Zack Annexstad Enters Transfer Portal Leaving Morgan as Gophers Unchallenged QB1

PHOTO: AARON LAVINSKY – STAR TRIBUNE

Just one day after the Minnesota Gophers lost a possible quarterback of the future, Jacob Clark, to the transfer portal, another has jumped out of PJ Fleck’s boat. This portal entry, however, says much more about Minnesota’s 2022 QB hierarchy.

Not that long ago, Zack Annexstad was the Gophers’ QB1 but those days feel far far away now that he too has announced his intention to leave.

In 2018, Zack played in 7 games and threw 187 passes (97 completions, 1,269 yards, 9 TD, 7 INT) but an injury before the 2019 season left the job for Morgan. Even after Annexstad regained his health for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. At some point, Annexstad should’ve gotten a chance to lead the Gophers but that clearly wasn’t going to happen and he knew it.

2022 QB1: Tanner Morgan

If there’s one thing to take away from the Jacob Clark and Zack Annexstad transfer portal entries over the last 24 hours, it’s that Tanner Morgan’s status as Minnesota’s QB1 was never in jeopardy once he decided to return. Both Clark and Annexstad wanted a fair shot to start in 2022 but clearly didn’t feel they were going to get that under PJ Fleck and behind Tanner Morgan.

In all reality, Annexstad was the only challenger for Morgan, entering the 2021-2022 offseason. Now that he and Clark are entering the portal, wildcat QB Cole Kramer and the QB of the future, Athan Kaliakmanis, remain to backup Tanner. I expect Kaliakmanis era to begin in 2023.

Given the two-straight days of QB transfer portal announcements we’ve seen, it looks like everyone else sees that path too. Sure, it’s possible (and legal) for Fleck to dig Morgan’s immediate QB competition out of the transfer portal but that’s highly unlikely. Fleck hand picked and raised both Zack Annexstad and Jacob Clark for five and three years, respectively.

If he isn’t willing to open the starting quarterback job to them, I doubt he’d trust a transfer portal acquisition. If you’re a Minnesota Gophers football fan, you should prep yourself for another season of Tanner Morgan.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan