As Tanner Morgan enters his sixth and final season at the University of Minnesota, it is safe to wonder who is going to take over at quarterback once he’s gone. Quarterbacks currently on the roster are Athan Kaliakmanis, Jacob Knuth, and Cole Kramer. They also have Drew Viotto, a 2023 commit. With Morgan leaving after this season the Gophers are going to need to find his replacement. Let’s take a look at who might be the quarterback of the Gophers come 2023.
Athan Kaliakmanis was signed as a part of the 2021 recruiting class. Kaliakmanis was a 4-star recruit out of Antioch, Illinois. He was the second rated quarterback in the state, the 31st ranked quarterback in the nation and 319th nationally. He received offers from Iowa, Tennessee, and Purdue (to name a few) before signing with the Gophers back on March 27th of 2019.
The quarterback stands at 6-4 and weighs 190 pounds. He has four years of eligibility remaining at Minnesota. Kaliakmanis’s stats in two years in high school (2017-2018) were a completion percentage of 63%, throwing for 3,293 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also rushed for 736 yards and ten touchdowns.
The report on Kaliakmanis is that he has good size for a pro style quarterback and is a dual threat. He has great arm talent with everything necessary to make all the throws. Kaliakmanis has a quick release with good speed and precision. With great arm strength he is able to hit any part of the field. Kaliakmanis is very athletic outside of the pocket making him very dangerous. He doesn’t panic when under pressure, and is able to make throws when pressured outside. A couple areas to work on are reading the defenses better and continuing to refine his mechanics, while getting better at making quick decisions.
Jacob Knuth was a recruit out of the 2022 class. He was a 3-star recruit out of Harrisburg, South Dakota. He was the number one rated quarterback in the state, 52nd ranked quarterback in the nation, and 848th nationally. The Gophers were the only offer he received and signed with them on June 18th, 2022. Knuth has four years of eligibility remaining.
The quarterback is 6-4 and weighs 205 pounds. In three years playing in high school he had a completion percentage of 61%, throwing for 5,916 yards, 64 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,090 yards and 19 touchdowns.
His report says he is a great size for a dual quarterback. Knuth has good movement in the backfield and is able to survey the field well. Accuracy wise, he is consistent and precise with his delivery. Due to the long extension of his arm Knuth is able to get some good height on the ball when he throws, making a good threat in the vertical passing game. Knuth uses the entire field well and is able to move outside the pocket when needed. Knuth is patient in the pocket but is good at getting the ball out of his hands quickly. An issue with Knuth is he isn’t good at going through his progressions and tends to focus on his top two receivers. Look for him to potentially develop this in his time with the Gophers.
Kramer is going into his fourth year at the University of Minnesota. Kramer redshirted in 2019 and saw only a little bit of playing time that season and didn’t play at all in 2020. In 2021 Kramer saw a lot more action playing in eight games. He was a 3-star recruit in the 2018 class out of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Kramer is 6-1 and weighs 205 pounds. Since being at Minnesota Kramer has only made five passing attempts throwing for 62 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. He has had better success running the ball with 165 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries.
Drew Viotto is currently a commit in the 2023 recruiting class. He is a 3-star recruit out of Walled Lake Western Novie, Michigan. He is the 19th rated quarterback in the state of Michigan, 57th ranked quarterback in the nation, and 1086th nationally. Other than Minnesota, he has received offers from Syracuse and Maryland (to name a couple). Viotto has yet to sign with the Gophers. Viotto is 6-4 and weighs 215 pounds. In one year in high school Viotto had a completion percentage of 68.5%, throwing for 1,944 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The report on him is that he has a good size for a pro style quarterback. He has a quick release, getting the ball out of his hands fast. Viotto is a dual threat quarterback, with a strong running ability. He is quick and not afraid to take on defenders when he decides to run. Viotto’s accuracy is very good across the board. He is accurate deep, throwing with high velocity that can get over the defense. Viotto is confident and isn’t afraid when it comes to taking a deep shot and is able to work through his progressions.
Who Looks To Start Come 2023?
With Viotto still unsigned and not joining the Gophers until next season, he shows good potential and has good mechanics in place. My only concern is that he seems to be a little on the aggressive and reckless side, something that may need to be worked on if he signs with the Gophers. Kramer seems to be at the end of his college career and hasn’t put up any impressive stats in his limited playing time at quarterback in Minnesota.
That leaves only Kaliakmanis and Knuth. In my opinion I pick Kaliakmanis to start over Knuth right now. Kaliakmanis to me appears to be more versatile in both the passing and running game. He is a dual threat, pro style quarterback and seems to have a higher ceiling than Knuth. Both seem like they will be good in the passing game, and both can run the ball. From what I see though, I just like Athan Kalikmanis better from the look of things. Knuth has potential as well and both have their issues. Unfortunately, they both will be riding the bench for all of if not the majority of the 2022 season until Morgan leaves. So, we won’t know what is to come until the 2023 season. At least we should have a good quarterback battle between Kalikmanis, Knuth, and Viotto (if he signs) in 2023.
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