Photo courtesy of Texas A&M athletics
Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada got his shot this season after spending the previous two seasons as a backup for the Aggies. He found himself on the losing side of a quarterback battle with Haynes King.
After King went down with a season-ending injury early in the season, Calzada was thrown into the fire and led the Aggies to an 8-4 season.
Now, entering his junior season, Calzada will hit the portal:
Calzada, a Georgia native, remained solid to Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies, even when other big programs came knocking. Calzada held offers from schools like North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. But it was Georgia that made things interesting down the stretch.
After Justin Fields hit the portal, the Bulldogs looked to Calzada to fill that scholarship spot. Ultimately, Calzada signed with the Aggies while the Dawgs managed to flip Dwan Mathis from Ohio State.
Keeping Calzada, a Sugar Hill native, away from Georgia proved to be a big win down the stretch for the Aggies.
At first glance, many will look at Calzada’s numbers and be a little nervous about his playmaking ability. However, the Aggies dealt with dropped passes and played musical wide receivers all year. Pair that with being thrown right into the fire, and Calzada had to learn on the job.
What is most impressive about Calzada is his toughness. He seems willing to sacrifice his body on every play.
There were multiple times this season where he left games with what appeared to be significant injuries. Well, he came back into those games and won two of them. One of those was against Alabama, where Calzada had the best performance of his career.
Calzada has impressive arm talent. He can drop the ball in the basket with ease, but he can pick apart the defense in the short and intermediate passing game as well. Calzada owns a super strong arm, and he uses it to his advantage.
At times, Calzada has been inaccurate. He has always shown that he has the ability, but look to the early-season 10-7 win over Colorado as a perfect example. At times, Calzada would not be even close to hitting receivers — sometimes wide-open ones at that.
This can be credited to throwing off his back foot and how he handles heavy pressure. All year, he tended to get a little jittery when defenders got in his face.
Potential Landing Spots
Calzada will likely look to return closer to his Georgia home, so there are a few places that stand out.
One of those is Auburn, where Calzada is rumored to be visiting soon. With Bo ix transferring, the Tigers have a need at the quarterback position.
Another is Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets already snagged a transfer quarterback, but getting a Georgia native with starting experience in the SEC might be something the Yellow Jackets would covet.
At this point, all we can really do is speculate.
Other Potential Fits: North Carolina, Georgia Southern, SMU
Even with the inconsistencies, Calzada will be a welcomed addition for anyone in need of a quarterback. He has starting experience in the SEC, and he has shown the ability to be a highly-productive quarterback with some added development.