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Gophers starting quarterback enters transfer portal

Athan Kaliakmanis will look for a new home next season after an up-and-down year at quarterback.
Image by Amaya Battle
Athan draws back a pass against the Wisconsin Badger secondary on Nov. 25, 2023.

Minnesota starting quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, his decision to enter the transfer portal Tuesday afternoon. Kaliakmanis’s decision came after days of talking with his family about his future.

The choice to transfer comes a day after Minnesota offered New Hampshire quarterback Max Brosmer a scholarship.

Brosmer led the FCS in passing yards with 3,449, was second in passing touchdowns with 29 and only threw five interceptions.

Kaliakmanis played at the Big Ten level, but his stats this season left a lot to be desired with 1,838 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck said during the Wisconsin post-game press conference on Saturday that Kaliakmanis’ play over the season was inconsistent.

“I love him as a person and I think he did a lot of great things this year but I thought a lot of things, as [he is] a Big Ten quarterback, he knows he’s got to get better at,” Fleck said.

The inconsistency in the second halves played a role in Minnesota’s four-game losing streak to end the regular season. In the second half of those four games, Kaliakmanis averaged 56.8 yards on a 38.1% completion rate with a total of two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Gophers offensive coordinator Greg Harbaugh Jr. said in a Nov. 22 press conference leading up to the Wisconsin game that Kaliakmanis had grown a lot over the season.

“I think about how Athan knows he’s not there yet,” Harbaugh said. “Most of the time, when he makes a mistake, it is something that is easily correctable or something that he hasn’t seen. He’s limited the amount of times he’s put the ball in harm’s way.”

Minnesota finished the season with a record of 5-7, but a last-second field goal by Hawaii to knock off Colorado State made them bowl-game eligible. With Kaliakmanis opting to leave the program, the Gophers will be without their usual starting quarterback for their bowl game, whose opponent is still yet to be determined.

Freshman quarterback Drew Viotto has also opted to enter the transfer portal, he announced on X Thursday evening. The two quarterbacks left on the roster are Cole Kramer and Max Shikenjanski.

As of Tuesday evening, Fleck has not announced who will be the starting quarterback for Minnesota’s coming bowl game.

Kaliakmanis leaves Minnesota having beaten and lost to Minnesota’s two biggest rivals, Wisconsin and Iowa, during his short stint as the starting quarterback.

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  • Bryan D Emmel
    Dec 3, 2023 at 11:01 pm

    I wonder where Athan will end up. He doesn’t seem like he would be a very sought after candidate for a starting QB.