Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward announced Friday that he will enter the NCAA transfer portal as a graduate after two seasons with the Cougars. Ward, who is expected to graduate in December, will join a loaded crop of quarterbacks that have announced their intentions to transfer, including the likes of former .
As a graduate transfer, Ward will be able to play immediately at his next stop despite this being his second stay in the transfer portal. He is also keeping his options open in regards to entering the 2024 NFL Draft.
"To coach (Jake) Dickert, my teammates, and all Coug Nation, thank you for the last two years," Ward wrote on social media. "Thank you for supporting me day in and day out and for showing me some of the best days of college football; I am forever grateful."
Ward joined the Cougars in 2022 after two seasons at Incarnate Word. 247Sports ranked him as the No. 5 quarterback in the transfer portal during the 2022 cycle with a grade of 93, making him a four-star prospect.
After a strong first season with Washington State in which he earned an honorable mention All-Pac-12 nod, Ward emerged as one of the nation's best quarterbacks in 2023. He finished the regular season fourth in passing with 3,732 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also rushed for 144 yards and eight touchdowns.
A hot commodity
Ward's name immediately shoots toward the top of the list of quarterbacks available on the market. He's definitively proven that he can hang at the power conference level with 6,963 yards passing and 48 touchdowns with just 16 interceptions in 25 games as a Cougar. He may not have to go far to find his next home either.
Both Oregon and Washington will have glaring vacancies at quarterback as they make their move to the Big Ten in 2024. Bo Nix of the Ducks and UW's Michael Penix Jr. -- both former transfers -- are two favorites to win the Heisman Trophy this season and are out of eligibility once the athletic calendar turns over. Neither program has a clear in-house successor, and there's been plenty to suggest that both will go portal shopping.
Ward also signed with Incarnate Word -- a Texas-based school -- in 2021 out of West Columbia, Texas. With his deep ties to the region, there are a couple prominent programs such as Arkansas () and Baylor that need a quarterback moving forward if Ward prefers a return closer to home.
What it means for Washington State
As it stands, Washington State's top quarterback is redshirt freshman John Mateer. He spent the 2023 season as Ward's backup, though the coaching staff did mix in some packages that used Mateer as a rushing threat in the red zone. Overall, he didn't see a ton of playing time, attempting just 17 passes in 11 games. He did get plenty of run in an early season blowout win against FCS Northern Colorado, showing some promise by completing seven passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Wazzu also holds a 2024 commitment from three-star quarterback Evans Chuba, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound product of Clearwater (Florida) International Academy. His frame, production (he threw for 2,173 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior in 2022) and athleticism paint an intriguing picture for the future, but it's hard to rely on freshman to step in and compete immediately.
The portal is also an option for Washington State, though it may be hard to attract a marquee name. As one of two programs left behind in the soon-to-be defunct Pac-12 after another wave of realignment, the Cougars, which have yet to find a permanent home, don't exactly have an enticing future to pitch. Coach Jake Dickert can sell prospective transfers on Ward's success given the path he took to Pullman, Washington.