Potential Drake Maye Replacement Returns to North Carolina in Transfer Portal

Former UNC QB Jacolby Criswell is returning to North Carolina after transferring from Arkansas
Former UNC QB Jacolby Criswell is returning to North Carolina after transferring from Arkansas / Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The Tar Heels have an old friend coming back to Chapel Hill in former Arkansas QB Jacolby Criswell, who started his career at North Carolina and now hopes to replace No. 3 overall draft pick Draye Maye under center.

Criswell was the No. 2 player in Arkansas and 11th-ranked dual-threat QB in the 2020 class, though lost a QB battle to Maye that preceded his transfer.

He appeared in four games for the Razorbacks in 2023, completing 63% of his passes for 143 yards and three TDs to no interceptions while adding 44 yards on the ground. As North Carolina looks to rebuild its offense, Criswell could be an effective player with both his arm and legs in 2024-25.

UNC News: QB Jacolby Criswell Transfers Back to Tar Heels

The Tar Heels now have a QB competition brewing, with three promising players yet no one clearly in front. Fifth-year transfer Max Johnson, who previously played at LSU and Texas A&M, likely has an early lead. He's played in 30 games and made 22 starts, notably throwing 27 TDs to just six interceptions at LSU in 2021.

However, Johnson struggled at Texas A&M. He had five interceptions with only nine TDs in 2023 and is more of a pocket passer, so Criswell's dual-threat ability could give him a boost in the competition.

North Carolina likely faces a rebuilding year in 2024 given the difficulty of replacing one of the nation's best quarterbacks. Criswell hasn't yet found the opportunities he expected coming out of high school, though this could be the perfect time for him to deliver on his once-great promise.

He has started one game in his collegiate career, throwing for 125 yards and rushing for 55 and a TD in a win over Wofford back in 2021. If all goes according to plan, Criswell might wind up leading the Tar Heels after all, just a few years later than he initially expected.

More North Carolina Tar Heels News: