UNI Backup Enters the Portal – What’s Next at Quarterback?
Matt Morrissey, UNI's backup quarterback behind Theo Day, has entered the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining.
While in Cedar Falls, Morrissey didn't see the field much. Other than entering last season's playoff game against Eastern Washington after Day sustained an ankle injury, the Elmhurst, Illinois native only saw action in blow-out victories for the Panthers.
In the lone game he played significant time, Morrissey completed just 10 of 28 passes for 126 yards while throwing two interceptions. This season, he finished the season 0-1 with an interception.
Morrissey joined the program in Cedar Falls after playing one year at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas. While there, he threw for 1,523 yards and 13 touchdowns in eight games.
Though UNI's incumbent starter will be back for another season in 2023 (assuming no big surprises happen after the incredible 2022 he had), Morrissey's decision to transfer opens up the backup spot and poses some big questions -- what if Day gets hurt? What if he decides to transfer back to the FBS? Who's next in line for 2024?
As of this moment, Aidan Dunne will be the man to take the reigns. The cousin of former Panther starter Eli Dunne, Aidan played a barrage of snaps this season, also entering games when UNI had a significant lead late.
In his limited time, Dunne was 3-4 for 22 yards through the air and showed his mobility, as he ran the ball seven times for 43 yards. The Dubuque native is considered to be undersized, graciously listed as six feet tall on UNI's roster.
Other options include Nate Martens -- who was the top-ranked FCS quarterback recruit when he came to Cedar Falls in 2019. However, he has played in just two games in his career as a Panther and has yet to complete a pass. Then it's 2023 recruit Braylon Kammrad from Lewis Central and soon-to-be redshirt freshman Matthew Schecklman -- both coming in as unknowns at the collegiate level.
Though one of these four QBs taking over (and succeeding) isn't out of the realm of possibility, it does appear that there will be a substantial drop-off in what they're capable of compared to Day. The Michigan State transfer repeatedly made throws this season that no UNI quarterback has made on a regular basis before.
Day's play in Cedar Falls after his decision to transfer proved that if one feels they haven't been given a fair shot at the FBS level, they can move to the FCS and not only receive playing time but win games and put up wild numbers in the meantime.
As of right now, according to On3.com, there are three former FBS quarterbacks that received three-star ratings as recruits and are sophomores or younger with little-to-no experience.
The 2022 season isn't even over yet. Once it comes to a close, that number will skyrocket.
If Dunne or one of the other quarterbacks in Cedar Falls steps up, earns the trust of the staff and their teammates, and leads the offense, then great. If not, going to the portal and grabbing FBS talent is always an option for the coming years and beyond.
As of right now, the only other Panthers from the 2023 squad to enter the portal are WR Peter Udoibok, DL Reed Snitker, and DB Miguel Edwards.