining. In three seasons at Florida State, he went 481-for-829 for 6,291 yards with 36 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.

Tommy Stevens (Penn State)

Talk about a long shot.

Stevens will transfer from Penn State with one more year of eligibility remaining. In four years as a Nittany Lion, Stevens went 24-for-41 for 304 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He also had 76 carries for 506 yards and 14 catches for 62 yards.

Given how unlikely it is that he'd transfer to a Big Ten opponent and serve as a backup, he can essentially be crossed off the list of possibilities. 

Keondre Wudtee (Oklahoma State)

Wudtee is the only quarterback on this list who would have to sit out the 2019 season, but he's worth including based on his connection to Ohio State passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich.

Yurcich recruited Wudtee, a Louisiana native, to join him at Oklahoma State. He spent the past three years playing for the Cowboys, but put his name in the transfer portal in January. In a statement announcing his decision, Wudtee cited a family medical situation, meaning he'll likely transfer closer to home.

If the Buckeyes choose to add a second quarterback to go along with a graduate transfer, Wudtee could be an option. He would have two years of eligibility remaining.

JP Andrade (Bonita High School in La Vernek, California)

Andrade is the only high schooler on the list, but he visited Ohio State this weekend for the spring game and could be an option if the coaching staff chooses to pursue a true freshman. The high school senior has offers from Morehead State, Fordham and South Alabama, and he has a preferred walk-on offer from Florida. 

Andrade is the No. 1,729 overall prospect and the 57th-rated pro-style quarterback in the class of 2019, per 247Sports. 

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