NEWS: Minnesota starting QB Athan Kaliakmanis plans to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal.
— On3 (@On3sports) November 28, 2023
Kaliakmanis played in 23 games during his Golden Gophers career. He finished outside the top five in most Big Ten passing statistics, including passing yards, passing efficiency rating, and touchdowns. He will join fellow quarterbacks Will Rodgers, Will Howard, and Blake Shapen, among others, in the transfer portal.
Athan Kaliakmanis: Leaving Minnesota Football After Three Seasons
Kaliakmanis joined Minnesota in 2021 as a highly-recruited four-star prospect. After sitting the entirety of his first season, Kaliakmanis stepped in for longtime starter Tanner Morgan after the latter suffered an injury. Kaliakmanis played in 11 games, going 60 of 111 for 946 yards and three touchdowns against four picks. He owned the starting role in 2023, throwing 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions while completing 53.1% of his passes. He also ran for two scores.
His best game of the season came against Louisiana, completing all but two passes for 146 yards while tallying three scores. However, he struggled against top-end competition. He combined to go 16 of 34 for 141 yards and three picks against Ohio State and Michigan.
Minnesota Gophers: Surprising Down Season in 2023
Minnesota hired former Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck in 2017, a year after the Golden Gophers went 9-4 and won the Holiday Bowl under Tracy Claeys. After two mediocre seasons to start the P.J. Fleck era, the Golden Gophers went 11-2 in 2019, finishing with a win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl. Minnesota endured a lackluster season during the shortened COVID year but quickly rebounded with back-to-back nine-win campaigns.
That’s what makes this season’s 5-7 record so disappointing. The most significant difference was the defense. The Golden Gophers allowed 26.9 points per game, the 73rd highest-mark in the country. For reference, Minnesota placed in the top 40 of the NCAA in points per game allowed over the past two seasons.
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