In 2024, the Gophers will host a competition for their starting quarterback position, but Athan Kaliakmanis has no intention of participating.
Kaliakmanis, who played in every game for the 5-7 Gophers this season, announced 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 discussed the uncertainty regarding the starting quarterback position with the Gophers quarterbacks. Fleck told the group he would explore the transfer portal for potential competition next season. The source acknowledged Kaliakmanis’ contributions to the team.
Struggling with consistency throughout the season, Kaliakmanis, a third-year sophomore, completed 156 of 294 passes 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 expressed gratitude to his teammates, coaches, and fans before announcing his decision to enter the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining.
Kaliakmanis is no longer listed on the Gophers roster on the football program’s website.
Following their regular season-ending 28-14 loss to Wisconsin, the Gophers have begun the process of creating a competition for the starting quarterback position.
Max Brosmer, a junior at New Hampshire who has entered the portal as a graduate transfer, announced that he has received a scholarship offer from the Gophers. Brosmer, who passed for an FCS-best 3,464 yards this season, is being considered as a potential addition to the team.
With Kaliakmanis departing, backup quarterback Cole Kramer is a potential starter for the Gophers’ pending bowl game. Behind Kramer are a pair of true freshmen, Drew Viotto and walk-on Max Shikenjanski. The Gophers also have a verbal commitment from a 2024 quarterback recruit, Drake Lindsey of Fayetteville High School.
In 2022, Kaliakmanis, from Antioch, Ill., demonstrated potential as a redshirt freshman when he played five games in place of the injured Tanner Morgan. He led the Gophers to a 20-13 win at Nebraska and a 23-16 win at Wisconsin, passing for 319 yards in the latter game.
Despite a strong finish to 2022, Kaliakmanis struggled with his accuracy, culminating in a 50% or less completion rate in five games this year. He received a grade of 68.1 from Pro Football Focus this season, a decline from his 74.9 grade in 2022.
It’s important to note that the Gophers’ pass-catchers struggled as well, with the team dropping 25 passes this season, compared to only four drops last year.
The Gophers’ passing offense ranks 126th among the 133 FBS teams this season, averaging 153.2 yards per game.
Fleck acknowledged Kaliakmanis’ inconsistency, stating that there are areas he needs to improve as a Big Ten quarterback.
The Gophers aim to return to their winning ways following a sub-.500 season by exploring options in the transfer portal to add competition at the quarterback position.
Fleck also noted that the Gophers’ losses were against teams that started a transfer quarterback, emphasizing the need to reassess strategies following a challenging season.
“When you’re 5-7, you look at everything very differently,” Fleck said following the loss to Wisconsin.