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UR has become player in FBS transfer market
When the University of Richmond football team met Delaware in 2009, the Spiders had zero transfers from Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
The Blue Hens had 10.
UR, at the time, was one of the few CAA football members that didn’t feature transfers from the major-college ranks.
The Spiders have become players in the FBS transfer market since hiring Latrell Scott as coach Dec. 15, 2009. Richmond will have at minimum four FBS transfers — Scott indicated he hasn’t closed the door on perhaps gaining another during the summer — when the 2011 season opens.
But Scott said, “I don’t think we’re turning into Transfer U at all.”
On Wednesday, 6-foot-5, 260-pound tight end Andrew Tallman officially left Miami for UR. In the Spiders’ transfer fold, Tallman joins quarterback Aaron Corp (USC) and offensive tackle Richard Muldrow (Rutgers), UR starters last season, and safety Cooper Taylor (Georgia Tech), who enrolled at Richmond in January and is expected to start.
For every FBS transfer accepted by UR, “we turn down 10,” Scott said. “We’re very selective about who we take.”
He emphasized that Spiders coaches do not reach out to potential FBS transfers. They contact UR. The Spiders had a handful of FBS transfers over the years before Scott became coach, and they never have started four.
The NCAA eased its transfer rule in 1993, granting immediate eligibility to players who switched from Division I-A (now the FBS) to Division I-AA (now Football Championship Subdivision). The rule change didn’t have a major impact in I-AA for a few years, but its effect gradually grew.
UR last season beat a Coastal Carolina team that had seven FBS transfers. CAA football member Massachusetts this season could start quarterback Kellen Pagel, a transfer from Bowling Green, and tailback Chris Burns, a transfer from Pittsburgh. James Madison’s QB could be Kansas State transfer Billy Cosh. Delaware has started an FBS transfer at quarterback, including Joe Flacco (Pittsburgh), for nine consecutive years.
UR draws the attention of many FBS players looking for a fresh start because of the school’s academic reputation and its football accomplishments the past several seasons, Scott said.
“And I really do think (Richmond’s) basketball success has helped, too,” he said. “It has continued to make us a national school at our level.”
The Spiders’ new openness toward FBS transfers is related to filling specific needs, created by attrition or other factors, Scott said. When Corp came to UR in January 2010, the Spiders lacked quarterbacks. When Muldrow enrolled last summer, they were short on offensive linemen. Taylor’s arrival eased coaching staff concerns about a thin secondary.
Potential transfers make visits to UR and meet with players and coaches. Scott doesn’t invite transfers to join his program, he said, unless his coaches and players believe the newcomers will be comfortable fits.
“We’ve got four guys on our team who have been other places, but they’re all excellent students, and they went through our admissions process,” Scott said. “I think the type of transfers we’re getting are kids who would have come to Richmond initially had they not gotten (FBS) offers.
“The bottom line is if these (transfers) are good kids and they give us a chance to win, our team welcomes these guys.”
There is a limit to the number of transfers UR and Scott will accept, he said, though he chose not to provide a specific figure. For FCS coaches, FBS transfers bring potential turbulence. The moves can alienate players who came to FCS programs out of high school at coaches’ requests, avoided off-field trouble, excelled academically and worked diligently for opportunities to contribute.
Playing time they believed they were due could go to FBS transfers who invested less in the FCS operation. That can cause chemistry problems and, potentially, infect recruiting. FCS prospects may have second thoughts about signing with a program that has relied on FBS transfers, rather than four-year players, to be game-day stars.
By John O’Connor, The Richmond Times-Dispatch