Transfers to watch: quarterbacks, part 2

For every Ryan Mallett, there is a Mitch Mustain. Sometimes moving from one program to another, like Mallett did when he transferred to Arkansas from Michigan, can be the best thing to happen for a player’s career. Other times, like Mustain, who left Arkansas for the sunny skies of Los Angeles and USC, a player struggles to get onto the field in his new program. Today, in part two of the series, the National Football Post looks at some of the notable quarterback transfers who will be lining up under center in 2010 for a school they did not originally enroll in.

Quarterbacks

Cam Newton, Auburn: When Cam Newton arrived at Florida, it was expected that he would compete with John Brantley for the starting job in the post-Tim Tebow era. While he is still in the SEC, Newton will enter the summer atop the Auburn depth chart after beating out three other contenders during spring drills. Head coach Gene Chizik trusts the former five-star recruit and junior-college transfer to be the leader of Gus Malzahn’s offense, which should excite Tigers fans who were yearning for an offense that could consistently put points on the board. The 6-6, 247-pounder runs well in addition to possessing the ability to throw consistently at the SEC level, and it was clear from his play in spring drills that he’s the prototypical signal caller for the Tigers’ up-tempo spread offense. Last season at Blinn Community College in Brenham, Texas, he threw for 2,833 yards and 22 touchdowns while adding 655 rushing yards and 16 scores on the ground.

Stats at Florida:

2007: 5 completions in 10 attempts (50.0%) for 40 yards with 0 TDs and 0 INTs.
2008: 1 completion in 2 attempts (50.0%) for 14 yards with 0 TDs and 0 INTs.

Phil Bates, Ohio: Phil Bates is a veteran of the quarterback battle, so the Iowa State transfer should have no problem partaking in what should be one of the most underrated competitions in the country this fall at Ohio University. But after losing out to Austen Arnaud in 2008 and quitting the Cyclones’ team in search of a fresh start, will he suffer the same fate in Athens? Frank Solich’s Bobcats have the talent to contend again in the MAC East, so all eyes will be on the battle for the right to line up under center. Redshirt senior Boo Jackson has been sidelined while recovering from a shoulder injury that cost him most of the 2009 season, but he is expected to fully participate in fall drills. In his place this spring were Bates and sophomore Tyler Tettleton, who didn’t look great in the team’s spring game playing with the second unit. He finished 7-of-13 for 58 yards while missing some open receivers, but Solich noted that he had a good spring overall. Lining up with the first team, Bates completed 9-of-17 for 115 yards while adding 65 yards on seven carries. Jackson is the only one of the three who has significant experience with the Bobcats and will be chomping at the bit to reclaim his job. While the versatile Bates possesses nice speed and the ability to escape the pocket, Jackson started the final ten games of 2008 and became Ohio’s single-season leader for touchdown passes and total yards of offense. It will be a challenge for Bates in the fall, but he’s used to facing adversity in his career.

Stats at Iowa State:

2008: 11 completions in 24 attempts (45.8%) for 137 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT.

Matt Simms, Tennessee: With the transfer of senior Nick Stephens and the youthfulness of Tyler Bray, Matt Simms was the favorite to enter fall as the top dog for Tennessee, and that’s exactly what head coach Derek Dooley confirmed at the end of spring practice. While it’s his job to lose right now, the onetime Louisville Cardinal will still have to practice well enough to hold off Bray for the right to be under center for the Vols’ season opener against Tennessee-Martin. The junior-college transfer and son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms can make plays with his feet, often looking more comfortable this spring outside the pocket and making throws on the move. He admitted that he is a more mature person than the one who was suspended for four games during his only year at Louisville, and the hope is that he will be able to steady the quarterback position in Knoxville until Bray is ready for full-time duty.

Stats at Louisville:

2008: 4 completions in 10 attempts (40.0%) for 39 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT.

Dominique Davis, East Carolina: After much deliberation following the departure of former head coach Skip Holtz, Dominique Davis finally enrolled at East Carolina late last week. After missing all of spring practice, Davis is faced with a more difficult path to learning offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley’s “Air Raid” offense and being under center for the Pirates’ opener. The former part-time starter at Boston College who spent last season at Fort Scott Community College, Davis’ primary competition is freshman Shane Carden, who Riley recruited specifically for his system. The spread offense will be reminiscent of the one ran at Texas Tech for so many years under Mike Leach, who Riley learned under in Lubbock. Davis has struggled with his accuracy during his career, completing just 46 percent of his throws during his freshman year at BC and only 53 percent of his passes last season at Fort Scott. Accuracy wasn’t Carden’s strength either in 2009, as he completed only 52 percent of his throws as a senior at Houston's Episcopal High School. No matter who wins the competition in the fall, a completion percentage closer to 60 percent will be expected in this offense.

Stats at Boston College:

2008: 63 completions in 138 attempts (45.7%) for 741 yards with 6 TDs and 4 INTs.

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