The quarterback position has to be tended to. It has to be cultivated and seasoned and developed by coaches looking to create a difference maker. But with the graduate transfer rule allowing immediate eligibility to transferring student athletes that have completed their undergraduate degree, a drive-thru window has popped up for college coaches. They've got a quick fix opportunity where that slow cook has failed them and they're taking advantage of it.
In the 2017 NFL Draft, two of the top eight quarterbacks selected (Davis Webb and Nathan Peterman) were graduate transfers. Two more got drafted in 2016: Jeff Driskel and Jake Rudock. There are failures, too. The last two Notre Dame quarterbacks that transferred out as graduates were Malik Zaire and Everett Golson. Neither will be remembered for much more than pre-arrival hype at their final homes of Florida and Florida State, respecitvely.
With transfer season in full bloom, here are the quarterbacks that you need to know that are eligible to play immediately, ranked by likely impact.
Off the market
1. Brady White -- Memphis (from Arizona State): Heading into 2018, Memphis had everything but a quarterback. Likely NFL Draft pick Riley Ferguson will be missed, but White arrives already with a firm grasp of Mike Norvell's system having played under him at Arizona State. With a really good roster around him, Memphis was a grad transfer quarterback away from being an AAC title contender once again and with his arrival 10+ wins are once again in sight.
2. Keller Chryst -- Tennessee (from Stanford): Jeremy Pruitt seems to be intent on changing the Tennessee culture across the board. That means bringing in more toughness and running a more pro-style physical brand of offense. Chryst is the son of NFL assistant Geep Chryst and the nephew of Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst. He's a two-time captain at Stanford that was a leader in that locker room. Chryst will need to battle incumbent starter Jarrett Guarantano for the job, but he has all the traits – including a huge arm – that Pruitt and his staff seem to be looking for.
3. KJ Carta-Samuels -- UCLA (from Washington): Carta-Samuels got stuck behind Jake Browning on the depth chart at Washington, but the former four-star recruit is extremely talented, and he could be the bridge quarterback Chip Kelly needs to get him into the Dorian Thompson-Robinson era.
4. James Morgan -- FIU (from Bowling Green): Though it never fully came together for him at Bowling Green, Morgan was a four-star recruit out of high school with a huge arm and a grinder's mentality. With two years of eligibility left, he could further accelerate the Butch Davis turnaround at FIU.
5. Shawn Stankavage -- Rice (from Vanderbilt): A quarterback with some moxy that battled for the starting job with Kyle Shurmur at Vanderbilt before injury stacked the odds against him, Stankavage comes to Rice to help kick start things for new coach Mike Bloomgren.
6. Gardner Minshew -- Alabama (from ECU): Bama needed a warm body to add to its quarterback room with only three scholarship quarterbacks currently on campus and the ever-present danger of one or more of those guys transferring. Minshew is much more than a warm body but won't be needed barring disaster.
Still on the market
1. Brandon Dawkins (leaving Arizona): This is the guy who kept Khalil Tate on the bench. That's a stain on the Arizona coaching staff, but it does indicate the kind of talent that the dual-threat quarterback possesses.
2. Wilson Speight (leaving Michigan): I think we can safely say that Speight is not the guy that is going to elevate Michigan to a national championship level, but for a team looking for a Band-Aid that can effectively operate and manage an offense, Speight would be a fine addition.
3. Jacob Park (leaving Georgia, previously Iowa State): Park is an NFL-level talent, but he has struggled with some off-field issues that include a failed drug test. He averaged 295 yards passing in four games last fall for Iowa State.
4. Jalan McClendon (leaving NC State): When Ryan Finley returned for his sixth year of eligibility, the writing was on the wall for McClendon. He's been a wildcat option at quarterback at times for NC State. He's big, athletic, and he's got a strong arm. He'd be a great fit in a run-heavy spread system.
5. Quentin Dormady (leaving Tennessee): Dormady left last spring and summer with plenty of confidence from the Tennessee coaching staff and was named the starter. While the ability is there, Dormady looked wide-eyed and overwhelmed on the field so he'll need the right situation to settle in.
6. Chris Chugunov (leaving West Virginia): In relief of Will Grier, Chugunov was serviceable at best. He threw for 536 yards in three games, all losses. It's hard to envision him shifting the fortunes of any FBS program.
Testing the market
1. Joe Burrow (Ohio State): During the 2017 Ohio State spring game, Burrow stole the show. He threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns on 14-of-22 passing in that game and at times looked like the most effective option under center for the Buckeyes even over JT Barrett. An injury knocked him out of the backup job for the regular season, and Dwayne Haskins took full advantage, flashing exciting ability every time he found the field. If Haskins takes the lead for the starting job in the spring as many expect, Burrows will quickly become the most coveted graduate transfer at any position. A four-star prospect out of Ohio and the son of a college coach, Burrow would provide a quick fix for someone if he opts to transfer but don't count him out of this starting race just yet.
2. Tommy Stevens (Penn State): Stevens has two years of eligibility remaining, but in front of him is Trace McSorley, Penn State's all-time leader in total offense and No. 2 all-time passer. Penn State clearly understands how talented Stevens is and does a really impressive job of keeping him engaged. You will see the 6-foot-5, 235-pounder line up at quarterback, running back and wide receiver in the Nittany Lions offense as a multi-tool weapon. In 2017, he passed for three scores, rushed for four and caught two more. Stevens graduates in May and he could be a national name at quarterback if he steps into the starting role at another Power Five program. But he could also opt to stick around at Penn State, backup McSorley and eventually inherit the starting job at a program that is circling closer every year to breaking into national title contention.