The 5 things I saw this week that proves why it's silly to ever question quarterbacks for transferring
You can dislike it, but you can’t disapprove of it.
College quarterbacks transferring is now easier and more prevalent than ever, much to the chagrin of traditionalists who want to see backups “work hard and stick it out for the good of the team.”
Right, because that’s what you’d say to any college student with a chance to make millions of dollars in their field.
As tough as it is on teams from a depth standpoint, quarterbacks transferring should never bring on criticism. At least not the type of criticism that involves some preachy message about how this generation doesn’t want to work hard for anything anymore.
In the past week, I’ve seen a handful of things that made me think, “you know, it makes total sense why quarterbacks transfer at such high rates now.”
Here are those 5 things:
1. The Jalen Hurts experience
Which sounds better to you: Option “A” consists of being a second-string quarterback and having virtually zero path to the NFL. Option “B” consists of you being a starting quarterback with a chance to show people why you’re capable of becoming an NFL quarterback.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that Option “B” also included going to Miami, where you get to reportedly eat steaks and drink Shirley Temples at Prime 112 with Hurricanes coaches. That was just one of three trips that Hurts took over the weekend.
Yeah, not a bad weekend.
That sounds like a much better weekend than staying at Alabama and hearing about how great the guy ahead of you on the depth chart is. That’s all Hurts heard about for the past year after he, as is dad said, “opened the door” for Tua Tagovailoa in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship.
Now, Hurts will go to Oklahoma, where he’ll play for a coach who helped 2 different Heisman Trophy winners in his first 2 years on the job. I’d say that Option “B” was the smart decision.
2. The Joe Burrow experience
What did I see about Burrow in the past week that piqued my interest? I saw a quarterback coming off a New Year’s 6 Bowl victory being the spokesperson of his 2019 squad, which figures to start in the top 10.
Compare that to where Burrow was at this time last year. No matter what Urban Meyer said, it was clear that Dwayne Haskins was the favorite to replace J.T. Barrett, and with good reason. Haskins is the better player. Burrow knew that he wasn’t going to be the guy in Columbus, and that he could have an extremely favorable post-spring market.
It wouldn’t have done Burrow any good to wait around in Columbus. Even if Burrow had stayed and watched Haskins be a 1-year wonder, there’s no guarantee that the Buckeyes don’t turn to Tate Martell (I’ll get to him later) or still do what they ultimately did, which was land Justin Fields.
Go somewhere you’re wanted. Go somewhere you can succeed. If you’re a grad transfer like Burrow with 2 years of eligibility left, go there as soon as possible.
And maybe become a cult hero while you’re there:
That’s Ight I’ll take the 4 tds and the dub https://t.co/VVDLdQbqNW
— Joey Burrow (@Joe_Burrow10) January 1, 2019
3. The 2019 Heisman Trophy odds
Take a look at them and you’ll see the following players listed:
- Jalen Hurts +1200
- Justin Fields +1200
- Austin Kendall +2500
- Shea Patterson +2500
- Kelly Bryant +2500
So of the 18 players listed in BetOnline’s Heisman odds, 5 are quarterbacks who transferred. Four have yet to even play a snap at their new schools.
Doesn’t that say a lot?
None of those players would have a shot to win the Heisman if they stayed at their previous stops. Why? They weren’t going to start over Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence or Jake Fromm (Kendall transferred from Oklahoma before Kyler Murray declared for the NFL Draft). Yet here they are, in the early talks to win the most-coveted award in college football despite the fact that guys like Fields and Kendall have never been No. 1 on the depth chart.
It’s almost like all they needed was a path to play to get into that discussion. Crazy, right? Whether they live up to that hype is a different discussion. The odds show that now that they’re going to be starters, they at least have that kind of potential.
4. Tate Martell’s roller-coaster ride
Consider this. Martell announced late Tuesday night that he’s transferring to Miami. That’s after Martell watched the Buckeyes bring in Fields to essentially be the guy.
Here’s something that’s pretty baffling. Including Washington and Texas A&M, where Martell was committed to before settling on Ohio State, he’s now played for or been committed to a school in 4 of the 5 Power 5 conferences.
This was someone who was the National High School Gatorade Player of the Year coming out of Bishop Gorman. The comparisons were Russell Wilson and Johnny Manziel. And yet Martell likely won’t start in his first college game until 2020. The dude is basically a journeyman MLB reliever at this point.
right back like we never left…
I’M A HURRICANE! 🙌🏼🌴 pic.twitter.com/6Dh0gu4fxD
— TATE MARTELL (@TheTateMartell) January 16, 2019
Has Martell gone about this process in the perfect way? No. Saying you’re going to start as a true freshman at Texas A&M and that you’re vastly better than players committed there isn’t a good look, nor is saying there’s no way you’re transferring from Ohio State … only to then transfer a few short weeks later.
But is Martell’s situation still a reason you shouldn’t fault college quarterbacks for transferring? Absolutely. He made the most of every opportunity he had at Ohio State and when Haskins went to the NFL to open the door for him as a third-year player, Ryan Day brought in Fields. Of course Martell was going to leave. The fact that he said he wasn’t didn’t really mean much because in the end, logic won out.
5. Kyler Murray’s $15 million decision
So get this. Once upon a time, Murray was considered a 5-star bust. Nobody thought the kid who looked overwhelmed as a true freshman at Texas A&M was going to turn into arguably the most intriguing 2-sport prospect of the 21st century. But you know why he did? He left College Station and got a chance to play with Lincoln Riley.
That’s not a knock on Texas A&M, which was home to one of the great quarterbacks in college football history a short 6-7 years ago. That was why Murray committed to play for the Aggies. He wanted to be the next Manziel and compete against the SEC. Instead, he became a Baker Mayfield/Bo Jackson hybrid.
There’s no chance that Murray would have had the leverage to reportedly give the Oakland A’s a $15 million ultimatum had he not been able to leave to play in Riley’s offense at Oklahoma. And even if he did turn into the next Manziel at A&M — that’s a huge “if” considering the pounding he could have taken behind some weaker offensive lines against SEC defenses — what’s to say the 5-9/10 Murray would have any chance at getting first-round NFL buzz after the way things worked out for Manziel?
Murray is the talk of the sports world because he recognized early in his career that he needed a change to maximize his 5-star talents. People criticized the move at the time because there was a path for him to start with Kyle Allen also leaving College Station.
But as you’re listening to Murray dominate the sports conversation for the foreseeable future, just remember that only happened because of an unpopular decision to find a new home.