Tyler Ferguson entered his first training camp at Penn State with an opportunity to claim the starting quarterback job. The California product is leaving Happy Valley less than four months after losing the competition to freshman Christian Hackenberg, according to 247Sports writer Sean Fitz.
He was granted his release from the university and will transfer following the fall semester. Ferguson, a 6'3", 213-pound passer threw for 155 yards and a touchdown in five appearances this season.
Hackenberg gained a stranglehold on the Nittany Lions' quarterback position for years to come after a sensational 2013 campaign. He wrapped up the season with 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns en route to Big Ten Conference freshman of the year honors.
Ferguson opted to forgo life as Hackenberg's backup and will seek opportunities elsewhere. Penn State will welcome 4-star quarterback prospect Michael O'Connor onto campus next month.
Ferguson, who turns 20 on Jan. 7, fielded several offers after an outstanding 2012 season at the College of the Sequoias (Visalia, Calif.). He set a school record for passing yards (2,614) and was ranked the nation's No. 2 JUCO quarterback recruit.
It remains unclear if there are any restrictions to his transfer, including the ability to join a program within the Big Ten. Ferguson hasn't used his redshirt season so the quarterback will have two years of eligibility remaining after a one-year hiatus if his transfer takes him to another FBS program.
Now that Ferguson is in search of a fresh start, let's take a look at five possible destinations.
The Scarlet Knights recently benched junior quarterback Gary Nova, who fell out of favor after nearly three full seasons as starter. He was replaced by senior Chas Dodd so there isn't an apparent quarterback of the future currently on Rutgers' roster.
Coach Kyle Flood is still in search of a passer for his 2014 recruiting class. 3-star prospect Tyler Wiegers decommitted from the program in November.
Rutgers joins the Big Ten next year and opens its inaugural season against Penn State. Based on the current state of the Scarlet Knights' quarterback position there's no reason to think Ferguson couldn't compete for the starting role in 2015.
FAU is viewed as a program on the rise but abruptly reached crossroads upon the firing of head coach Carl Pelini. The Owls present an intriguing opportunity for Ferguson to compete for a starting role in his first season.
Starter Jaquez Johnson will be a junior next year, while freshman Greg Hankerson has played sparingly. FAU holds a commitment from 3-star quarterback recruit Jason Driskel.
The Owls offered Ferguson a scholarship during the 2013 recruiting cycle. There's a chance FAU revisits the idea of bringing him into the fold.
The Cornhuskers are another Big Ten program that could use an infusion of talent at quarterback. Redshirt senior Taylor Martinez is on his way out after a long stay in Lincoln, along with current contributor Ron Kellogg.
Redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong has endured ups and downs during his first season on the field. Johnny Stanton, a 4-star member of the team's 2013 class, suffered a torn ACL during his final high school season.
Zack Darlington, a 3-star commit in the 2014 class, is on track to join Nebraska next season but has a troubling history of head injuries. If Nebraska opens the door for Ferguson, it's an opportunity worth exploring.
Senior starter Garrett Gilbert spent two seasons under center in Dallas after transferring from Texas. He is set to depart and SMU has limited experience on the depth chart.
Redshirt freshman Neal Burcham is likely the next man up. The Mustangs currently hold a commitment from 3-star prospect Bear Fenimore.
Ferguson may be looking to play closer to home. SMU is a sensible option that bring him back toward the west coast.
The Tigers say goodbye to senior quarterback James Franklin after this season. Though Missouri is grooming an admirable understudy in redshirt freshman Maty Mauk, the program should be in search for other options if only for depth.
Redshirt sophomore Corbin Berkstresser saw time in 2012 but lost the competition to start this season. He may be a candidate for potential transfer himself.
The Tigers do not yet have a quarterback commit in the 2014 class. It wouldn't be an easy road to a starting role but Ferguson could enter the fray in Columbia.