The Miami football program had to pivot with a transfer quarterbacks after Washington State signal caller Cam Ward decided to enter the NFL Draft, K.J. Jefferson of Arkansas is going to Central Florida and Will Howard from Kansas State is trending to Ohio State. Malachi Nelson of USC could be the next transfer QB Miami pursues.
Miami is reportedly looking for an experienced transfer QB. Nelson has little experience. Nelson completed one pass in three attempts as a true freshman in 2023. The only appearance for Nelson was in a 56-28 USC win over San Jose State in the 2023 season opener. Nelson was highly rated as a high school prospect.
Nelson was the 12th ranked prospect, fifth QB and second recruit in California in 2023 per the 247Sports composite rankings. Howard, Nelson and Kaidon Salter of Liberty who entered the transfer portal on Tuesday are the only top QBs remaining. Miami is in a quandary for a transfer QB.
Pete Nakos and Josh Newburg discussed where Miami goes next at QB in the transfer portal in the On3 Recruits Podcast. Nelson appears to be the most logical target going forward. Salter had not entered the Portal at the time the Podcast was posted on Monday.
"I think Miami is gonna kind of take a minute and take a deep breath. It came out a little bit- On3 Recruit podcast
earlier today that all of a sudden they were going to go after KJ Jefferson and then I think within 30 minutes KJ committed to UCF. (I think they) look at Malachi Nelson. In Miami they they've been in talks already. I could see those heating up. I also think there's a chance that Miami goes after a quarterback who hasn't even entered the transfer portal yet. Now let's talk about Malachi Nelson for a second. I know he was a five-star last year the number 11 ranked overall, but he was third string when the dust settled at USC this season. So is Malachai Nelson transferring to Miami the answer for the 2024 season? I know he'd be a great long-term solution because he still has three years of eligibility, but is that who Miami would turn to for the 2024 season or would they need another quarterback? I think that remains to be seen. I think they'd love to take Malachai and someone maybe a little bit older who has a little bit more in-game experience. You mentioned it he was a third-string. I think part of that was due to the fact that he was dealing with an injury he was recovering from for most of the season. I don't we've seen a fully healthy Malachi Nelson yet but...I think it's fair to say that I don't think Miami is ready to just completely go all in on Malachi and I could see them definitely
taking two quarterbacks...That leads us to the next top available quarterback on the transfer portal board and that is Will Howard. He's leaving Kansas State now we thought Will Howard was tied to Miami at one point but it kind of seemed like that cool now."
The deadline for players entering the winter transfer portal was Tuesday. The next transfer portal window is post spring practice from April 16 through the 30. Miami seemingly went all in with Ward and secondarily with Howard. Now Mario Cristobal and his staff have to shift momentum to pursue another transfer QB.
The reference to a QB not yet in the transfer portal could have been Salter specifically or someone else in general. There is a possibility a highly rated QB who is beaten out in the spring for a starting position enters the transfer portal in April. Miami ideally wants to have a transfer QB for spring practice.
Any potential transfers who want to participate in spring practice have until January 24 to enroll for this semester. With a three-week window, Miami has to move quickly after missing out on Ward and likely Howard. There are other transfer options at QB, but they are not as highly ranked as Howard or Ward.
Jayden DeLaura of Arizona, Jordan McCloud of James Madison, Diego Paiva of New Mexico State, and Jayden Maivia of UNLV could be names to watch with Salter. Other than Salter, after targeting Howard and Ward, landing any of the above QBs would be a big step back for Miami.