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Former Nebraska QB Luke McCaffrey transfers to Rice

The dual-threat QB will compete for the starting job in Houston this fall.

Nebraska v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Rice Owls landed a massive name from the transfer portal Monday.

Former Nebraska quarterback Luke McCaffrey announced his transfer to Rice on Twitter at 12:21 p.m. ET, thanking head coach Mike Bloomgren and newly hired offensive coordinator Marques Tuiasosopo for the opportunity:

McCaffrey first entered the transfer portal in January and committed to Louisville in February. After several months of offseason workouts in the Bluegrass State, McCaffrey decided to enter the portal again in hopes of landing a starting quarterback job for the 2021 season. In order to start at Louisville, McCaffrey needed to unseat incumbent starter Micale Cunningham, who threw for over 4,600 yards, 42 touchdown passes, and 17 interceptions in the past two seasons for the Cardinals. The ex-Cornhusker ultimately decided to take his journey to Rice, which is looking to replace Mike Collins — its departed starting quarterback from 2020.

McCaffrey comes from a family loaded with football talent. His father Ed won two Super Bowls with the Broncos in a 13-year NFL career and produced four sons who played at the FBS level collegiately. Max registered 1,341 yards and 12 touchdowns as a wide receiver at Duke, Dylan threw 35 passes and three touchdowns at Michigan, and Christian is the star running back for the Carolina Panthers and starred as a Heisman finalist at Stanford in 2015.

With a plethora of brothers scattered across the college football landscape, there is a McCaffrey family connection involved with Rice. Christian McCaffrey’s collegiate offensive coordinator at Stanford, Mike Bloomgren, currently serves as the head coach at Rice.

In two seasons at Nebraska, Luke McCaffrey threw for 608 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for another 530 yards and four touchdowns. The dual-threat quarterback started two games for the Cornhuskers in 2020, notably upsetting Penn State in his first start while totaling a career-high 152 passing yards. One week later, McCaffrey managed to top the century mark in the rushing department, collecting a personal-best 122 rushing yards on Illinois’ defense.

McCaffrey will join an open Rice quarterback battle which includes a bevy of names with varying experience levels. Wiley Green, the 2019 Week 1 starter, is the most veteran member of the group. The pro-style quarterback started three games in 2018 and seven in 2019 and played first-team reps in the spring game. JoVoni Johnson started one game each in 2019 and 2020, leading the offense in a landmark upset over a ranked Marshall team last December. He served as the primary backup to Mike Collins in 2020.

FCS transfer Jake Constantine and JUCO transfer T.J. McMahon are the other participants in the Owls’ heavily-populated quarterback battle. Rice has relied on transfer talent at the quarterback position in the Bloomgren era. In 2018 Vanderbilt transfer Shawn Stankavage started 10 games, in 2019 FCS transfer Tom Stewart started four games, and in 2020 TCU transfer Mike Collins started three of Rice’s five games.

Rice will decide on its starting quarterback before the Sept. 4 opener in Fayetteville, when the Owls battle former Southwest Conference rival Arkansas.