A Long Road Home for Nichol

Keith Nichol's career took a meander south and west, but he's back as the newest member of the Spartan family, ready to and compete for an open position after next season.

It took a little detour to Norman, Okla., but the journey of Keith Nichol wound back to East Lansing where his heart belongs.

The Grand Rapids Press is reporting Maxwell, a former Lowell High School (2007) four-star quarterback who decommitted from the Spartans to head to Oklahoma after the firing of former coach John L. Smith and subsequent hiring of Mark Dantonio, has decided to transfer to Michigan State.

GSN is attempting to reach Nichol for comment, but calls have not been immediately returned.

With the addition of Nichol, a self-reported lifelong Spartan fan, Michigan State will boast three quality sophomore quarterbacks on its roster next year. Nick Foles and Kirk Cousins have been in a veritable dead heat for the number two slot behind senior QB Brian Hoyer.

Although Nichol will be required to sit out a season's worth of games because of his transfer, he will be on the roster and active in practices much like Trevor Anderson (a Cincinnati transfer) was one year ago. He will use the year as a redshirt and enter the 2009 season competing for the open position after Hoyer's graduation.

The parents of Cousins and Foles have gone on record in recent days as saying their sons will welcome the added competition of Nichol. Both refuted the idea of their sons transferring.

Connor Dixon, the fourth option at MSU last season, has left the school and is transferring.

The question going forward: Will someone else follow Dixon's path?

With Nichol, the Spartans, will have three sophomores competing for the starting job in 2009. Rarely are that many scholarships tied up at quarterback in one class.

Developing depth becomes a challenge with three quarterbacks in one class. Awarding any more QB scholarships before the graduation of the trio, with Andrew Maxwell accounting for a fourth starting next season, becomes difficult. It's hard to attract top-flight talent into a crowded field where, ideally, only one guy gets playing time. When 2012 rolls around the headline of the preseason may well be 'Maxwell Better Not Get Hurt.'

But even without a transfer, MSU's QB future appears secure.

If no one leaves, a three-deep depth chart would allow the Spartans to redshirt Maxwell, a 2009 verbal commit who is making waves as a premier passer.

In one scenario, Maxwell spends three seasons learning to master the offense from a group of tested veterans before he's needed to grab the reigns in 2012. For Spartan fans, that's pretty good living.

But such a scenario would change dramatically with the transfer of Foles or Cousins, major injuries or many other variables unforeseen without an operating crystal ball. Stay tuned to GSN for the latest on this evolving story.

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