Ohio quarterback Quinton Maxwell can officially be contacted by other schools about a potential transfer.
Entering the transfer database does not mean Maxwell is guaranteed to transfer, but he may be contacted by coaches from other schools who wish to bring him to their campus. He can return to Ohio if he decides not to transfer, but Ohio’s coaching staff is not required to retain him or hold his scholarship.
A rising redshirt senior, Maxwell’s started eight games and appeared in 23 during his time at Ohio. He’s been the backup to Nathan Rourke for much of the past two seasons.
Last season, he and Rourke entered fall camp in a pseudo position battle, but it was largely Rourke’s to lose. Maxwell appeared in six games, including , when he led Ohio’s offense to a comeback win in place of a struggling Rourke.
But after that game, Ohio had a week off, and Rourke remained the starter for the Week 3 game against Virginia. Thereafter, Maxwell played sparingly.
Throughout his three seasons of play, he’s passed for 1,773 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. Maxwell’s remembered most for his play in the 2016 campaign, when he came off the bench as a redshirt freshman in relief of Greg Windham.
Maxwell started six games in that stretch, leading Ohio to a Mid-American Conference East Division title against Akron. He started in the 2016 MAC Championship Game in Detroit, attempting one pass and rushing the ball four times for seven yards.
Maxwell was pulled after the first quarter and replaced by Windham. The Bobcats lost 29-23 to the Broncos, but Windham passed for three touchdowns after coming in for Maxwell.
The potential loss of Maxwell opens the door for a backup quarterback battle between Drew Keszei and Joe Mischler.
What does it mean for the Bobcats, though?
Throughout the season, Maxwell’s response to questions about his backup status was consistent: He was focused on what he could control.
It was no secret that his arm is the strongest on the roster; he beat the other quarterbacks in a game of who could hit the goalpost with a pass from long distance after practice in November. He was called on to attempt a 55-yard desperation heave on the final play in . But that was the extent of his impact beyond the performance against Howard.
Now, Ohio is faced with a quarterback room that features Rourke — the bonafide starter who probably should have won the MAC Offensive Player of the Year Award last season — and two unknowns in Keszei and Mischler.
Rourke’s stats and accolades speak for themselves. He’s the offensive leader for the Bobcats. His position doesn’t change with Maxwell’s potential departure.
Keszei, a rising redshirt sophomore from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Mischler — who redshirted as a freshman last season after an impressive career at Cathedral Prep in Erie, Pennsylvania — will compete for the backup gig.
Ohio’s coaching staff was high on Keszei out of high school, where he was a three-star recruit. An injury kept him from playing as a senior in high school, but Ohio’s staff liked his junior year tape enough to recruit him anyway. He’s been buried behind Rourke and Maxwell last season on the depth chart, and understandably so. Now, he’ll find himself in a position battle for the backup spot with the younger but impressive Mischler.
Mischler was the scout team quarterback in 2018, and he gave the Bobcats defense good looks, often dropping balls into good positions away from Ohio’s starting cornerbacks. He showed the coaching staff that he isn’t afraid to compete in practice.
Also on the roster is Rourke’s younger brother, Kurtis, who will be a true freshman quarterback. The two Rourkes, Keszei and Mischler will make up the quarterback room.
Nathan Rourke loves to scramble — he has amassed 1,772 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns on the ground in his two seasons in Athens. And while at Ohio, he’s never picked up an injury that has kept him from playing.
If he were to get injured, though, an experienced former starter such as Maxwell was a nice security blanket to have.
But with Maxwell’s future in Athens now up in the air and Kezsei or Mischler unproven at the collegiate level, the idea of an injured Rourke is a frightening thing for the Bobcats.
Maxwell’s next landing point is probably at the Football Championship Subdivision or Division II level, where he can land on a roster and start right away.
Or it could be back at Ohio, where he will all but certainly back Rourke up for the third season in a row. After all, the transfer portal doesn’t ensure his departure.