Gophers QB Athan Kaliakmanis is Entering the Transfer Portal

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Minnesota
Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Gophers had their most disappointing season of the PJ Fleck era in 2023 and part of that falls on starting quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis, who took over as QB1 before the season and was expected to throw the program into the future over the next two or three seasons.

Athan Kaliakmanis entering the transfer portal

A 5-7 record, 14 touchdowns and 9 interceptions later, Athan announced via social media on Tuesday that he plans to enter the NCAA transfer portal.

Related: Gophers Offer FCS’ Best Quarterback Max Brosmer and Fit Could be Perfect

Kaliakmanis, who joined the program as a true freshman in the 2021 class, was PJ Fleck’s prized quarterback recruit for years before he got to Dinkytown.

Fleck and Kirk Ciarrocca hand-picked Athan, a 4-star recruit out of Antioch, IL, and planned their entire future around him, after he committed. That included not taking a quarterback in the class before him (2020).

Minnesota Gophers, PJ Fleck failed investment

But this season, when given the opportunity to make Kaliakmanis the face of Gopher football for years to come, PJ Fleck found any and every opportunity to pull the ball out of his hand and, instead, default to more ground and pound, if the offense ever got into trouble.

Kaliakmanis’ career is very underwhelming, especially given he was committed as ‘the guy’ of the future and helping Fleck recruit the 2021 class during and immediately after Minnesota’s historic 2019 season, when they finished 11-2 and fans were seeing Big Ten Championship games in their future.

If you would have told me back in early 2020 that Kaliakmanis would never get close to being the Minnesota Gophers QB that Tanner Morgan ended up being, I would have guessed Morgan evolved into a legitimate NFL quarterback, before leaving campus, or that you were lying.

YearClassGCmpAttPctYdsY/AAY/ATDIntRate
*2021FR
*2022RS FR116011154.19468.57.434127.4
2023RS SO1215629453.118386.35.8149115.2
Career2 YRS2321640553.327846.96.31713118.5
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/28/2023

Related: PJ Fleck Must Find Quarterback He Can Trust in Offseason

Whether it was a Kaliakmanis problem or Fleck problem, the Minnesota Gophers’ investment in Athan was a complete failure and now they’ll be scrambling to find a quarterback that can keep PJ’s boat afloat next season and beyond.