Trendline: Free-agent world of college QBs

OREGON STATE HASN'T been affected in recent years as have other programs when it comes to QB transfers. But with the growing trend of QBs leaving their original school in search of playing time, a trend that's reached a fever pitch across college football, means it might not stay that way.

The esteemed sports website Grantland.com chronicles the movement in this lengthy but outstanding new article by Matt Hinton.

"The market for refugee quarterbacks is in full swing everywhere, facilitated both by the easing of NCAA transfer rules and the accelerated expectations of the quarterbacks themselves, who arrive on campus more prepared than ever to play right away and less willing to wait patiently for a turn that may never come," Hinton writes. "Not since the heyday of the 'tramp athlete' and semi-pro ringers whose services were retained by so many teams that they could barely keep their aliases straight has it been easier for players to move between schools, or have so many players taken advantage of the opportunity."

One of the best examples can be found in the Pacific Northwest. Jake Heaps out of Skyline High in Sammamish, Wash. was the No. 1-rated prep QB in the land in 2010. He started parts of two seasons at BYU before transferring to Kansas and then to Miami, where he threw all of 12 passes in 2014. Ironically, a lightly recruited QB also out of the state of Washington the same year as Heaps, a kid from Spokane named Connor Halliday, wound up shattering records in his five years at WSU.

In 2014, Hinton notes, 12 FBS teams — Auburn, Boston College, Cincinnati, Illinois, Louisiana Tech, NC State, Ole Miss, SMU, UMass, UTEP, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia — started a former transfer at QB in a majority of their games. And get this -- half of those quarterbacks had begun their careers as four- or five-star recruits.

Indeed, Hinton's research shows that of the 155 prep QBs rated four- or five-start prospects in the eight recruiting classes between 2006 and 2013, 63 out of the 155 transferred from their original school. In the 2010 class, 12 of the 16 top QB signees wound up leaving their original school.

This coming season, Hinton says, at least a dozen teams are considering starting a transfer quarterback, including heavy hitters Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, where vacancies have traditionally been filled by the next blue-chip recruit in the pipeline. The Ducks are poised to bring in FCS quarterback Vernon Adams out of Eastern Washington for a one-and-done stretch in 2015.

"The list of newly available talent will only grow in the coming months, with spring practice commencing, competitions beginning to sort themselves out, and the low men on the totem pole departing for greener pastures. Powerhouses with dim prospects behind center — see Florida State, LSU, and Texas — will be prime candidates to seek immediate help from graduate transfers this summer," Hinton writes.

Click here for the full story at Grantland.com.

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