With the regular season coming to a close and conference championship games on the horizon, fans get a chance to look at the performance from their transfer stars. In a quarterback loaded transfer class, these three stood out to me as the top three transfer QBs of the 2023 season.
Jordan McCloud, James Madison
In potentially his final collegiate season, McCloud has been simply unbelievable for JMU. The Tampa native started his career with USF and transferred to Arizona after two seasons. After receiving little playing time with the Wildcats last season, McCloud announced his decision to transfer to the Dukes, in their first season as a FBS team.
First, McCloud led JMU to a 10-0. After an appearance from College Gameday prior to a showdown against App State, James Madison suffered their first defeat. In a 56-14 bounce back performance against Coastal, McCloud threw for 324 and five touchdowns. On the season, the senior quarterback threw for 3,413 and 32 touchdowns with just nine interceptions.
After an appeal to their bowl ban was denied, it was finally announced that the Dukes would be bowling following South Carolina’s loss Saturday. With not enough teams reaching the six-win threshold that is required for a bowl game, JMU is in. Expect a big performance from McCloud and a James Madison team looking to prove they belong.
Sam Hartman, Notre Dame
Sam Hartman is a beloved player at two different schools. After breaking every record in the book with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Hartman decided to transfer to Notre Dame for his final season. Hartman piled on four touchdowns with zero interceptions against his former team on senior night and is looking to finish his final season with a bowl win.
As is the case with anyone, Hartman faced a lot of adversity this season. In the three losses the Irish suffered, Hartman turned the ball over five times. However, in all other games, including big wins vs No.10 USC (at the time) and at Duke, Hartman threw just three interceptions.
Overall, Hartman has thrown for 2,689 yards and 24 touchdowns. Although the yards and touchdowns are substantially lower, the attempts are as well, with 128 less than last season and 207 less than 2021. Hartman has been able to lean on the best supporting cast he’s had in his career with running back Audric Estime and co., while also continuing to lead an efficient ND offense.
Jack Plummer, Louisville
The only starting transfer QB to lead his team to a conference championship game, Plummer has been everything Cardinals fans could have hoped for in his first season. After starting his career at Purdue under current head coach Jeff Brohm, Plummer started 12 games with Cal last season throwing for just over 3,000 yards.
However, the Bears finished just 4-8 that year. Now in his first season at Louisville, Plummer has the Cards sitting at 11-1 and preparing for a showdown with FSU in the ACC championship. Similarly, to Hartman, Plummer has been able to rely on a much better team this season, throwing for just 100 less passing yards and the same number of touchdowns on 117 less attempts.
With the Noles being shorthanded following the horrible injury to their star QB Jordan Travis, Plummer and co. have a real shot. If Jack can limit turnovers Saturday night, the Cards will be in line to win the game and with lots of help possibly a CFP berth.