Notre Dame Transfer Portal: Looking at Possibilities at Quarterback

The transfer portal is up and running in NCAA football, with Notre Dame already seeing a trio of players enter it: wide receiver Chris Tyree, center Zeke Correll and defensive end Nana Osafo-Mensah. While the Irish have the depth to get past their departures, replacements could very well be found through the portal.

This article looks at some of the possible quarterback candidates who Notre Dame might pursue in the weeks ahead. Head coach Marcus Freeman has expressed support in the past for Steve Angeli to take over behind center when Sam Hartman’s brief Notre Dame career comes to an end. Yet, given the right situation, Freeman may look to offer Angeli as well as Kenny Minchey and C.J. Carr a stiff challenge for the starting job by reining in a quality signal-caller.

Below are some of the top quarterbacks who are or may be available:

Will Howard, Kansas State

Howard just ended his fourth season with the Wildcats, finishing with his best year yet by completing 219 of 357 passes for 2,643 yards and 24 touchdown passes. He stands 6-foot-4 and does have mobility, so he could be a candidate. This past season, he threw 10 interceptions, though compared to his touchdown output, his ratio was an upgrade from when he started out at the school.

Facing Texas earlier this month, Howard nearly led the Wildcats to a huge road upset against Texas before falling 33-30 in overtime. Kansas State trailed 27-7 before tying the game with a last-second regulation field goal. He threw for a season-best 327 yards and four touchdowns. That ability to thrive in a big-game atmosphere may make him a top candidate for Freeman.

Will Rogers, Mississippi State

Even more prolific than Howard, Rogers threw for over 12,000 yards during his four seasons with the Bulldogs. However, a change in the head coaching position has Rogers looking elsewhere. This season, he dealt with injuries and was limited to eight games. In those contests, he threw for 1,626 yards and 12 touchdowns with four pass attempts picked off.

It was during the 2021 and 2022 seasons that Rogers flourished and launched the ball with abandon. In those campaigns, he completed 920 of his 1,293 pass attempts for 8,713 yards. Perhaps even more impressive were his 71 touchdowns while throwing only 17 interceptions. Numbers like that will have plenty of schools looking to add him. One factor in Notre Dame’s favor is its collection of talented young receivers.

Tyler Van Dyke, Miami

Van Dyke threw for nearly 7,500 yards in his three seasons as a starter with the Hurricanes. His demotion in the latter part of the 2023 campaign is likely a key reason why he’s looking elsewhere. Part of the presumed reason for that status was the fact that despite throwing for 2,703 yards and 19 touchdowns, he also had 12 picks. The latter number was double his six interceptions in 2021 when he put up similar numbers and also tossed for 25 touchdowns.

The numbers put up by Van Dyke this year came under his third different offensive coordinator at Miami. That lack of stability can cause havoc with any signal-caller. He’s got experience and a strong arm, with the mobility to take off. However, he has been known to force passes or be more aggressive than necessary. Still, if he’s interested in the Irish, Freeman may be willing to accept those flaws.

Riley Leonard, Duke

Leonard hasn’t officially entered the portal but seems like a strong candidate after Blue Devils’ head coach Mike Elko was hired to replace Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M. Elko, Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator in 2017, could provide insight into life under the Golden Dome. Yet, given Leonard’s production, Elko seems more likely to try and entice him to join the Aggies’ squad.

Marcus Freeman and his staff know what Leonard can do, being witnesses to the near-upset earlier this season. Leonard’s mobility is a key part of his game and had been held in check during the early part of the contest. Yet, by the time the game ended, he’d run for 88 yards. Leonard has the size and mobility to thrive with the Irish, but whether he wants to follow in Sam Hartman’s footsteps remains to be seen.

Cameron Ward, Washington State

Ward is another quarterback who hasn’t indicated that he plans on transferring. However, if he does, a furious battle could conceivably depend upon the potential income he can receive from NIL’s. By joining the Irish, he would arrive at arguably the most high-profile football program in the country, thereby enhancing his name recognition.

A chief reason why Ward would be so avidly sought by schools is his numbers, which include just over 7,000 passing yards in two seasons. Adding to that are his 48 touchdowns, compared to only 16 interceptions on 982 pass attempts. Outside of potential financial aspects, one additional reason why Ward could look elsewhere is the pending implosion of the PAC-12 and Washington State’s uncertain status.

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  1. These are the men who will take us beyond where Ian Book had us for 3 1/2 years? Surely you jest.

    C-Dog.. lose the hate my brother. If the Irish, meaning the the people who populate the Emerald Island, had held on to their hatred they would (still) be murdering each other. I’m proud of my distant relatives for seeing through hatred, in sharp contrast to the rest of the globe

    Give our Notre Dame lads a shot. My father used to tell us about some of the open anti-Catholic discrimination at Morgan Park HS in Beverly. I saw a wonderful example of discrimination at Fatima retreat house. Somebody sloshed blue paint all over the statues of Mary and the Fatima children. You could see the devil’s work behind that iconoclastic work he (or she) did that day in the early sixties.

