Former Kansas State Quarterback Will Howard Transferring to Ohio State

By Dan Hope on January 4, 2024 at 6:41 pm
Will Howard
Scott Sewell – USA TODAY Sports
GRAAAAAAAAAAY BOX
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Ohio State is bringing in an experienced transfer quarterback to potentially be its starter in 2024.

After completing his official visit to Ohio State, former Kansas State quarterback Will Howard is transferring to OSU for his final season of collegiate eligibility, he announced Thursday.

"When I started talking to Ohio State, everything kind of lined up," Howard told ESPN’s Pete Thamel. "I had a list of things I was looking for, in terms of needing to go somewhere where there was a lot of talent around me and somewhere I could compete for a national championship."

The Howard File

  • Year: Fifth-Year Senior
  • Size: 6-5/242
  • Pos: QB
  • Previous School: Kansas State (2020-23)
  • Stats: 458-779 (58.8%) passing for 5,786 yards, 48 TD, 25 INT; 226 rushes for 921 yards, 19 TD

Howard started 27 games over the past four years at Kansas State, earning second-team All-Big 12 in 2023 in his only full season as the Wildcats’ starter. He led Kansas State to the Big 12 championship in 2022 after taking over as the Wildcats’ starter midseason.

Across his four seasons at Kansas State, Howard has completed 58.8 percent (458 of 779) of his passing attempts for 5,786 yards and 48 touchdowns with 25 interceptions while also rushing for 921 yards and 19 touchdowns. He completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 2,643 yards and 24 touchdowns with 10 interceptions and ran for 351 yards and nine touchdowns in 2023.

Will Howard’s Stats at Kansas State
Year Comp-Att (%) Pass Yards Pass TD INT Rush Att Rush Yds Rush TD
2020 90-168 (53.6%) 1,178 8 10 78 364 3
2021 30-55 (54.5%) 332 1 1 32 184 4
2022 119-199 (59.8%) 1,633 15 4 35 22 3
2023 219-357 (61.3%) 2,643 24 10 81 351 9

The 6-foot-5, 242-pound quarterback from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, is likely to be Ohio State’s starting quarterback for the 2024 season, though OSU does not typically guarantee starting jobs to incoming transfers.

Howard also considered transferring to USC or Miami and the possibility of entering the 2024 NFL draft rather than using his fifth year of eligibility, which he has because all college football players received an extra year of eligibility in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, Howard determined that becoming a Buckeye would be the best move for his future.

"I'm glad I took my time with this decision," Howard told ESPN. "Through it, I got to learn a lot about myself and college football in general. It was a great process. I'm really glad I ended up choosing Ohio State.

"I knew if that if I passed this up, I'd regret passing up the chance to go be the quarterback at Ohio State. I knew I'd be kicking myself if I passed up this opportunity."

Howard believes transferring to Ohio State gives him the chance to win a national championship and improve his NFL draft stock.

"The goal I have, I want to go win a national championship," Howard told ESPN. "At the end of the day, I want to go be a starting quarterback in the NFL ... I feel like the best place to stick as a quarterback in the NFL is as a first or second-round pick in the NFL Draft. Going to Ohio State gives me a chance to make a jump and leap into that conversation."

The addition of Howard gives Ohio State a veteran quarterback with a track record of winning games and making plays with both his arm and his legs. With the increase in talent he’ll have around him in Columbus, Howard has the tools to potentially emerge as one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in 2024.

While Howard is not a guaranteed upgrade over the quarterbacks who were already on the roster for 2024 – Devin Brown, Lincoln Kienholz and Air Noland – Ryan Day and the Buckeyes ultimately decided that bringing in an experienced veteran would improve their chances of success next season rather than allowing three inexperienced quarterbacks to compete for the starting job.

The struggles of both Brown and Kienholz in the Cotton Bowl surely played a factor in that decision. Brown completed four of six passing attempts for only 20 yards before leaving the game with a high ankle sprain while Kienholz completed just six of 17 passing attempts for 86 yards as Ohio State scored only three points in its 14-3 loss to Missouri, which came after regular-season starting quarterback Kyle McCord transferred to Syracuse.

Howard becomes the fifth quarterback to transfer to Ohio State since 2018, though just the second to transfer in as a likely starter. Justin Fields started at OSU for two seasons after transferring in from Georgia in 2019. Chris Chugunov spent two years with the Buckeyes as a backup from 2018-19 after transferring in from West Virginia, Gunnar Hoak spent two years with the Buckeyes as a backup from 2019-20 after transferring in from Kentucky and Tristan Gebbia spent this past season at Ohio State as a backup after transferring in from Oregon State.

He’s the second player to join the Buckeyes via the transfer portal this offseason, joining former Ohio tight end Will Kacmarek.

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