Transferring College Quarterbacks are Footballs New Normal
Don't hate the player, hate the game. A generic hip-hopish type quote from many years ago which accurately describes the world in which College Football now exists.
The era of players being "Loyal" to their schools, sticking around in trying times and struggles is a thing of the past.
And while I've talked incessantly about the inequalities of the game and the fact it is now a big business which does not share profits with its workers.
Which brings me to the most recent example of what I just said---Monday's news out of Athens, Georgia saying soon to be rising Sophomore QB Justin Fields is exploring his options to transfer.
For those of you unfamiliar--Fields was arguably the "Top Recruit" in the High School class of 2017, a "5-Star" recruit from Cobb County, Georgia who after tentatively committing to play at Penn State, ended up staying close to home and playing for the Georgia Bulldogs.
For the slightly crazed Bulldog faithful was a great signing. This despite coming off a season where they went to the National Championship game which was led in large part by a the "True Freshman" QB, Jake Fromm, a pretty damn good quarterback in his own rights.
Which created a problem for Kirby Smart and his team---in theory. How do you get a "Top Recruit" playing time at a position where you already have arguably one of the 10 best Quarterbacks in the sport?
The 'Dawgs went 11-2 in 2018, winning the SEC East only to lose a nail biter in the SEC Championship game. They'll finish the season with a Sugar Bowl Matchup against Texas.
Yet the whiny Georgia fans were not happy. Fromm had by all accounts an amazing season, throwing for 27 TD's and 5 interceptions. He had one bad game, a game where UGA got overwhelmed by LSU 36-16 in Baton Rouge.
After the loss, the whined and cried, wanting Fields to get the opportunity to be "The Guy". Fields got mostly mop-up duty. He wasn't bad, going 27 for 39 with 328 yards and 4 TD's passing and 266 yards with 4 TD's running the ball.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is this.
Quarterbacks in College Football have become largely independent contractors looking for the best opportunity.
This years Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray---he transferred from Texas A&M to Oklahoma and sat on the bench in 2017 behind Baker Mayfield.
This years starter at Michigan, Shea Patterson, he transferred from Ole Miss after the Rebels got in trouble with the NCAA.
And yes, I know, Alabama managed to keep both of their "Star" QB's with former starter Jalen Hurts sitting behind Tua. Hurts got his chance in the spotlight when Tagavioloa got hurt in the SEC Championship Game and rescued the Crimson Tide.
Hurts will be a Graduate Transfer somewhere in 2019. Don't misconstrue his "Loyalty", he wanted to get his degree (honorable) and stayed to get it.
Listen, I get it. Quarterback is the glamour position in Football and everyone wants to be "The Guy". But they can't all be. Fields, for all his talents, had the chance to beat out Fromm in camp or during the season. He couldn't.
Hurts was not able to unseat Tua. In a world where everyone recruits multiple "Star" athletes, someone has to sit. There are only a set amount of positions and footballs in a game.
Quarterbacks are looking for the money. If they have professional aspirations, they want the opportunity to be on the field. I get it.
Football players have a short career arc. Only so many of them will be successful and at best, they'll play 10-15 years. And College Football IS the NFL's Minor League system.
My point is this: Don't hate Justin Fields for exploring his options. Don't hate UGA Coach Kirby Smart for sticking with Jake Fromm over Fields. He's doing what's best for his program.
You can't hate any of the kids for looking at better options. College Football is no longer a world where it's all about "Love of School". It's a business and the kids are now forced to become businessmen.
No, they're not getting paid by the schools (they should be), but if they are a potential NFL talent, they've got to do what they feel is in their best interest. It may not be what the alumni like...or the coach and in some cases the teammates.
But it's about doing what's best for you. It's the world we now live in.
Like I said at the beginning "Don't hate the player, hate the game".....