Big Ten transfer QBs already impacting games
There is no position impacted more by the transfer portal than quarterback. The search for playing time and the right fit at the position is important for both the players and coaching staffs across the country. That’s why there will continue to be a lot of transfer movement among signal-callers throughout each offseason moving forward.
The Big Ten wasn’t as heavily impacted by an influx of transfer quarterback additions in the offseason compared with other conferences. However, there are some intriguing storylines to follow with incoming transfer quarterbacks leading new programs. Two of those have already played in Week 0, while another could make his debut this weekend.
TRANSFER QBs: SEC
Casey Thompson, Nebraska
There were positives and negatives throughout Thompson’s debut for Nebraska in a disheartening 31-28 loss to Northwestern. The positives included a hot start, accuracy on the run, 355 passing yards and two scores (one rushing). The negatives included inconsistency in the second half and two fourth-quarter interceptions.
Regardless of the result on the scoreboard, Nebraska’s offense did show big-play potential with Thompson at the helm, which could serve the Huskers well as the season progresses.
Tommy DeVito, Illinois
The former Syracuse signal-caller had a solid debut in Illinois’ 38-6 win over Wyoming on Saturday. DeVito was efficient, completing 27-of-37 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. The Fighting Illini passing game didn’t take a lot of shots down the field, but a short and efficient passing attack was more than enough to take out a Wyoming team that was severely overmatched.
Next up for Illinois is a Big Ten clash at Indiana on Friday night, which will provide an opportunity to see if DeVito looks like the right guy to lead the Illini to a bowl berth this season.
Connor Bazelak, Indiana
Indiana head coach Tom Allen has yet to publicly name a starting quarterback for Friday’s season-opener against Illinois. Former Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak has been battling Jack Tuttle throughout camp for the starting nod as the Hoosiers look for massive improvements at the position after a disappointing 2021 season.
Tuttle appeared in six games for the Hoosiers last season, starting two contests. Bazelak appeared in 11 games last season with Missouri, passing for 2,548 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 65.3% of his throws.
Bazelak certainly has the pedigree to be a Big Ten starter, earning SEC Co-Freshman of the Year honors in 2020. He amassed 5,058 passing yards and 25 touchdowns during his time at Missouri.
Billy Edwards, Maryland
Edwards redshirted at Wake Forest last season before deciding to enter the portal after participating in spring ball with the Demon Deacons. He is projected to be the backup for Taulia Tagovailoa at Maryland this upcoming season.
Edwards was rated a 5.5, three-star prospect coming out of Lake Braddock (Va.), originally committing to Old Dominion before signing with the Demon Deacons over other offers that included Akron, Appalachian State, Buffalo, East Carolina, Liberty and others.