QB grad transfers – the free agency of college football. The quintessential success story of Russell Wilson comes to mind. He was the face of NC State football – a dual athlete who could play in the NFL or MLB. A freak prospect in two sports and an upstanding young man. A player that could – and would – make an immediate impact for one season.
Admittedly, on September 16, 2010, he threw for 330 yards and 3 TDs, leading to a n NC State win over our beloved Bearcats. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in hand, after the 2010 season, he and his then girlfriend decided to transfer under the grad transfer rule. Mr. Wilson would be immediately eligible to start the following season, and everyone in the country wanted him. He ultimately chose Wisconsin.
The rest is history. Regardless of any recruiting class flaws or failures, Russell Wilson would plug those leaks. Russell led the Badgers to an 11-win season, a Rose Bowl birth, and a final season ranking of #10 in 2011. Wisconsin won the free agency contest and could not have asked for a more immediate impact player.
Mr. Wilson would then go onto earn millions of dollars in the NFL, win a Super Bowl, and marry Future’s baby momma and super model, Ciara.
But don’t be fooled – not all grad transfers are created equal. Does Tanner Lee ring a bell? Didn’t think so.
Luke Fickell was very well-liked in Columbus. He still has deep roots and relationships with a number of players. You may remember last year when former 5-star QB Torrance Gibson made the transition to Clifton. Unfortunately, he flamed out and what could have been never came to fruition in 2017.
This brings us to the case of Joe Burrow. A pro-style quarterback at Ohio State, Mr. Burrow was a 4-star prospect out of high school in 2015. Joe was the 8th-ranked dual-threat QB in his class. He was also recruited to OSU by genius quarterback all-world guru Tom Herman.
He threw just 11 passes last year. However, don’t be fooled, this latest grad transfer is armed with talent. At 6’3” and 215 lbs., Burrow is a physical specimen. And who can blame him for transferring and possibly starting immediately? As a redshirt junior, he has two years of eligibility left.
LSU, Florida, Nebraska – and yes – Cincinnati are the rumored likely destinations for this free agency candidate. In fact, Burrow visited Clifton on Thursday this week.
• Established Relationship – His relationship with head coach Luke Fickell.
• Convenience and Family – He grew up in Ohio and played college ball just up I-71 in Columbus. His father is the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Ohio University.
• Need and Likely Chance to Start – Quite frankly, UC is in desperate need for a talented QB to put the team on his back. Oh, wow we desperately miss Tony Pike, Zach Collaros, and Brendon Kay.
• Twitter and the Experts – Bruce Feldman and The Audible podcast predict UC is a strong contender. I also noticed this week, the ubiquitous Dan Hoard started following Joe Burrow on Twitter.
So, what do you think? Will Joe Burrow land in Nippert Stadium this year? We sure hope so.
By Andy Smith
Thanks for reading along! If you’re not familiar with the Bearcats Sports Radio story, beyond creating sports-related content, I am a Dad, Attorney with Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP, and a lover of all things University of Cincinnati (and America). If you ever want to connect, shoot me a DM on Twitter.