The free-agent world of college quarterbacks

THREE FORMER Washington State quarterbacks with be suiting up for other schools this fall -- Austin Apodaca at New Mexico, Cody Clements at South Alabama (by way of UAB) and Tyler Bruggman at Scottsdale CC (by way of Louisville). That trend is not unique to WSU. The phenomenon of QBs leaving their original school in search of playing time has reached a fever pitch across college football.

And the esteemed sports website 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 is a local one. Jake Heaps out of Skyline High in Sammamish 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 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 Washington State.

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-star prospects in the eight recruiting classes between 2006 and 2013, a whopping 63 of them transferred from their original school. The 2010 class was the most glaring, with 12 of the 16 top QB signees 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 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.

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