Dick Harmon: BYU, Utah, USU and SUU to benefit from trend of impatient quarterbacks transferring
Sue Ogrocki, AP
Ship jumpers, land ho.
For many college football quarterbacks in this latest generation, tomorrow is now and patience is a rare virtue.
College QBs these days are not afraid of transferring to get early or late playing time.
BYU, Utah, Utah State and SUU are all beneficiaries of this trend. All have accepted transfers to play quarterback since the ice thawed.
And if you research this phenomenon, more and more quarterbacks out of high school have superior training, faster development tracks and have benefited from combines conducted by folks who know what they’re talking about.
"The big issue is patience," Brandon Huffman, a national college and recruiting analyst for Scout.com and Fox Sports, told the Deseret News this weekend.
"You are seeing Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston by their redshirt freshman year not only start but win Heisman trophies. Because the quarterback position is the only position where you can only have one player start on the field, guys feel if they aren't on the field by at least their redshirt freshman or redshirt sophomore year they aren't going to.
"It's one position where you are always going to recruit a guy every year and you are always trying to find somebody better," said Huffman. "Guys get impatient. They aren't willing to wait past their third year when they're on the sidelines signaling plays. They want to play. That's why there is a high attrition rate with quarterbacks."
Brentt Eads, national editor of Student Sports Magazine, believes social media has vaulted publicity and knowledge of high school players as never before and that leads to expectations by the athlete and coaches. "Two coaches ago you had an eighth grader commit to USC," he said.
Utah State got a boomerang recruit that almost signed with them out of high school in Damion Hobbs, who is leaving Oregon and the Pac-12 for the MWC contender. When Marcus Mariota returned for his senior year, Hobbs decided he'd leave for his first choice, the Aggies. The QB, who will be eligible in 2015, liked what the USU staff is doing with Chuckie Keeton.
Meanwhile, Kendal Thompson is leaving Oklahoma for Utah and the Pac-12.
Thompson had the challenge of trying to beat out an Oklahoma starter who was replaced by a second quarterback who helped win a Sugar Bowl. Utah's quarterback situation appealed to him as a one-shot, throw-everything-at-a-chance-to-compete opportunity in Salt Lake City.
Ex-Missouri quarterback Trent Hosick announced he will join BYU. The duel-threat quarterback got impatient and decided to leave his home state because he loved the offense and the culture at BYU. He will play at a junior college this fall and enroll at BYU in January in time for the Cougars' 2015 spring practices.
SUU is the recipient of Ammon Olsen. The former 5A MVP at Alta originally signed with the Thunderbirds, enrolled at BYU after an LDS mission, and is now in Cedar City vying for a starting job.
If you think about it, BYU’s last three significant long-term starters have been transfers: Max Hall (ASU), Riley Nelson (USU) and Taysom Hill (signed but never enrolled at Stanford). Take out the Jake Heaps experiment and you have BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall banking on this kind of talent through Hosick. Part of that has been waiting for returned missionary talent like Jason Munns, James Lark and future missionary service returnee Tanner Mangum.
And all this follows a national trend.
Consider these stadium jumps in the course of more than a year in college football:
Jacob Coker left Florida State for Alabama.
Stephen Rivers left LSU for Vanderbilt.
Tyler Murphy left Florida for Boston College.
Brandon Connette left Duke for Fresno State.
Michael Brewer left Texas Tech for Virginia Tech.
Nick Patti left Boise State for Central Florida.
Cody Sokol left Iowa for Louisiana Tech.
Andrew Hendrix left Notre Dame for Miami (Ohio).
Matt Joeckel left Texas A&M for TCU.
Pete Thomas left N.C. State for La. Monroe.
According to Jeremy Fowler of CBSsports.com, all the above ship jumpers will be eligible this coming season.
Then there are those who transferred and sat out 2013 and will be available for the coming season. This group includes:
Jacoby Brissett left Florida for N.C. State.
Wes Lunt left Oklahoma State for Illinois.
Gunner Kiel left Notre Dame for Cincinnati.
Phillip Ely at Alabama is at Toledo.
Connor Brewer left Texas popped for Arizona.
Blake Frohnapfel left Marshall for UMass.
Luke Del Rio left Alabama for Oregon State.
In 2015, there are at least two players like BYU’s Hosick and USU’s Hobbs who will be eligible after waiting to clear NCAA transfer rules. They include:
Tyler Matthews from TCU going to Southern Mississippi.
Jake Rodrigues from Oregon going to San Diego State.
If you look at this trend, two schools stick out as QB launchers for greener pastures of playing time. They are Alabama and Oregon.
The latest part of this trend is for college quarterbacks to get their academics on a fast track and be eligible to play right away if they get late into their careers and do not start — like Utah’s Thompson. A graduate can play immediately. Three such players at other positions will be on BYU's 2014 roster: Jordan Leslie (UTEP), Keanu Nelson (Stanford) and Harvey Jackson (Nebraska).
Heaps, the highly touted BYU signee who transferred to Kansas, is looking to graduate and immediately land at a yet-to-be announced school.
Thing is, to graduate this summer, Heaps must complete online classwork from BYU to play Division I ball as a transfer.
It’s a crazy world out there.
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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