Houston quarterback D’Eriq King has entered his name into the transfer portal after graduating from the University of Houston in December. This is a change from his initial plans to redshirt the 2019 season and return to Houston for 2020. King is one of the most electrifying quarterbacks in the country and will look to play for a program that can elevate his draft stock.
King’s skill set isn’t a perfect fit for every offense, so finding the right pairing of scheme, talent, and need is important. It must be a school that has proven to adapt their offensive game plan to best suit its players. It must also be a team that can provide a strong supporting cast around King, meaning we’ll be exclusively sticking to blue-blood Power 5 programs. Finally, it must be a team that actually needs a quarterback, so teams like Ohio State and Clemson are definitely out.
There are a number of teams that meet these requirements, but I narrowed it down to the five that I believe are best suited for King. I also added an honorable mention, because it would both be fun to see and I expect everyone to attempt to make this connection until the process is over.
Honorable Mention: Oklahoma Sooners
Spencer Rattler is the future in Norman; he even has 10-1 odds to win the Heisman without ever starting a game. Over the past few years, Oklahoma has found success with transfer quarterbacks (Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts were both transfers). Reluctantly, I have to say it is incredibly unlikely that King ever suits up for Lincoln Riley, but if he did, it’d be some very exciting football. Rattler should provide the same type of spark, as his future is incredibly bright. Youth reigns supreme, as Rattler is about four years younger than King. As we’ve seen from each of the past three OU passers, expect the next one to put up huge numbers and be right in the thick of the Heisman conversation. Just don’t expect those numbers to come from King.
#5: Mississippi State
This is my dream partnership for D’Eriq King’s transfer, from an entertainment standpoint. “Mike Leach and D’Eriq King take on the SEC” is a show I’d watch every Saturday without question, despite my hatred for the Mississippi State fans and their horrendous cowbells. However, in terms of how well this prepares King for the NFL, that’s up for debate. I am not a fan of Mike Leach-coached quarterbacks, as their mechanics are typically horrendous and they have no resemblance to NFL passers. That being said, they consistently get drafted, so I suppose Leach is doing something right. King in Leach’s system would at the very least become a Heisman contender. King could very well have a 4,000-yard passing, 1000-yard rushing season in Leach’s Air-Raid system; a system King does have some familiarity with.
#4: Miami Hurricanes
The Hurricanes had their worst season in 12 years in 2019. Head coach Manny Diaz must find his quarterback, and find him fast. King could be the guy to lead this Hurricanes team to a run at the ACC Coastal division. Miami’s top QB recruit in 2019 was a three-star prospect named Peyton Matocha, who was the 89th ranked QB via 247sports. In 2018, they signed #9 overall QB Jarren Williams, who showed flashes at times this past season but did not prove to be a better quarterback than King. If King can join Miami and lead them to the ACC title game, it would be a major win for coach Diaz, and it would give a boost to King’s draft stock as well.
#3: LSU Tigers
Fresh off a National Championship, Coach O and the Tigers must prepare for the loss of Heisman quarterback Joe Burrow. They also must deal with the loss of passing game coordinator Joe Brady, who had a major influence on the offense and was a key component to the success of Burrow. King would be able to alleviate some of the losses with his natural ability as a runner. LSU also possesses one of the best returning receivers in college football in Ja’Marr Chase. There is some love for Burrow’s backup Myles Brennan, but in the limited time I saw him play, Brennan didn’t do anything to move the needle. King could be exactly what LSU needs while they look for their QB of the future. If King transfers to LSU, they could be a favorite to re-up for a national championship.
#2: Arizona Wildcats
Arizona loses senior quarterback Khalil Tate this year, so why not replace him with a player of similar dynamic ability? Tate was a bit bigger and a more physical runner, while King is a shiftier, smaller guy. However, both players make a living as dual-threat quarterbacks who can move the chains with their legs. Arizona likely wouldn’t miss a beat and could contend for a PAC-12 conference in which both returning conference championship teams lose their starting quarterbacks.
#1: Oregon Ducks
Speaking of PAC-12 champions that lost their QB, the Oregon Ducks lose long-time starter Justin Herbert to the NFL this year. That means they’ll be on the lookout for a new QB to re-up for a run at a PAC-12 repeat. Oregon was apparently very heavily involved with former Wake Forest QB Jamie Newman, and the same could happen with King. I think King is the prototypical Oregon quarterback, and a season in the PAC-12 could do wonders for his draft stock. Of all the places for King to transfer, I believe Oregon is the best spot for both parties.