Comment: Despite Jayden’s loss to Laura, Washington State could still win the North Division QB shuffle

There are 236 days until the start of the 2022 football season. If we ever had to think about a scenario that seems extreme – a scenario that is about five steps ahead of current reality – now is the time.

Here we go again:

Washington State may have just won the 2022 North Division quarterback reshuffle.

It’s true. The day the Cougars lost their promising young passer on the transfer portal, they might have set the stage for the division’s best quarterback play next season.

Laura’s Jayden, the Pac-12 offensive freshman of the year who had 23 touchdowns and led the Cougars to second place, entered the transfer portal on Friday.

This could deal a debilitating blow to WSU’s prospects for next season. If things don’t break down over the next few months and none of the roster’s remaining quarterbacks develop, the Cougars could face some offensive challenges in their first full season under coach Jake Dickert.

But again, we are playing the game of speculation.

What if WSU replaced Laura with a better quarterback… a quarterback few Pac-12 fans have ever heard of… a quarterback who has never played a shot in Power Five football.

One of Dickert’s first moves when he was appointed to the permanent post was to hire Eric Morris as the offensive coordinator.

Morris knows WSU, having served in Mike Leach’s first staff (2012). For the past four seasons, he has been the head coach of Incarnate Word, a San Antonio-based Southland Conference (FCS) program.

This season’s Incarnate Word quarterback Cameron Ward has entered the transfer portal. He’s one of the best passer in the country – not just in FCS but throughout Division I.

247Sports scoring services list Ward as the portal’s No.3 quarterback, behind only Caleb Williams, formerly of Oklahoma, and Quinn Ewers, formerly of Ohio State. Ward is rated higher than Spencer Rattler (ex-Oklahoma) and Kedon Slovis (ex-USC).

On December 8, the WSU officially announced Morris as the new player to play.

The next day, Ward entered the portal.

Call us crazy, but the Hotline suspects he’s headed for Pullman.

Now let’s take a step back and assess the state of play in quarterbacks in the North next season, based on what we know and can reasonably assume.

Call us crazy, but Ward might just be the best QB in the division, if he ends up at Pullman.

• Better than Washington options: returning starter Dylan Morris, who appears to be a transfer candidate; talented but raw freshman Sam Huard; and Indiana transfer Michael Penix, who suffered multiple ACL injuries to his right knee.

• Better than Oregon options: freshman Ty Thompson, who had 15 assists during his college career; and the talented but erratic Auburn transfer Bo Nix.

• Better than Cal’s options: rookie Kai Millner, who did not play in 2021; and Purdue transfers Jack Plummer, who was benched in the middle of the season.

• Better than Stanford’s option: returning starter Tanner McKee, a gifted passer with reduced mobility.

• And better than the Oregon State option: the return of starter Chance Nolan, an efficient pitcher in a racing-oriented scheme.

Notice something?

At least four Northern teams could rely on 22-time transfers – all but Stanford and OSU.

The division lacks clarity in all phases, with the shift serving both as the reason and as an example of the situation.

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