Florida Backup Quarterback Portis Is Transferring to Maryland

By Dan Steinberg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 19, 2005

University of Florida backup quarterback Josh Portis will transfer to Maryland and enroll in time for the spring semester, he said yesterday. Portis, a true freshman, will participate in spring practice, be eligible for the 2007 season and have three years of remaining eligibility.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Portis was regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation coming out of high school a year ago. After enrolling at Florida last winter, he shined in the team's spring scrimmage, throwing for 253 yards and four touchdowns. He played in five of the Gators' first six games this year, but only one of the last five, finishing with 29 carries for 163 yards while completing six of 11 passes.

Earlier this month he announced that he would transfer, in part because of the limited chances he received this year. He said yesterday that Maryland was among his top three choices coming out of William Howard Taft High in Southern California, and that his mind was made up before he arrived in College Park for a visit this past weekend.

"That was my gut feeling last year and I should have gone there last year," he said. "The coaches are straightforward and I just had a feeling about the place."

Maryland starting quarterback Sam Hollenbach is a junior and will have used up his eligibility by 2007. Backup Joel Statham is in the process of transferring to a Division I-AA school. The Terrapins' other future options at quarterback include sophomore Jordan Steffy, freshman Chris Turner, and Pennsylvania high schooler Jeremy Ricker, who has given Maryland a verbal commitment. Portis, a distant relative of Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis, said he welcomed the competition.

"It don't matter what quarterbacks they've got up there, I can compete with anybody," he said. "I think everybody's in for entertainment."

Portis originally committed to Utah before following Coach Urban Meyer to Florida.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company