TUCSON, AZ – Former starting quarterback Jayden de Laura entered the transfer portal. It's unclear if he'll stay in a power conference, here are a few of his potential landing spots.
With the meteoric rise of new Arizona Football starting quarterback Noah Fifita, Jayden de Laura, entered the transfer portal a second time and will be seeking his third collegiate home. Between a slight decline in his play in 2023 before his benching and off-field issues dating back to his time in high school, he may not even play in a power conference next season.
247 Sports has de Laura listed as a top-60 transfer quarterback and the 17th-best left available in a loaded positional class. With the old guard on the way out, let's look at some of the key landing spots for de Laura.
Best case scenario: Oregon State or Washington State
The Beavers had a phenomenal season in 2023, finishing 8-4 (5-4 in Pac-12) and at No. 21 in the CFP Rankings. They are slated to face No. 15 Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl this Friday, Dec. 29, but will be doing it without the men who got them there.
Following the conclusion of the regular season, former Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith took the open position to lead the helm at Michigan State University. After this news dropped, another gut-punch followed: both starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and promising backup quarterback Aidan Chiles entered the transfer portal. While Uiagalelei has not found a new home yet, Chiles, a former four-star recruit, followed Smith to Michigan State.
Oregon State also showed an interest in de Laura coming out of high school, despite not offering him a scholarship. With a wide-open quarterback room and no firmly-entrenched backup to compete with for starting reps, this is de Laura's best chance to revive his career with a great team that still hangs on the edges of being in a power conference.
Washington State is in a similar situation to Oregon State in that they are also being left out to dry by the Pac-12 and have questions swirling around their quarterback room. Cameron Ward entered his name into the transfer portal for the second straight offseason, opening the door for another quarterback to take his place.
Washington State also offers another bonus for de Laura: familiarity. Back when he was a three-star prospect out of Honolulu, the Cougars won de Laura's commitment. He spent the abridged 2020 COVID-19 season getting his feet wet, highlighted by a 321-yard outing against No. 11 Oregon, before hitting the ground running as a quality starter in 2021. The 2021 Cougars finished the season 7-5 and made an appearance in the Sun Bowl. However, despite making the start, de Laura was pulled from the game at halftime and was replaced by Victor Gabalis.
He never played for the Cougars again, in part due to a suspension stemming from a DUI charge (that he was eventually found not guilty of), and also a change in the coaching staff. Former head coach Nick Rolovich, who recruited de Laura in the first place, was fired due to a refusal to comply with the Washington state-mandated COVID-19 vaccination protocol for state employees.
With a new coaching staff, a vacated starting spot under center, and a desperate attempt to stay in one of the power conferences by Wazzu, look out for de Laura's second stint as a Cougar.
Next best options: Hawaii, San Diego State, and Iowa
Despite 2023 starter Brayden Schager entering the NCAA transfer portal, he has since removed his name and pledged his return to Hawaii for the 2024 season. With Honolulu being de Laura's hometown and the Rainbow Warriors looking to build on their promising 2023 season, he very well could end up back in Hawaii. De Laura's hometown school did offer him a scholarship coming out of high school, but he opted for Washington State Instead
With Schager returning next season, though, it does muddy the waters on whether de Laura would be guaranteed the starting job or win it in a camp battle. The junior threw for 3,542 yards and 26 touchdowns for the Rainbow Warriors in 2023. While this may not end up as the starting opportunity de Laura is looking for, having the advantage of family proximity can never be written off.
San Diego State is another school that offered de Laura a spot when he was coming out of high school. The Aztecs took a massive step back from their usually imposing presence in the Mountain West under the signal calling of Jalen Mayden. Mayden threw for just over 2,000 yards on the season while also leading the team in rushing, with 528 yards. However, his struggles are highlighted by his mere 10 passing touchdowns and nine interceptions.
If de Laura wants to find better weather in California and immediately land a starting job, heading a little further west may be the best option. He would vastly elevate the production of the Aztecs' lackluster receiving corps, where no pass-catcher exceeded 500 yards.
Iowa is sorely in need of an upgrade at the quarterback position. The Hawkeyes, who finished the regular season 10-2, got shut out 26-0 by Michigan in the Big Ten Championship game. With former Michigan Wolverine Cade McNamara suffering a torn ACL, the Hawkeyes were forced to turn to Deacon Hill. Iowa mustered up a whopping nine passing touchdowns on the season and paired those with nine interceptions in 2023 as well.
In desperate need of a spark of any sort on offense, Iowa is de Laura's best shot at playing with a championship-caliber team that has an extremely stingy defense. Becoming a Hawkeye would thrust him into competition with McNamara, but his mobility and willingness to take risks would give him the edge.
Long shots: UCLA, BYU, and Ohio State
In the wake of losing highly touted freshman quarterback Dante Moore to Oregon via the transfer portal after his benching, UCLA will be looking for its locked-and-loaded starter. After winning the LA Bowl, replacement starter Ethan Garbers announced a 2024 return.
De Laura would want to go to a program with some name-recognition and a great location in Los Angeles, and the Bruins may express some interest in the dual-threat de Laura. However, it isn't a guarantee that he'd win the battle for the starting job and he may not want to gamble on it.
BYU also offered de Laura a scholarship coming out of high school. After having a down year in their first season in the Big 12, the Cougars will also be looking for someone to fill the shoes of Kedon Slovis, who has exhausted his eligibility.
However, with BYU being a school notorious for its strict honor code, it's unlikely they would be interested in the long-haired, tattooed de Laura with a very questionable pattern of off-field choices.
Ohio State, like many others above, made an offer to de Laura coming out of high school, so the familiarity is there. With quarterback Kyle McCord transferring to Syracuse, the starting job in Columbus is vacated, and head coach Ryan Day, whose staff made the offer, is still leading the program.
However, with then-Ohio State passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich no longer being on the staff and not a lot of great tape out there, it's unlikely that the Buckeyes would be interested.