The Texas Longhorns already had a logjam at the quarterback position in 2023, and it appears as though their 2024 QB room could face the same challenge. With Quinn Ewers potentially returning to Austin for his third season, all eyes are on whether second-year freshman Maalik Murphy will transfer.
Where Maalik Murphy Could Transfer in 2024
One of the big question marks for Texas’ 2024 outlook was who would be under center. Ideally, Ewers would’ve been a superstar this season and vaulted up draft boards to cement himself as a first-round pick. Instead, Ewers was good but not great, and Inside Texas reported on Tuesday that Ewers is expected to return for his junior season.
This appears to be the right decision for Ewers, but it clouds the futures of Arch Manning and Murphy. 247Sports reported in May that “multiple” Power Five teams had offered Murphy the chance to transfer and compete to play immediately. Expect Murphy to reconsider offers with Ewers back and Manning the likelier heir due to his recruiting profile.
The massive 6’5″, 235-pounder has a rocket arm and intimidating stature. In six games played this season, he’s completed 55.7% of his 70 attempts for 465 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. It’s clear he’s a work in progress, but the talent is also obvious.
Let’s look at four places Murphy could transfer in 2024 and be a great fit.
Billy Napier has struggled mightily in Gainesville since arriving in 2022, winning only 11 of 23 games. However, he has helped the development of two quarterbacks, producing the fourth overall pick in 2023, Anthony Richardson, and Graham Mertz, who will likely be drafted in 2024. If Mertz declares for the 2024 NFL Draft and forgoes his final year of eligibility, then the Gators can make an appealing pitch to Murphy.
Most starting talent will be back in 2024, including leading rushers Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne. The Gators will lose star receiver Ricky Pearsall, but that’s it from an offense that ranks 52nd in scoring this season.
Mertz’s decision-making and mechanics have taken a massive leap in 2023. He’s shown off a strong arm and the ability to make plays outside the pocket. It’s not a guarantee he’ll leave Florida already, but Murphy would benefit from the same fine-tunings Mertz has. Of course, if Mertz returns, then Murphy should look elsewhere.
Oregon State Beavers
While Oregon might be the best landing spot for any transfer quarterback, expect Ty Thompson to be next in line in Eugene. Instead, Murphy could look at a similar archetype of a player at Oregon State. Murphy compares favorably to DJ Uiagalelei.
Uiagalelei is a power thrower who has thrived in Oregon State’s run-heavy offense. That should be familiar with Murphy, who has a cannon but needs to be given relatively simple reads as he gains experience and confidence. Murphy lacks the polish that Uiagalelei brought after starting for multiple seasons at Clemson but will benefit from Jonathan Smith’s structure around the QB position.
MORE: Arch Manning Transfer Portal Destinations
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Getting Sam Hartman in the door was a nice win for Marcus Freeman, but the program still couldn’t get over the hump. Like Hartman, Murphy is far from a polished decision-maker. However, the Irish don’t have a clear predecessor in the wings who could keep Murphy off the field.
If Notre Dame is willing to be patient with Murphy’s development, he could see a big swing in development toward the end of 2024 and create momentum for the program in 2025. Maybe that’s not quick enough for Freeman, but this is a rare chance to add a great physical talent and rely on their in-house development.
This might look like an odd landing spot for Murphy, but the future of Jalon Daniels couldn’t be more uncertain. His back injury has kept him sidelined for most of the season, but transfer rumors persist. Daniels is a fantastic playmaker, so if Kansas loses him to the NFL or the transfer portal, replacing him is vital.
Head coach Lance Leipold has made this a highly attractive situation for Murphy. He’s developed Daniels and backup Jason Bean into difference-making passers. Even as Kansas will likely see offensive leaders Devin Neal and Luke Grimm depart, Murphy would enter a strong offensive system that has effectively complemented its talent.