    It is no time for hatred C-Dog. It’s time for some green woke for the team and the fans and our detractors. One million dead Irish catholics. Jam it down their throats. After all, we have been given only two options in this country: If you are not born black, you are a racist and if you are not in perfect lockstep with Trump you are a traitor! Let’s give them a third option; Be a Notre Dame fan, people. It’s too late in the evolution of the species for hatred, war, and predudice. And baby Jesus, who was born in a time of peace, doesn’t like it.

    BGC 77 82

  2. Memo to Riley Leonard’s family and the ND fandom:
    With QB McCord entering the portal @ tOSU, here comes Coach Day and a ton of NIL cash to lure him into Columbus. Leonard to ND is certainly nowhere near a done deal, I suspect.
    ND may be forced to play their recruits next season and develop who they recruited.
    As for WRCoach Brown from WI, the athletic administration can’t be trusted respecting Freeman enough to get the coaches he wants, says Capt. Obvious

  3. OK, Coach Marcus Freeman. It’s time to stand up and be the MAN!!!!
    The college world hates your team and the school you represent. Notre Dame wants a cleaner approach to college football and that’s not what the mafia wants. And especially in the South with all the evangelicals, but lets also not forget the Catholic hating Wolverines, and the satanic Buckeyes, the hate for a Catholic school daring to crash the party……yeah, they hate us one and all. Trust me Marcus, I’ve dealt with the anti Catholic jokes at work for over 34 years.

    So get pissed and get a chip.

    It’s time!

  4. 2 half way decent bowl options and 2 really crummy bowl options left.
    Arizona Bowl or what ever it is.
    Holiday Bowl

    Warm places

    Fenway Bowl
    Pinstripe Bowl
    If I were a player and the team got bowls in anyplace cold, I’d hit the transfer portal.
    Notre Dame should decline any invitation to any bowl in cold weather. Not worth the trip.

    1. Again, forgive my real time updates.

      The Sun Bowl is available. Everything else is crap and for 6-6 teams.
      The team should be allowed to vote and decline any invitation other than the Sun Bowl. Even that is an insult.

      Notre Dame hate is alive and kicking.

    1. Ok I misread the feed. But now the Reliaquest Bowl is full. LSU vs Wisconsin. That’s a joke. I wonder what the Big Ten Bowl record will be coming out of bowl season.

      PopTarts might be all that’s left.
      Seems like FBS might send a signal to Notre Dame. Swarbrick needs to hire a private detective and get some incriminating photos of some of his NCAA peers.

  5. ND might be able to put the #1 sign up soon. Not for the Lacrosse team which was awesome by the way. Not for the men’s soccer team. Go Irish Soccer!!!

    But for being number 1 in football players leaving.

    Here’s an irony that the portal provides. So your team works its ass off to get to a bowl or better. You get a decent if not NY6 of CFP game(s). But you might have to opt out as a team if enough players drop for Transfer Portal and NFL Prep.
    A bowl can place your less experienced players in jeopardy of getting injured too.

    Awesome times for professional “college” football.

  6. Already up to 9 players leaving. Gonna grow. Depth at Wide Receiver and tight end now is way down. Don’t think that a QB is going to show up with all that.

    Coach Freeman kind of has a mess
    On his hands. 2024 will be a 7-5 or 8-4 year. Great defense unless Golden leaves. Run oriented offense. They blow over the cupcakes and lose to all top 30 teams next year.

    And if they bring in a bunch of transfers what happens to the Notre Dame culture in the locker room?

  7. The exodus of portal exits from ND has many factors prompting it and ND certainly isn’t the only school facing this. The WRexits I suspect had relationship based influence with the position coach’s departure and perception of getting more $$ elsewhere. I hate NIL and I hate the portal, more so with non-existent guideline rules for it. The game is now practically become junior NFL on an official basis and creating a lack of team continuity caused by NIL and portal activity which is irreversibly re-shaping major college sports and not for the better. I would much rather see in-house talent for ND at QB be attempted. One and done portal pick-ups the past years didn’t necessarily reap huge rewards for CFPparticipation. If ND gets the rep for not looking to develop QBs, who then will want to come play QB. The game is changing into something I am beginning to enjoy less and less. It sucks.

  8. Seems like its time to play one of our own QB’S & see what we have. This team isn’t going anywhere next year, play the 3 qb’s on the roster & get CJ CARR some PT for the future. Why bring in somebody to get u to 9-3 & no experiance for your qb’s on the roster, theres already no wr’s comming back who can make an impact.

