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TRANSFER U. and proud of it
Hens’ QB transfers provide a worthwhile payoff
As the University of Delaware closes in on landing yet another transfer quarterback, I have one thing to say to head coach K.C. Keeler – way to go.
Purists out there bemoan the fact that the Blue Hens have a streak of three straight starting QBs who came to Newark from an NCAA Division I-A university. Andy Hall wasn’t in Georgia Tech’s plans, Sonny Riccio was stuck behind Brad Smith at Missouri and Joe Flacco never was even close to Dave Wannstedt’s good side at Pitt.
For some reason, many purists believe that bringing in a transfer is akin to taking a not-so-legitimate shortcut. They wonder if high school recruits such as Brad Casalvieri or Sean Scanlon will ever take a meaningful snap at UD. As long as the Hens keep bringing in I-A transfers and they stay healthy, the answer is no.
But a high school quarterback who signs with UD knows this going in. These kids don’t live in a vacuum. They saw the Hens win the NCAA title with Hall and get to the championship game with Flacco. They go to UD for an education and to belong to one of the strongest programs in all of I-AA football.
And that’s why the I-A quarterbacks like Delaware, too. Sure, Rob Schoenhoft would much rather be starting for Ohio State in front of 102,000 fans at Ohio Stadium. But that isn’t going to happen soon. He could sit out a year and transfer to another I-A program or he could transfer to Delaware and have a good shot at the starting job heading into the Blue-White game.
Sure, it means playing in front of 80,000 fewer fans, but don’t think for a second that a move to Newark would be a form of exile for a kid like Schoenhoft. NFL scouts found Hall and Flacco. They know where Delaware Stadium is by now.
Of course, the Hens’ past three QBs were successful for the most part. Critics can’t wait for the transfer who falls flat on his face. Here’s a news flash – high school recruits fall on their faces, too. The advantage of a transfer is that Keeler and his staff have a track record to study. Is the kid coachable? Was he caught in a numbers game or did his personality hasten his exit from his I-A program?
In addition, a high school recruit has yet to spend a day living in a dorm and going to class. He hasn’t seen the speed and technique necessary for the college game.
Why isn’t every I-AA team doing this? The simple answer is that there are hundreds more capable high school quarterbacks out there than I-A QBs looking to move down a level. Keeler is one of just a few I-AA coaches who has let it be known that his program is a possible destination for those select signal-callers.
Perhaps more meaningful, though, is that Keeler wants a kid who not only fits into his offense but also into the chemistry of his team, as Hall, Riccio and Flacco obviously did.
Whether you like it or not, you can’t argue with the results.
By JASON LEVINE, The News Journal