Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a talented player at a blue-blood program who was sold on being either the savior or the next-great-thing is transferring out of the program and looking for a new destination. Just recently, Hunter Johnson, a five-star quarterback from the 2017 class announced he would transfer out from the Clemson Tigers. Johnson, who was a top 30 prospect and the number 2 ranked quarterback, was going to sit behind current starter Kelly Bryant and future incumbent (and possible 2018 starter) Trevor Lawrence.
Johnson won’t transfer to the West Virginia Mountaineers, so all of you who love to beat the drum of “high school quarterbacks” can put the drumstick mallets down. That said, WVU currently features a former Florida Gators quarterback (Will Grier) and a former Miami Hurricanes quarterback (Jack Allison). In the recent past, they featured a former Florida State quarterback (Clint Trickett). Grier and Trickett both performed well and Grier has the chance to become a legend if he can lead the Mountaineers to a Big 12 title this season.
For Dana Holgorsen, his version of the Air Raid works best when he has a talented passer. The more talented the passer, the more creative he and Jake Spavital can be in their play calls. Getting that talent to come to Morgantown is the hard part.
Like it or not, West Virginia isn’t a blue-blood in college football. We aren’t Alabama, we aren’t Ohio State and we aren’t USC. The cream of the crop in the recruiting pool is rarely going to look at the Mountaineers when those teams are showing up with National Championship rings and history. The Mountaineers can talk about playing time and glitzy statistics but when you are an uber-talented 18-year old kid picking where to spend the next 3-5 years of your life, the shine of Nick Saban’s 1,000 rings can be too much to turn down.
For Dana and the Mountaineers, they have to pounce on the talent that chooses to leave those programs looking for a second chance. More and more, four and five star quarterbacks are quickly leaving programs where they may not get a chance to start and looking early for a fresh start. With the current transfer of Hunter Johnson, seven five-star quarterbacks from the 2015-2017 classes have transferred from their original school.
5 QBs from the 2015-2017 Recruiting Classes that have now transferred— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) May 21, 2018
⚪ Hunter Johnson
⚪ Jacob Eason
⚪ Shea Patterson
⚪ Malik Henry
⚪ Blake Barnett
⚪ Kyler Murray
⚪ Jarrett Stidham
Ian Boyd of SBNation recently wrote on the way the Mountaineers have approached the recruiting in a state that rarely produces a blue-chip prospect and has to defend the one or two players who qualify from a host of blue-blood programs like Ohio State and Penn State and similar type programs in Virginia Tech and Maryland and even Pitt.
That said, there’s always going to be the talented pocket-passer who isn’t a good fit for his new coach’s run game or who lost the job to a more dynamic playmaker. These guys can typically be more of a sure thing in West Virginia’s offense than a HS recruit. Why shouldn’t West Virginia market themselves as transfer QBU?
That is absolutely true. Why shouldn’t the Mountaineers take advantage of talented players looking for a second chance. The trend has been growing within college football and not just at the quarterback position, but for the Mountaineers, if TransferQBU is going to be your shtick, you should own it. If you win, it will all be ok.