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Recruiting Reset: Is Jake Garcia going to be the Missouri’s starting QB in 2023?

Missouri adds another former blue chip recruit to its quarterback competition.

Pittsburgh v Miami Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Where were you when you heard the news? For me, I was getting ready to write a piece on what Arizona State defensive end transfer (and Mizzou legacy) Joe Moore will bring to the Tigers’ defensive line. Don’t worry, that’s still on the schedule. It’s just been pushed back a bit because THE TIGERS HAVE A NEW QUARTERBACK.

You heard that right. Pete Thamel of ESPN reported on Thursday night that former Miami quarterback Jake Garcia plans to transfer to Missouri and will enroll in classes immediately.

From Thamel’s story: “At Missouri, Garcia’s immediate enrollment will mean he plays for the Tigers this spring and will compete for the starting quarterback job. Missouri incumbent Brady Cook had a solid sophomore season for the Tigers, throwing for 2,739 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions.”

This is a very big get. Garcia was a top 50 recruit in the country in the 2021 class. Originally a USC recruit, he flipped his commitment to Miami prior to National Signing Day and has spent the past two seasons with the Hurricanes.

Garcia spent the vast majority of that time as Tyler Van Dyke’s backup. Van Dyke had a ton of success in 2021, and entered the 2022 season as one of the top returning quarterbacks in the ACC. Unfortunately, Miami’s entire offense crumbled in the 2022 season. Van Dyke’s struggles opened up some opportunities for Garcia.

What does Garcia bring to the table? Let’s take a look.

What’s his scouting report: I watched three games of Garcia on tape: Middle Tennessee State, Duke and Virginia. The results were mixed, to say the least. Garcia’s arm talent is impossible to ignore, but there is a lot to clean up. Some of that was a result of the situation around him. Miami’s offensive philosophy is a mess, the offensive line is a disaster, and the weapons were dropping passes left and right. Not a great spot for a young quarterback with some learning to do at this level.

Garcia has seen action in nine games over two seasons at Miami. He completed 61 percent of his passes for 950 yards (7.4 yards per attempt), seven touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s added next to nothing on the ground, and isn’t much of a threat with his legs.

The first thing that jumps off the screen with Garcia is his arm strength. He has velocity on throws outside the numbers that we haven’t seen from a quarterback at Mizzou since Drew Lock. Unfortunately, that velocity comes with a lack of accuracy at times. His decision-making has come under some scrutiny at Miami and his biggest mistakes — like most quarterbacks — seem to come while under pressure. This was magnified at Miami behind an offensive line with some deficiencies picking up blitzes and stunts.

At his best, Garcia is a big play quarterback with the ability to seriously push the ball down the field. At his worst, he’s a statuesque pocket passer who makes questionable decisions and sprays the ball all over the field. The gap between his best and his worst was wide in his limited experience at Miami. The best version of Garcia is better than the best version of any quarterback we’ve seen at Missouri since Lock. Can the Tigers extract that out of him while limiting the negative plays? That remains to be seen.

When he’ll play: Man, your guess is as good as mine. Missouri didn’t add Garcia for no reason. The Tigers’ coaching staff clearly sees the same thing as nearly every program in the country saw when Garcia was coming out of high school. The talent is there. It’s up to Eli Drinkwitz and Kirby Moore to get more out of him than Miami was able to. If they do, Garcia could very easily be Missouri’s starting quarterback going into the 2023 season.

That said, Garcia is not alone in this quarterback competition. Sam Horn was a top 75 recruit in the 2022 class for a reason, and he’ll have every opportunity to compete with Garcia this spring while Brady Cook is on the mend from offseason shoulder surgery. Cook will figure into the mix, as well, when he’s healthy and able to get back onto the field.

What it all means: Missouri added another highly talented player to its quarterback room with the potential to start right away. That is no guarantee. Playing the transfer quarterback roulette game fails as often as it succeeds. Look no further than the transfer market a year ago. Jaxson Dart, Kedon Slovis, JT Daniels and Gerry Bohanon certainly didn’t live up to expectations in their new homes. That said, Spencer Rattler reminded us of the upside people saw from him at Oklahoma and Dillon Gabriel, Jayden Daniels, Bo Nix and Michael Penix, Jr. all had success in their new homes. It can work. But often times, it doesn’t.

Jake Garcia’s story is yet to be written. He’s still a young and inexperienced college quarterback living more on reputation than production. Garcia hopes a change in scenery can lead to success for both he and the Tigers in both the short and long-term. I think all of us are rooting for him to be proven correct.