Minnesota Golden Gophers QB Athan Kaliakmanis announced on Tuesday that he would be entering the transfer portal after three years at Minnesota. Kaliakmanis has two more years of eligibility after completing his sophomore season.
There are five colleges he could transfer to in order to have a chance to compete for a starting job.
Transfer Landing Spots for Athan Kaliakmanis
The Golden Gophers finished their 2023 season with a 5-7 overall record but were able to earn the final spot for bowl eligibility. Kaliakmanis played in all 12 games, completing 53.1 percent of his passes for 1,838 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 94 yards and two scores.
After showing great upside, but struggling to finish the season strong, Kaliakmanis is looking for a change of scenery. He could look to stay close to home in Illinois or even go to a place where a starting quarterback is needed.
Here are the five schools he could consider transferring to before the deadline.
Current Northwestern QB Ben Bryant is a senior and will be moving on, while the Wildcats are trying to figure out their quarterback situation for 2024. The team finished the season with a surprising 7-5 record and earned a spot in a bowl game.
Kaliakmanis could come closer home to Illinois and attend a school that seems to have a better foundation for the future than Minnesota. He’s had some success already in the Big Ten, so a team that took major strides in 2023 and will need a veteran quarterback like Kaliakmanis to step in could be a good fit.
Despite the Iowa Hawkeyes making an appearance in the Big Ten title game this year, their quarterback woes continue to hamper the Hawkeyes from making the next step. QBs Deacon Hill and Cade McNamara were not able to provide any spark, as they combined for 1,481 yards with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Iowa could bring in Kaliakmanis to compete for the starting job, as McNamara is currently a senior, so it could be just Hill competing for the job. Some familiarity with the Big Ten also could help Kaliakmanis succeed quickly in a run-first offense.
A new head coach in Fran Brown means a change in the guard at quarterback. The Syracuse Orange finished with a 6-6 record this year, as their starting quarterback Garrett Shrader is a senior and will be moving on from the college level.
Brown is a well-known great recruiter at Georgia and will bring that mentality to Syracuse, attracting those who want to be a part of a winning culture that he was a part of with the Bulldogs. Kaliakmanis could be attracted to the Orange, as their top three receivers are underclassmen and will be sticking around in 2024. Syracuse will have great production from them.
Tennessee’s star quarterback Joe Milton recorded 27 total touchdowns on the season and tallied over 3,000 total yards. As he exits the Volunteers’ program, Tennessee will be looking for a new quarterback after a solid 8-4 season.
It may seem like a stretch since Tennessee is a step up from Minnesota, but Kaliakmanis has all the natural talent to be a top quarterback. The Volunteers always have great talent in Tennessee, so he would thrive in that program. It would come down to whether Tennessee would take a chance on him.
Northern Illinois Huskies
Northern Illinois is not a Power Five team, but there is upside potential for the Huskies to be a successful program. They finished with a 6-6 record in the regular season, and their starting quarterback Rocky Lombardi is a senior on his way out.
Two of the team’s top three receivers will be back for another season, giving Kaliakmanis some weapons to work with. There have been concerns regarding whether the level of the Big Ten has been too tough for Kaliakmanis, so coming closer to home and playing in the MAC could show his improvement as a passer.