Foles Shouldn't Be Deterred By Nichol

One would hope that a player who threw for 3,266 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior in high school would have confidence in his ability to rise above the challenge of any player MSU could recruit - including Keith Nichol.

DETROIT - Nick Foles isn't gone, at least not yet.

But no matter how you slice it, the move by Keith Nichol to commit to Michigan State is a good one for the program.

MSU head coach Mark Dantonio believes that Nichol can help the program and laid out the case today to the media, for adding him to the 2008 recruiting class.

With the transfer of the only other quarterback on the roster to take a snap in 2007, Connor Dixon out of the program, MSU had a depth issue for 2009.

By that time, fifth year senior Brian Hoyer would be graduated from the program leaving just Kirk Cousins and Midland (MI) high school quarterback Andrew Maxwell, who verbally committed to the Spartans, on the roster.

That's because quarterback Nick Foles of Austin, TX has asked Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio for his release via phone, but hasn't received it yet.

There is the chance that Foles, after meeting with Dantonio, could change his mind and stay at Michigan State. If released, the speculation is that Foles will wind up at Southern Methodist under new head coach June Jones, but wouldn't be eligible to play, like Nichol, until 2009.

"In the end," said Dantonio, "you have four quarterbacks on scholarship. I looked at the situation, with Connor (Dixon) leaving and we would have two guys, going into the spring of '09, competing for a position and I didn't think that was enough."

"With the prospect of one guy possibily getting hurt or something of that nature, I thought it was the best fit for the program so we made the decision to do that," he said.

However, the move could have unintended consequences if Foles does indeed leave. That would leave MSU with only two quarterbacks for the fall, a situation that would likely mean taking a stopgap junior college transfer at the position.

Dantonio said he spoke to all his quarterbacks - including Foles - before taking an official visit from Nichol, which led to his commitment yesterday.

Foles, who was hampered by injuries during spring ball had indicated he was fine and would compete for the starting position.

Whether he goes or stays, it's clear that after watching tape of Nichol, Dantonio views him as an improvement, in some ways, over what he currently has on the roster and does not view him simply as 'just another arm'.

While some are questioning the loyalties involved in the decision-making process, Dantonio has to be pragmatic and make improvements to the roster whenever he can.

Foles, for his part, had committed to Arizona State and then de-committed after Dennis Erickson took another quarterback in his class. If he does indeed transfer, there are no guarantees that any program he's considering, won't have three competiting quarterbacks on that roster. What if he hadn't won the starting job in the fall of 2009? Would he have elected to transfer then?

At some point, Foles will have to realize that there are no guarantees on the football field and that competition is a fact of life. What difference does it make if there are ten quarterbacks on the roster if you are the top dog?

Despite the fact that Cousins had improved rapidly and appeared to outperform Foles in the spring, one would think that a competitor who threw for 3,266 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior in high school would rationalize that he was hurt and once healthy would be able to prove that he was the better player.

Foles hadn't even dropped on the depth chart and when spring ball ended, he was at least on equal ground with Cousins and ahead of Dixon, who had the staff had talked about moving to wide receiver.

Dantonio took great pains to call all the quarterbacks under scholarship, including Foles as "proven winners."

Now the question is will Foles prove that he really is a winner by staying and battling for the job?

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