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Transfer Watch: Big Ten QBs that could be on the move

Cade McNamara
Cade McNamara (AP Images)

Transfer quarterbacks are all the rage in the college football landscape and that leads to a whirlwind of offseason storylines to follow and signal callers to track as they try to find a starting spot at a new program.

Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier, a 29-game starter for the Broncos, has already announced his intentions to enter the transfer portal as a graduate transfer. He'll be one of many names to track as the NCAA's new transfer window opens up for everyone on Dec. 5.

That window will likely see a few Big Ten signal callers say goodbye to their current programs in search of a fresh start elsewhere. We take a look at potential candidates who could seek new homes in the offseason.

RELATED: Five SEC QBs on the transfer watch

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Cade McNamara, Michigan

McNamara started all 14 games for Michigan last season, helping guide the Wolverines to a 12-2 record, which included a win at No. 2 Ohio State, a Big Ten Championship and an appearance in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

The Reno, Nev., native earned third-team, All-Big Ten honors last season, throwing for 2,576 yards with 15 touchdowns against six interceptions.

This season, McNamara got the start for Michigan in its season-opening win against Colorado State, while sophomore JJ McCarthy got the starting nod for the Wolverines against Hawaii. Jim Harbaugh eventually named McCarthy Michigan's permanent starting quarterback.

With the McCarthy era in full swing in Ann Arbor, McNamara would be a very attractive option for many Power Five coaching staffs if he chooses to enter the portal.

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Artur Sitkowski, Illinois

After signing with Rutgers in the 2018 recruiting class, Sitkowski transferred to Illinois in April of last year and began the 2021 season as the Fighting Illini's starting quarterback, throwing for 704 yards and six touchdowns. He helped lead Illinois to wins over Nebraska and Penn State before missing the last four games of the season due to a non-throwing arm injury.

This past offseason, Bret Bielema brought in Syracuse transfer Tommy DeVito, who won the starting job and has led Illinois to a 3-1 start to the season. Sitkowski is a good insurance policy on the depth chart, but he may opt to eventually end his college career elsewhere.

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Jack Tuttle, Indiana

After three seasons at Indiana it appeared this season would be Tuttle's turn to become the full-time starter. The San Marcos, Calif., native has appeared in 14 games for the Hoosiers throughout his career, starting two games each in 2020 and 2021 in relief of an injured Michael Penix, Jr.

In January, Indiana added Missouri transfer quarterback Connor Bazelak to its roster. He won the starting nod over Tuttle during fall camp and has guided to Hoosiers to a 3-1 record so far.

Tuttle, a former four-star recruit, has thrown for 819 yards along with four touchdowns and six interceptions in his career and would be a graduate transfer if he chooses to pursue that option.

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Logan Smothers or Chubba Purdy, Nebraska

Nebraska is a program in limbo right now after the recent firing of Scott Frost. One thing is for certain: Texas transfer Casey Thompson has solidified himself as the starter for the Cornhuskers this season, and he has one more year of eligibility remaining.

Currently, Thompson's backup is Chubba Purdy, another transfer Frost brought in this past offseason. The former Florida State product recently got some playing time in Nebraska's 49-14 loss to Oklahoma.

Logan Smothers signed with Nebraska as part of its 2020 class, and he currently appears to be third on the depth chart. The Muscle Shoals, Ala., native appeared in six games as a freshman in 2021, and he earned a start against Iowa. So far this season, he's appeared in two games (against Northwestern and Georgia Southern), where he's rushed twice for 17 yards.

Will both Smothers and Purdy stay at Nebraska and wait out the Thompson era? Or will one of them enter the transfer portal in December? Those questions will hinge on who the higher-ups at Nebraska hire as the next head football coach.

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