Rutgers Football: Fans Get Closure as Tom Savage Enrolls at Pittsburgh

Mark BatorAnalyst IIJune 26, 2012

Pennsylvania native Tom Savage has found a new home at the University of Pittsburgh.
Pennsylvania native Tom Savage has found a new home at the University of Pittsburgh.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

"Moving to Pittsburgh tomorrow... Nervous and excited... next chapter in my life,"—Tom Savage on his Twitter account [via].

Alumni and fans who were still holding out the slimmest hopes that Tom Savage would return to claim the starting job as Rutgers' quarterback can now let go of that pipe dream.

The highest-rated QB recruit Rutgers ever landed has now indicated that he will be making his new home at the University of Pittsburgh.

 A Freshman All-American in 2009 with the Scarlet Knights, Savage had thrown for more yards (2,211) as a true freshman than any other quarterback in Big East history. The team finished 9-4-0, and went on to a postseason victory in the St. Petersburg Bowl.

In 2010, then-coach Greg Schiano decided to employ a heavy dose of the "wildcat," which often put the offense in difficult third-and-long situations that allowed opposing defenses to unleash a heavy pass rush and blanket coverages.

As a result, Savage's numbers suffered, and injury soon followed.

Often, Schiano's wildcat would revolve around direct snaps to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who carried the ball 59 times that season.

The team's record plummeted to 4-8-0 in 2010 when Chase Dodd took over the quarterback position in relief of Savage.

Sanu—when free of those wildcat responsibilities in 2011—would go on to set the Big East career (210) and single-season (115) reception records.

Following that 2010 season, Savage looked to transfer out of Rutgers. The situation soon became messy amid allegations of Schiano allegedly blocking the young quarterback from speaking with Florida, FSU, Michigan and Miami (Fla.), according to Erick Smith of USA Today.

Finding a landing spot in Arizona, Savage transferred and was forced to sit out the 2011 season. Then, before he set foot on the field for a single play, a head coaching change came to the university.

While Savage denied that his decision to again transfer from Arizona had anything to do with new head coach Rich Rodriguez, he did so knowing full well that he would possibly again be forced to sit out another year due to the change.

“This is a personal decision about my family and was not influenced by Coach Rodriguez or his style of play,” explained Savage at the time of his bombshell announcement in December, 2011.

Savage filed a hardship waiver with the NCAA to re-enroll at Rutgers and become immediately eligible for the 2012 season. If accepted, it would have given Savage two years of eligibility at Rutgers under new coach Kyle Flood.

With the uncertainty of the current Dodd-Nova quarterback situation, the likelihood that Savage could return and conceivably win the starting job seemed a real possibility.

That situation would never get the chance to play out, as the NCAA denied Savage's appeal and he was forced to again sit out this upcoming season.

The Big East has a rule that states that players cannot transfer from one league school to another within the conference, which could pose a problem for Savage if Pittsburgh is unable to leave for the ACC after this season.

Assuming that the Panthers do depart the Big East, Savage would be available for his final year of eligibility in 2013 in time to compete for the starting quarterback job against four-star recruit Chad Voytik.

The 2013 Scarlet Knights' schedule is not yet complete, but should it include a game against the Pittsburgh Panthers, it would be a date to circle on the calendar.