Another day, another notable collegiate quarterback enters the transfer portal. Florida Gators signal-caller Emory Jones is entering the portal ahead of the 2022 college football campaign, per a report from Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel. Jones now joins former Auburn quarterback Bo Nix, former USC quarterback Kedon Slovis, and a slew of others in the portal. Ohio State's Quinn Ewers recently transferred from Ohio State to Texas, and Spencer Rattler swapped Oklahoma for South Carolina.
A redshirt junior, Jones struggled in his first season as Florida's starter. Jones threw for 2,563 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. A dual-threat quarterback, Jones also ran for 768 yards and four touchdowns. Florida finished the season a disappointing 6-6 and head coach Dan Mullen, who originally recruited Jones to Florida, was relieved of his duties.
A former top-100 recruit, Jones will now look for a fresh start elsewhere. He should attract a fair amount of interest on the open market, as several programs search for upgrades ahead of next season. We've identified three fits that make sense as he begins his search for greener pastures.
As mentioned in the introduction, Nix decided to depart Auburn earlier this week. This shocking announcement leaves the Tigers with a sizable hole at the quarterback position. Head coach Bryan Harsin likely can’t afford another subpar season in 2022 after his Tigers recently crawled to a disappointing 6-6 finish. As a result, Harsin may turn his attention to the transfer portal in hopes of adequately replacing Nix.
Jones is a relatively similar quarterback to Nix from an athletic perspective in terms of possessing dual-threat ability. This would allow Jones to quickly acclimate to Harsin's offense. Auburn is in the midst of hiring their next offensive coordinator after Mike Bobo failed to meet expectations in his first season. The marriage between Harsin and Bobo never made much sense. The next offensive coordinator will likely have some input on Auburn's 2022 quarterback plans. They could do a lot worse than the talented and dynamic Jones.
Virginia Tech is a destination that makes sense for various reasons. A promising program that is better than their 2021 record (6-6) indicates, Virginia Tech has the pieces in place to potentially make a giant leap in 2022. Starting quarterback Braxton Burmeister largely failed to meet expectations and the Hokies will almost certainly turn a watchful eye to the portal in hopes of landing a much-needed upgrade.
Virginia Tech heavily recruited Jones out of high school, but hardly stood a chance at actually landing him with powerhouse programs such as Florida involved in the process. Things are different now that Jones finds himself in the portal. Head coach Justin Fuente is no longer in charge, but it was actually quarterbacks coach Brad Cornelsen who spearheaded the program's efforts to recruit Jones, and Cornelsen remains the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Virginia Tech as of now. The Hokies recently missed out on three-star quarterback Alex Orji, who recently flipped his commitment from Virginia Tech to Michigan despite verbally committing to the Hokies back in April. Orji was a plan for the future, but landing Jones in 2022 could help soften the blow.
Would Jones consider staying in-state while welcoming an opportunity to play for one of Florida's major rivals? He should absolutely consider doing so, although his decision to enter the portal isn't rooted in seeking revenge.
Florida State head coach Mike Norvell is entering a crucial campaign in 2022. FSU fans have largely lost faith in Norvell's ability to return the program to prominence. It's rather understandable. Norvell signed an extremely lucrative six-year contract to take over the Seminoles in December of 2019 and has compiled a record of just 8-13 in two seasons since then.
Norvell made sweeping changes to the program's roster ahead of 2021, and would almost certainly welcome the opportunity to land a talented signal-caller such as Jones via the portal, especially one that's already competed in-state. It's worth noting Florida State was heavily involved in Jones' recruitment process, and Jones took a visit to their campus before landing with Mullen at Florida. Jones would immediately upgrade the quarterback position at FSU.