As many predicted earlier this summer, one of the two quarterbacks who lost out on the starting quarterback job for the 2019 season has reportedly hit the transfer portal.
As first reported by Inside Carolina’s Ross Martin, redshirt freshman quarterback Cade Fortin has entered his name into the transfer portal. The Suwanee, GA product made the decision on Thursday evening, following Mack Brown announcement that true freshman Sam Howell was going to take reps with the first-team as the team begins to prepare for next Saturday’s season opener against South Carolina.
During his true freshman season a year ago, Fortin played in the maximum four games to maintain his redshirt, starting two of those contests, including the season finale against NC State. Fortin finished the 2018 season with 388 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception on 32 of 65 passing. Back in the spring, Mack Brown talked about just how talented all three quarterbacks battling for the job were and Phil Longo said just last week that Fortin was the best pure thrower of the three quarterbacks in the battle. He should have no issues landing on his feet.
The question is, where will he go? The most obvious answer is one that many Tar Heels fans will not like. The closest Power 5 school to Fortin’s hometown is ACC rival Georgia Tech. The move would make perfect sense for a Yellow Jackets team making the drastic transition from the triple-option to spread offense under new coach Geoff Collins. They somehow did not land a quarterback from the transfer portal so far this offseason, so Fortin makes a lot of sense for them. Some other destinations at the Power 5 level that might make sense: West Virginia, Vanderbilt or Arizona.
With Fortin departing from Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels will have just two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster for the 2019 season. Howell will be the Tar Heels starter, while redshirt freshman Jace Ruder now slides solidly into that backup role. The battle now will be amongst the two true freshmen walk-on’s, Donovan Brewington and Vincent Amendola, who will look to be that No. 3 quarterback for the Tar Heels in case of emergency. If the staff isn’t confident in those two guys, they could always dip into the transfer portal themselves and scoop up an emergency situation quarterback, such as former Michigan and Miami (OH) quarterback Alex Malzone, who is eligible immediately if he lands somewhere.