College quarterback transfers rippling from Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields

Miami, Florida State and Washington are among the schools that have directly (or indirectly) been affected by the two superstar recruits.
Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell plays against Rutgers during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell plays against Rutgers during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Published January 16
Updated January 16

As two of the top prospects in the Rivals era, five-star quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields were expected to make big impacts at wherever they landed in the 2018 recruiting class.

They have. And a year after they signed with Clemson and Georgia, their decisions continue to ripple through college football’s unofficial free agency period. One of the latest dominoes fell late Tuesday night when ex-Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell announced his intention to transfer to Miami.

Here’s a look at how Lawrence and Fields have shaped the national landscape:

Clemson: Lawrence’s golden arm (and locks) led the Tigers to the national title. But his emergence also sapped them of depth, thanks to two defections, including one to…

Northwestern: Hunter Johnson looked to be No. 3 on Clemson’s depth chart after spring practice, so he left to join the Wildcats over the summer. The former five-star recruit is expected to start this fall for the defending Big Ten West champions.

Missouri: Kelly Bryant was ahead of Johnson at Clemson and took the Tigers to the College Football Playoff in 2017. But Lawrence’s rise caused Bryant to leave mid-season. He eventually settled on the other Tigers, where he’s eligible immediately as a graduate transfer.

Washington: Like Lawrence, Fields joined a stacked quarterback room at Georgia. The first to go was Jacob Eason, who would have had to beat out Fields and incumbent Jake Fromm for the job. The No. 5 overall recruit in 2016 instead chose to transfer to his home state, where he’s the presumptive replacement for the Huskies’ all-time leading passer, Jake Browning.

Jacob Eason's Georgia career didn't work out, but he's expected to start this fall at Washington. (Times file)
Jacob Eason's Georgia career didn't work out, but he's expected to start this fall at Washington. (Times file)

Georgia: After seeing little meaningful action as a true freshman behind Fromm, Fields decided to transfer. Fields’ impending departure helped convince four-star high school recruit Dwan Mathis to sign with the Bulldogs last month. That opened a spot for the school he had been committed to…

Ohio State: The Buckeyes didn’t waste much time in landing an upgrade over Mathis: Fields. But Fields’ arrival led the otherwise presumptive starter, Tate Martell, to weigh his options. Tuesday night, he said he was heading to…

Miami: The Hurricanes have struggled at quarterback the last two years, so the No. 2 dual-threat prospect in 2017 will be a huge infusion of talent, especially if he’s able to play immediately. His addition eliminated one possibility for Alabama grad transfer Jalen Hurts, who announced Wednesday that he was going to…

Then-Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts runs into the end zone in the fourth quarter of the College Football Playoff national title game vs. Clemson at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. (Times file, 2017)
Then-Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts runs into the end zone in the fourth quarter of the College Football Playoff national title game vs. Clemson at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. (Times file, 2017)

Oklahoma: The former SEC offensive player of the year’s path to the starting job isn’t overly daunting. Four-star talent Austin Kendall recently entered the NCAA’s transfer portal.

Florida State: The Seminoles were among Fields’ top suitors during both of his recruiting processes, but they failed to land him either time. FSU is thin at the position — and could be even thinner if 2017 starter James Blackman transfers — and added a body last month when former three-star prospect Jordan Travis transferred from…

Louisville: The Cardinals are still looking for a passer, especially a grad transfer who can play immediately. If they get one, the ripple effect will continue.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

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