In a very surprising twist, it was reported on Monday that Houston QB D'Eriq King was thinking about sitting out the season and redshirting to maintain his final year of eligibility. While it remains only a report, King's father told Mark Berman from Fox 26 Houston that it was "the best decision for him at this point," which seems to indicate King is as good as gone.
King is a senior, and while there are undoubtedly many reasons behind a decision like this, it's a reasonable assumption that King is undergoing this journey in order to increase his pro draft stock. King's talent is high as a dual-threat quarterback; in 2018, he threw for 2,982 yards and 36 touchdowns with nine interceptions while running for 674 yards and 14 touchdowns in 11 games before getting shelved due to injury. His suitors will be lining up around the block, eager to match his skillset with their scheme. Here are four destinations that make sense for the latest talented quarterback to hit the transfer portal.
The most obvious answer, Oklahoma has been home to two of the most successful transfer quarterbacks this decade. Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray both came over to Lincoln Riley's program from different schools and shined. Both ended up the top overall pick in their respective drafts after failing to project anywhere close to that before becoming Sooners.
Frankly, it's hard to find a reason this won't happen. Jalen Hurts is making himself a solid Heisman argument right now, but will be gone next fall. Improving one's prospects in the eyes of NFL teams seems to be the likeliest motivation for King's move. Riley is accustomed to bringing in talented guys, fitting the system around them, and watching them leave. By leaps and bounds, this is the most likely outcome.
The 'Dawgs will need someone new behind Jake Fromm once he graduates for the pastures of professional football. They'll still have most of their biggest contributors, however, and DeAndre Swift may or may not be joining Fromm next April. What better way to offset that kind of loss than bringing in a talent like King?
Kirby Smart would have a blast scheming up different ways to let King wreak havoc in the SEC. It's always a battle to stay ahead of Alabama, and bringing in King would just be another move in the arms race for Georgia. King may not want to head to the competitive SEC, but if he's looking for a high-profile program that regularly performs under the brightest lights, look no further.
Yes, a marriage of Michigan State football and a player with King's skills would be an odd one. But! Mark Dantonio may want to make a splash after struggling to put together even an average offense over the last several years. East Lansing is a *touch* colder than Houston, and the prestige of the Sparty program has faded recently.
But (according to his ESPN recruiting profile), Michigan State pursued King before he ultimately committed to Houston back in 2014. Brian Lewerke is gone after this season. Like Tom Izzo, Dantonio isn't going to get fired for anything less than a complete nuclear meltdown, but he surely wants to get back into the national spotlight after a low few years for MSU football. A bit of a long shot, but they know they like him, and King will have his opportunity to show out against big-time competition in the Big Ten.
Another school who pursued King back when he was in high school, UCLA seems like more of a natural fit than MSU or even Georgia because of who's in charge. It is definitely fair to question whether Chip Kelly is even an average coach at this point, let alone above average, but the last time he was given a QB with skills like King's led to a Heisman Trophy for Marcus Mariota and a gig in the pros for Kelly.
This would require a rather significant leap of faith from King that Kelly's time at Oregon was not the exception when it comes to his coaching resume. It would be hard to blame him for thinking otherwise. But should he make that leap, and should Kelly prove that, with the right quarterbacks, his system works, nothing would improve King's chances quite like an offensive explosion at UCLA.