March 4, 2024

Ferrum College : Iron Blade Online

Complete Canadian News World

Gophers midfielder Athan Kalliakmanis enters the transfer portal after meeting with coach PJ Fleck

Gophers midfielder Athan Kalliakmanis enters the transfer portal after meeting with coach PJ Fleck

The Gophers will have a competition for the quarterback position in 2024, and Athan Kaliakmanis doesn’t plan to be a part of it.

Kaliakmanis, who has started every game for the 5-7 Gophers this season, announced Tuesday on the X Platform that he will enter the transfer portal when it opens Monday.

According to a source familiar with the situation, coach P.J. Fleck has met with the Gophers’ quarterbacks and has been unable to guarantee who will be the starter in the 2024 season. Fleck told the group he will look into the transfer portal for the competition starting next year. The source said that Fleck appreciates Kalyakmanis’ contributions to the program.

Kaliakmanis wasn’t the only Gophers quarterback to announce his intention to enter the portal. Late Tuesday afternoon, true freshman Drew Viotto posted his departure on X. Viotto was a three-star recruit out of high school at Michigan.

Kaliakmanis, a third-year sophomore, has struggled with consistency all season. He completed 156 of 294 passes (53.1%) for 1,838 yards and 14 touchdowns with nine interceptions. His passer rating of 115.17 ranked 100th among FBS quarterbacks.

In his social media post, Kaliakmanis thanked Gophers teammates, coaches and fans, then wrote: “After several days of discussion with my family, I announce my intention to enter the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining.”

Kaliakmanis and Vuitto are no longer listed on the Gophers’ roster on the football program’s website.

Looking towards the future

The Gophers, who ended their regular season with a 28-14 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday, have begun the process of creating competition for the quarterback job.

See also  Richard Seymour, Dick Vermeil and Tony Boselli are honored in Canton

On Monday, Max Brosmer, a redshirt junior at New Hampshire who entered the portal as a graduate transfer, announced he had received a scholarship offer from the Gophers. Brosmer, 6-2 and 221 pounds, passed for an FCS-best 3,464 yards this season, completing 294 of 459 throws (64.1%) with 29 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also rushed 57 times for 126 yards and five TDs.

Backup quarterback Cole Kramer is a potential starter for the Gophers’ Bowl, a destination that will be announced Sunday. Kramer, in his fifth year with the team, has played in 21 games in his career and has one year of eligibility remaining in 2024. The former Eden Prairie High School star participated in the team’s Senior Day activities on Saturday. It’s often an indication that a player won’t be back next season, but some have returned after being honored with their classmates.

With Kaliakmanis and Vuitto departing, the only other quarterback on the roster is former Stillwater standout Max Czekinjanski.

The Gophers have a verbal commitment from a 2024 quarterback recruit in Drake Lindsey from Fayetteville (Ark.) High School. Lindsay, a three-star recruit, has passed for 3,561 yards and 51 touchdowns with two interceptions this season. Fayetteville (12-0) faces Bentonville on Saturday in the Class 7A state championship game.

Calliakmanes had ups and downs

Kaliakmanis, from Antioch, Ill., showed promise in 2022 as a redshirt freshman playing five games in place of injured Tanner Morgan. His most notable accomplishments were leading the Gophers from a 10-0 halftime deficit to a 20-13 win over Nebraska, and a 23-16 win over Wisconsin in which he passed for 319 yards, including the winning touchdown with 3:40 left.

See also  Hochul joins the chorus of opposition to Nassau's ban on transgender sports participation

A strong finish to 2022 has fueled optimism that Kaliakmanis will step up as a starter. Instead, he has struggled with his accuracy, completing 50% or fewer of his passes five times this year. Kaliakmanis earned a grade of 68.1 from Pro Football Focus this season, down from 74.9 in 2022.

In his defence, Kaliakmanis’ players haven’t done a great job of passing the ball this year. The Gophers have dropped 25 passes this year, a rate of 13.9%, according to PFF. Last year, they had four drops, or 6.3%.

Minnesota’s passing offense ranks 126th out of 133 FBS teams this season with 153.2 yards per game.

“Inconsistent,” Flick said on Saturday of Kaliakmanis’ 2023 play. “… I thought he did a lot of great things this year. I thought a lot of things that he knows as a quarterback in the Big Ten you have to get better at.”

As Fleck studies the portal, he can see that every other Big Ten West team has had a transition QB as their starter at some point. The Gophers’ four losses to Western teams came against quarterbacks: Northwestern (Cincinnati’s Ben Bryant), Illinois (Luke Altmaier, Ole Miss and John Paddock, Ball State), Purdue (Hudson Card, Texas) and Wisconsin (Tanner Mordecai, SMU).

“When you’re 5-7, you look at everything a lot differently,” Fleck said after the loss to Wisconsin.