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Monday, January 14, 2008

College Football Darwinism?

Call it survival of the fittest, call it getting a dose of reality, call it whatever, but Ohio State back-up QB Robby Schoenhoft is tranferring to Delaware.

That's right, a Division I-AA school and perennial outstanding team in Division I-AA.

And a good place to be a QB. The incumbent, Joe Flacco, is viewed as a top NFL prospect, perhaps a top-5 QB in the draft (according to the likes of the Todd McShays and Mel Kipers). So much does Schoenhoft want to channel his inner Flacco that he's moving into Flacco's residence.

He'll have two years of eligibility remaining.

Every kid wants to play Division I-A ball if he can, and he wants to play the position he wants to play. Steve Slaton of West Virginia was recruited as a DB by many schools. He wanted to be an RB, got an offer from Rich Rodriguez and made the most of it. The Schoenhofts of the world likewise go to Ohio State because all of them think that they will be the one. That thought fuels outstanding competition, but most of those kids aren't content to be the back-up. So, they have a choice -- do they wait patiently, or do they transfer?

Is it an admission of defeat if they transfer? That they can't cut it at the biggest of big-time schools? Or is it a concession to the reality that there is only one starting QB job available, and because of coaching turnover, different styles of offense and commitments to others, you can't be sure if you transfer to a good Division I-A school that you'll be the guy there.

Especially because you have to sit out a season.

On the other hand, if you transfer to a good Division I-AA program, while you still have to sit out a year as a transfer, you probably have a better chance to play, because the average QB recruit might have been all-league or honorable mention all-state, but he probably was not a recruit in the class of a Schoenhoft. So, if the Schoenhofts of the world transfer to the Delawares of the world, both the players and the schools win. The player gets his shot, and the school upgrades at quarterback.

So, if I were a Division I-AA, II or III coach, I'd keep in touch with coaches at the Division I-A schools, because there will always be kids who aren't getting the playing time they think they deserve.

And, if I were a parent or high-school coach of one of those players, I'd always be on the lookout for the I-AA, II or III programs that are nice to me and that are good to their kids.

Because you never know when the school that you might have been tempted to scoff at because it plays several notches down from the big-time is actually the right place for your son or your player.


Anonymous tim said...

Actually, since he's transferring from FBS to FCS and is a full academic qualifier, he doesn't have to sit out a year. That's why it's so beneficial for him to move down in divisions.

2:24 PM  

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