On signing day, the Pac-12 officially welcomed 12 high school quarterbacks into the conference. The total was fairly standard. There are exceptions, but usually each school takes one quarterback from high school each class. Sometimes there are two, sometimes there is a junior-college or four-year transfer as well, but one is the norm.
Each of those players harbors a belief that one day he’ll be the starting quarterback -- or at least hopes he will. The reality, however, is that it’s far more common for an incoming quarterback to transfer than to finish his career as the starting quarterback. That’s somewhat understood among college football fans, but a look back at the Pac-12 recruiting classes in 2013 and 2014 show just how hard it is to win a job even after landing on campus.
Of the 27 quarterbacks who signed with Pac-12 schools out of high school in 2013 and 2014, 16 players (59.3 percent) have transferred, five will likely be backups next season behind a player their same year or younger, two have changed positions and another switched sports.
That leaves only four players who either completed their career as the starting quarterback (Cal’s Jared Goff and Colorado’s Sefo Liufau) or are projected to (Arizona’s Brandon Dawkins and Stanford’s Keller Chryst).
Here’s a look back at the quarterbacks from those two classes and where those players are now:
Anu Solomon, Arizona: Threw for 6,922 yards and 49 touchdowns over three seasons, but will finish his career at Baylor.
Jared Goff, Cal: Earned the starting job as a true freshman and after three years was drafted No. 1 overall by the Los Angeles Rams
Sefo Liufau, Colorado: Started all four years and helped guide Colorado to the Pac-12 South title in 2016.
Ryan Burns, Stanford: Was named the starting quarterback prior to the 2016 season, but was replaced by Keller Chryst after seven starts. He considered transferring, but will finish his career at Stanford with Chryst’s status unclear as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered in late December.
Asiantii Woulard, UCLA: The nation’s No. 1-ranked dual-threat quarterback spent two years in Los Angeles before transferring to South Florida. He is no longer with the team.
Max Browne, USC: Ranked the No. 2 pro-style quarterback, Browne spent three years behind Cody Kessler and was named the starter in 2016 before being replaced after three games by Sam Darnold. He transferred to Pittsburgh for his final season of eligibility.
Conner Manning, Utah: Made one appearance in three years at Utah and graduated before transferring to Georgia State. He led the Sun Belt in passing yards per game (268.4) in 2016.
Troy Williams, Washington: After two years in Seattle, Williams transferred to Santa Monica College for a season before returning to the Pac-12 as Utah’s starter in 2016.
Tyler Bruggman, Washington State: Bruggman enrolled at WSU with high expectations in the same class that featured a little-known walk-on named Luke Falk. It didn’t take long for Falk to prove to be the better option, which sent Bruggman on a winding journey starting with Louisville, then Scottsdale Community College and, finally, Montana State. He led the Bobcats with 888 yards passing in 2016.
Brandon Dawkins, Arizona: Took over as the starting quarterback for the majority of the 2016 season and will be expected to retain that role in 2017.
Manny Wilkins, Arizona State: Started as a redshirt sophomore in 2016, but is unlikely to keep that role after the program brought in Alabama-transfer Blake Barnett.
Coltin Gerhart, Arizona State: Began his career at quarterback and transitioned to safety. He has graduated and transferred to New Mexico, which lists him at running back.
Chase Forrest, Cal: Forrest redshirted and served as a backup to both Goff and Davis Webb the last two seasons. He will compete for the starting job in 2017, but is not viewed as the favorite to win the job.
Luke Rubenzer, Cal: After seeing time as a change-of-pace option behind Goff in 2014, Rubenzer was converted to safety.
Cade Apsay, Colorado: Apsay was dismissed after two seasons at Colorado and intended to transfer to Glendale (Calif.) Community College to play in 2016, but academic reasons prevented him from playing.
Tanner Sanders, Oregon State: Sanders’ football career at OSU never materialized, but he has spent time on the school’s baseball team and is now in his second stint on the basketball team.
Nick Mitchell, Oregon State: After two seasons in Corvallis, Mitchell transferred to Cerritos College in Southern California and recently signed with Southern Oregon.
Keller Chryst, Stanford: Chryst supplanted Burns as the Cardinal’s starting quarterback after seven games in 2016 and is expected to retain the starting job when he returns from a torn ACL.
Aaron Sharp, UCLA: Sharp spent two years at UCLA, but was switched to receiver and transferred to Blinn College in order to play quarterback. He threw for 786 yards in eight games in 2016.
Jalen Greene, USC: Green was a quarterback during his first year on campus, but switched the receiver prior to the 2015 season. He switched back to quarterback for the spring in 2016, but returned to receiver in the fall.
Kyle Carta-Samuels, Washington: After redshirting in 2014, Carta-Samuels has served as a backup to Jake Browning the last two seasons.
Peyton Bender, Washington State: Bender was Falk’s backup in 2015, but transferred to Itawamba Community College for academic reasons and has since signed with Kansas.