2014 College Football Committed Recruits Who Will Force Transfers
College football recruits end up transferring for a number of reasons. But lack of playing time is primary among them.
If a player sees that his school has recruited a highly regarded player at his position, he may decide to seek a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere.
The 2014 class has several prospects who could either transfer or force a member of the 2013 class to do the same.
An SEC program has several recruits in its class who are threats to incumbents at their position. A Big Ten school may have a logjam at linebacker, and the emergence of a 2013 signee may cause a 2014 commit to eventually leave the program.
Michael O'Connor, QB
Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien made a name for himself as on offensive skill-position coach in the NFL, finally ascending to offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.
O'Brien's NFL experience, notably his work with quarterback Tom Brady, is attractive to young passers. In 2013, he got commitments from quarterbacks Christian Hackenberg and Tyler Ferguson. The pair are going to battle for the starting job in training camp, and Hackenberg probably will win.
With Hackenberg being a true freshman, he will be the starter in Happy Valley for at least three seasons. Michael O'Connor is one of the better 2014 quarterback prospects, but with Hackenberg entrenched as the starter, expect O'Connor to transfer.
Shaun Hamilton and Zach Whitley, LBs
Shaun Hamilton is one the best linebackers in the 2014 class. He's an impressive inside 'backer prospect with great power, explosive short-area quickness and thumping ability.
Zach Whitley is a tough linebacker with solid speed and tackling ability. The pair are committed to Alabama, and they are superior prospects to 2013 signee Walker Jones.
Jones will never transfer from Alabama, as he loves the program too much. But if he were another player, he would be a candidate to transfer when Hamilton and Whitley arrive.
Caleb Henderson, QB
Larry Fedora is an offensive coach at heart, so look for him to stockpile offensive talent at North Carolina. With the quarterback position being so vital, look for Fedora to focus on signing exceptional talent especially at that position.
He has a commitment from Caleb Henderson, who has great arm strength, instincts and athleticism. Henderson is an impressive prospect, but Fedora signed Mitch Trubisky in 2013.
A quarterback battle could be in store in Chapel Hill, and the loser could bolt out of town.
Bo Scarbrough, RB
Bo Scarbrough is listed as an athlete due to his ability to play several snaps at receiver each game. But make no mistake, his top position is running back.
Scarbrough, who is 6'2" and 225 pounds, has the talent to play as a true freshman at Alabama, but it may not be possible, as the Tide signed a quartet of fabulous running back prospects in 2013.
That will make five running backs, plus T.J. Yeldon is entrenched as the starter and Dee Hart belongs at running back. Out of the five young running backs, one or two may have to transfer to get their shot at being a lead back in college.
Jerrod Heard, QB
Jerrod Heard is a solid dual-threat quarterback prospect who would be a good fit in a spread-option offense. The 6'2.5", 190-pounder has good arm strength, solid ball-placement skills and makes good decisions.
Connor Brewer, a 2012 Texas signee, is transferring from Austin. The Longhorns like the change of pace 2013 signee Tyrone Swoopes provides at quarterback, plus David Ash is expected to make a big jump as the starter.
If Swoopes continues to develop and gets his feet wet in 2013, he will be ready to take over for Ash sooner than expected. By the time Heard arrives at Texas, he may have no shot at early playing time, which may not sit well with him.
Dante Booker, OLB
An athletic linebacker, Dante Booker is a 6'3", 212-pounder who has every-down potential. He is a similar linebacker to current Buckeyes defender Ryan Shazier.
Booker has good movement skills, can buzz back into zone coverage as well as latch on to tight ends and running backs in man coverage. He's better against the pass than 2013 signee Trey Johnson, and he is a better overall player than Christopher Worley.
Ohio State also has two additional outside linebacker commitments in 2014. With five players vying for two spots, chances are one who doesn't begin to see playing time early in his career will transfer.
David Cornwell, QB
Alabama was once the graveyard for elite quarterback prospects, but Nick Saban's program has gotten two exceptional passers in consecutive recruiting cycles.
Cooper Bateman signed with 'Bama in 2012, and he has tremendous arm talent. Bateman can rifle the football with ease, attack all levels of the defense and flashes great straight-line speed.
Alabama also will have young quarterbacks Parker McLeod, Luke Del Rio and Alec Morris on its roster.
That is four solid quarterbacks, plus Alabama has a commitment from 2014 field general David Cornwell, who is an excellent prospect.
With five quarterbacks competing to replace AJ McCarron in 2014, there can only be one winner. Expect two players from this group to eventually transfer.