Texas Tech quarterback Michael Brewer surprised just about everyone when he announced on Wednesday that he would transfer following the spring semester.
Brewer was presumed to be the starting quarterback before the season, but a back injury left him sidelined for most of the year. He finishes his career with 440 yards passing and five touchdowns in 13 games as a backup.
Brewer will not participate in spring practices, but will stay on scholarship as he works toward graduating in May. That will likely leave the Red Raiders, barring an unforeseen addition, with one scholarship quarterback: Davis Webb.
Of course, that's hardly Brewer's problem now. His next goal will be finding a place to play.
Because Brewer, a redshirt sophomore, will leave Tech as a graduate, he can play right away for his new school and have two years of eligibility remaining. However, Big 12 rules prevent him from immediately transferring within the conference, school officials told Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Texas Tech could waive that restriction if it wanted, but that seems unlikely.
So chances are Brewer will look outside the Big 12 for his new destination. Here are five possible landing spots for him.
Clemson's quarterback depth is solid, so the Tigers aren't necessarily in need of a quarterback.
Cole Stoudt and Chad Kelly are expected to compete for the opportunity to succeed Tajh Boyd. Additionally, Clemson has signed 4-star dual-threat quarterback Deshaun Watson, who enrolled early. It's certainly possible that Watson practices himself into the mix as well.
But Brewer will have a connection to the Tigers through offensive coordinator Chad Morris. Morris was Brewer's coach at Lake Travis High School in 2008-09. Brewer would be able to join the team with knowledge of the offense.
That kind of familiarity may just be enough to pique the interest of both sides now that Brewer is basically a "free agent."
SMU also would have been an interesting landing spot for former Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield, but he chose to transfer to Oklahoma. (Good luck with that.)
Similarly, it wouldn't be a bad place for Brewer to end up.
There are loose connections with Brewer to the Mustangs as well. Hal Mumme, the team's passing game coordinator, is the father of the Air Raid, of which Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury is a disciple.
Additionally, former Lake Travis and Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert just finished his career with the Mustangs. That means SMU will start a new quarterback in '14.
Brewer can stay in the state of Texas and have an opportunity to compete for a starting job. Since SMU does not appear on any of Tech's future non-conference schedules, there shouldn't be an issue.
Arkansas State will basically be starting over with a new head coach (Blake Anderson) for the fourth year in a row. On top of that, senior Adam Kennedy is departing.
The Red Wolves will be looking to go in a new direction at quarterback and Anderson is a disciple of Larry Fedora's spread offense at North Carolina and Southern Miss.
Arkansas State is loaded at quarterback, but only junior Fredi Knighten has taken meaningful snaps. With Brewer having some game experience, he could enter the quarterback competition with a leg up.
With a new coach coming in, it's possible not every quarterback that's on the roster now will be by the time fall camp rolls around.
As you've probably guessed by now, most of Brewer's potential landing spots have one thing in common: connections.
Brewer certainly has one with Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown.
Brown was the offensive coordinator and Brewer's position coach at Texas Tech in 2011-12 before taking the same job with the Wildcats.
Kentucky is young at quarterback, and Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow saw meaningful snaps last year. Whether Brewer could get a starting job would be interesting.
However, Smith and Whitlow have had health issues. Whitlow sprained an ankle in a loss to Alabama; Smith will be out for spring practice as he recovers from shoulder surgery, according to Jennifer Smith of the Lexington Herald-Ledger.
Blake Bortles took practically all the snaps for UCF in 2013—and now he's NFL-bound as a potential first-round draft pick.
If UCF wants to keep its momentum going after its Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor, it may need to add another quarterback.
The Knights enter 2014 a little thin at that position and quarterback-turned-wide receiver Jeff Godfrey is graduating. Freshman Justin Holman saw some limited backup reps after Tyler Gabbert left the program last September. There's also redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo and early enrollee Tyler Harris.
There's no guarantee that Brewer would start for the Knights, but he would have a good opportunity to come in with a little bit of experience.
It could be an interesting marriage.