  9. Notre Dame went out and got the best QB available in Sam Hartman and still only managed to go 9-3 and not only miss the playoffs but fail to make a New Years 6 bowl game. And if the 12 team playoffs started this year they would be on the outside lookin in as well. Notre Dame continues to fail at recruiting and developing quarterbacks and wide receivers. Until they figure this out they won’t compete for a championship anytime soon.

      1. Include refusing to spend the money they have on acquiring elite talent.
        Until ND joins the 21st century and spends the money they have, competing with the elite for both recruits and transfers places them at a disadvantage in today’s college football landscape.
        “Just the facts, M’am!” Joe Friday, Dragnet

      2. BTW
        ND is fortunate to have such a hardworking head coach who tolerates and even embraces ND, despite their refusal to level the playing field Re: transfer portal and NIL ?.
        The former guy was busy playing golf.

  10. It’s almost pointless to report on who is leaving but assume everyone could. Whats more important apparently is to know who you can grab.

    Fun time historically for college football

  11. College football sucks with all this crap

    Conference realignments
    Coaching carousel
    Transfer Portal
    coaching salaries
    Ticket prices

    It’s nothing close to cheering athletes who you’ve seen in class during the week. The athletes can’t truly be connected to the school anymore. The talk about thanking the coach, team, and university is BS. The players and coaches are free agents making obscene amounts of money for playing a backyard game.

    My Dad did homework for engineering classes with Leon Hart. When’s that sort of thing going to ever happen again?

    1. Dillon Hall still and always has had athletes with the rest of us students.
      There are the schools who offer but not require their athletes to be students.
      Fewer still expect it. ‘Follow the money’ now trumps the “degree”, just like in the real world. Like fanucci,, the athletes just wanna get their beaks wet. Cashing in . . .
      Like my grandfather namesake would say: “That’s none of my business. Let it go.”

      1. Agreed. I was in Cavanaugh when it was a guys dorm. Tim Brown showed us his Heisman when he came back to the dorm after the ceremony.
        Mark Green talked freely with guys.
        Reggie Ho was otherwise a cool pre med nerd.

        Now it’s not sustainable that the athletes really participate in the University and still compete.

        Alabama certainly doesn’t require their football players to actually take real classes or participate in the University.

        And with players coming and going, are you cheering for a team of Notre Dame players, really?

  12. If Ward comes to ND so be it. But I’d rather see the Steve Angelis and Kenny Minchey’s make it at Notre Dame. That would demonstrate that the QB coach is special and that ND is a destination for recruits.
    Notre Dame needs its identity and that really is built within not from transfers.
    Sam Hartman was awesome at embracing it. He showed he would have been a great representative of the University had he started there. But he didn’t create the culture and he’s a one off lucky acquisition.
    I really would like to see Angeli or Minchy starting next year and lighting it up.
    If the Irish want to compete they will need the O-Line to actually match the hype and they’ll need such balance to keep defenses on their heels. Gotta have an effective QB but so much more in addition.

    Get the receiver Coach situation fixed first.

  13. Looks like Leonard to NotreDame. Imo, no matter who the quarterback is he will only be as good as the talent around him, offensive line ,receivers, running backs and just as important the coaching,- game plans, in game adjustments, development and utilizaition of the talent, putting players in the right positions to excel, etc.

    1. With 4 (and counting, Colzie next?) WRs headed to the portal, the question is whether any significant portal QB (including Leonard)might choose not to join a team that has a mass exodus of their starting receivers. When three of the four receivers were starters and still chose to leave, it suggests some toxicity at least in the WR room beyond Stuckey. If he was the cause, him leaving would not cause an abandonment of the receiver room. I suspect Braylon & Rico chose ND because of Stuckey, and not ND. As for Merriweather and Tyree, their lack of use has apparently caused them to look elsewhere and lose confidence in Freeman and Parker. And how many of the three incoming WR recruits will now look elsewhere seeing their main recruiter has been asked to leave? Who knew the extent of the displeasure that obviously permeated the receiver room? We do now!

  14. I would be shocked if Leonard doesn’t follow his coach to TX A&M.
    Why wouldn’t he?
    A&M can buy their way back into the elite, and Coach Elko, with the excellent purchases of players by TX A&M these last three years, is primed to bring the Aggies into the elite with the right QB, and he knows what Leonard can do, and Leonard will soon find out that TX $, unlike ND, will do for him.
    Riley will cash in and follow his coach to TX A&M. Too EZ!
    As for Howard @ KN St., him putting his name in the portal will give ND a chance at him.
    As for Ward, the $ he’ll be offered will trump any opportunity ND will match.
    Just read that QB Rezac will join the ’25 class, a mobile modern day QB (who with QB Knight, signals that Parker looks for mobile QBs who can run, a sign that Parker understands how important that is to the modern era) and will provide depth in ’25 from within the program and beyond.

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