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UDFA John Rhys Plumlee Confirms Steelers Want Him to Play QB

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Pittsburgh Steelers QB John Rhys Plumlee

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee as an undrafted free agent, rounding out their quarterback room for the 2024 season.

Plumlee, 23, was a four-star recruit coming out of Hattiesburg, Mississippi and chose his home-state Ole Miss Rebels over offers from Alabama, Georgia, Notre dame and others.

Plumlee played football and baseball for the Rebels, and saw early playing time as a freshman in 2019 while filling in for an injured Matt Corral, but never earned the starting quarterback gig. In 2021, he moved to wide receiver and caught 19 passes for 201 yards before entering the transfer portal.

He ended up at UCF and back at quarterback, winning the starting job for the Knights, and continuing to play baseball. In two seasons at UCF, he posted back-to-back 2,000-yard campaigns while maintaining a 135.3 passer rating.

In 2022, he threw 346 times, completing 218 (63%) for 2,586 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. This past fall, he threw 256 times, completing 161 (62.9%) for 2,271 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while being limited to 10 games.

With Plumlee seeing action at wide receiver at UCF, there was speculation that he could play WR in the NFL, but he put that notion to bed during an appearance on The Sick Podcast. Plumlee said he chose the Steelers as a UDFA because they want him to play QB.

“Pittsburgh has relayed their confidence in me as a quarterback, they want me to play quarterback and develop as a quarterback,” he confirmed to Mike Nicastro and Jordan York.

Plumlee is very small for a quarterback, checking in at 5-foot-11 3/4 and 203 pounds, but he tested extremely well, running a 4.51-second 40-yard dash, a 4.27-second shuttle, a 6.96-second three-cone drill, a 36.5-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-4 broad jump for an 8.81 RAS score out of 10.

Plumlee will slot in behind Russell Wilson, Justin Fields and Kyle Allen as the Steelers’ fourth quarterback in training camp, and could be in line to earn a practice squad role where his athleticism could allow him to be a versatile piece of the scout team.

A right-handed hitting outfielder, Plumlee has not played baseball this season, so he will be able to join the Steelers for rookie camp, which is scheduled for two weeks away. His best hitting season was in 2023, when he hit .286 with an .889 OPS and stole 18 bases for UCF.