Pitt Panthers Football: QB Tom Savage Faces Make or Break Year

Mark BatorAnalyst IIMarch 20, 2013

As a true freshman, Savage threw for 2,211 yards and 14 TDs.
As a true freshman, Savage threw for 2,211 yards and 14 TDs.Elsa/Getty Images

The clock is officially ticking.

Since his departure from Rutgers, his transfer to Arizona and the brief possibility that he would re-join the Scarlet Knights, QB Tom Savage has finally gotten back on the practice field at the University of Pittsburgh after a strange two-year journey. For young Mr. Savage, it is a brave new world.

After an outstanding first year (where he was named Freshman All-American), Savage slipped in his sophomore year. Often inserted into impossible third-and-longs, defenses teed off on Savage in obvious passing situations. Injury soon followed, and suddenly Savage was benched in favor of Chas Dodd.

After a public falling out with former head coach Greg Schiano, Savage transferred to Arizona, prompting the Rutgers coach to issue an 11-word statement after his 5-star recruit chose to leave the University: "We wish Tom and Casey (Turner, who transferred to Florida A&M) the best in their future endeavors" (as reported by John Taylor of NBC Sports).

But before he ever set foot on the field at Arizona, the coach whom he believed he was going to play for (Mike Stoops) was gone, replaced by Rich Rodriguez. Before the season commenced, Savage decided to transfer again. While it was speculated that he was leaving due to the change in regimes, the young QB took the high road. 

"This is a personal decision about my family," Savage said (as reported by Tom Liucci of The Star-Ledger) in a statement, "and was not influenced by Coach Rodriguez or his style of play."

Now—with what is arguably the last chance to salvage his college career and have pro scouts notice him—the Pennsylvania native has begun spring practice to battle for the starting job on the Pitt Panthers. "It feels great," Savage said (as quoted by Chip Patterson on CBSSports.com). "My motor's rolling right now."


For his career, Savage is 192-of-368 for 2,732 yards and 16 touchdowns. In his only postseason appearance, Savage led Rutgers to a 45-24 victory over UCF in the 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl.

With Tino Sunseri graduating, the main QB competition for Savage is expected to come from Chad Voytik (a 4-star 2012 prospect) and TraVon Chapman (a 4-star 2013 prospect). Once, it seemed that Savage had four years to establish his football resumé with the NFL scouts, but now the candle on his college career has burned short. Perhaps no other player in the ACC faces a 2013 season that potentially has such monumental consequences on his future.

There are only five months before the final leg of Savage's collegiate journey begins. The Panthers open the 2013 season by hosting Florida State on Sept. 2. Fans of college football will be able to witness his metamorphosis, as the game will be being carried on television nationally by ESPN.

Fans can follow Savage on his Twitter account (TSavage7).