Which Junior College transfer Quarterbacks have what it takes to produce at the next level? History tells us very few. Here are the top JC QB transfers for 2008.
Arkelon Hall (Memphis Tigers) RS Junior 6'1 220
Hall was an Elite 11 QB camp invite in 2004 and signed with Washington State out of high school. He couldn't cut it in the classroom up in Pullman and elected to play the 2007 season at College of the Sequoias (Calif.) where he had a solid season and signed with the University of Memphis.
The Situation: Memphis loses heralded QB Martin Hankins, who set several school records during his three-year tenure as the Tigers' signal caller. Hall's situation is favorable because the guy he was competing with in spring ball (Matt Malouf) has transferred. Hall's main competition now will be senior Will Hudgens who has played sparingly in his career.
The Verdict: When the Tigers travel to Oxford to play Ole Miss in late August Arkelon Hall will be starting at Quarterback. Expect a decent campaign from this well traveled and highly regarded kid from Fresno, Calif. I believe he has the tools to excel in the Tiger spread offense and will utilize the talent he has around him to win enough games and put up some pretty good numbers while doing so in this quarterback-friendly system.
Bold Prediction: Hall resurrects his college career while leading Memphis to a bowl game and earns second-team All Conference USA.
Kevin Craft (UCLA Bruins) RS Junior 6'5" 220
Craft's story is interesting. He also came highly regarded out of Valley Center High School in San Diego. He signed with San Diego State, where his dad Tom Craft, was the head coach.
The elder Craft was later fired and his son transferred to Mt. SAC Junior College in Pasadena, Calif., to garner some playing time where his dad ended up as OC.
Craft enjoyed a fantastic 2007 season at Mt. SAC, where he earned JC-All American honors while throwing for 35 touchdowns and leading Mt. SAC to the Cailifornia League Crown.
Craft chose UCLA over Hawaii and Miami (Ohio). The prospects of playing for Norm Chow proved to be the deciding factor for the laser-armed quarterback out of San Diego.
Spring Ball: Craft came to a UCLA club who already had quarterbacks Ben Olsen, Patrick Cowan, Osar Rashann and Chris Forcier. Before spring ball began, Craft was told by Norm Chow that he was competing for the backup job.
That all changed when Patrick Cowan suffered a career-ending knee injury and Ben Olsen injured his knee as well on the same day. Olsen is expected to be back by fall camp.
Cowan and Olsen's misfortunes became Craft's opportunity. He seized it and finished spring ball on a high note in the spring game while demonstrating a rocket arm UCLA has not seen since Cade McNown. Craft still has a lot of work to do this summer, but coaches say he is progressing rapidly and has all the physical tools needed to be a top-flight Pac 10 quarterback.
Chow has a proven track record with quarterbacks and don't be surprised if he takes Craft and UCLA to new heights in 2008 and beyond.
Bold Prediction Craft becomes the starter by Week 3 and throws for a ton of yards and 15 to 20 touchdowns during the season and comes off the bench in week 1 to lead an upset win over Tennessee at the Rose Bowl.
UCLA will be too young on defense and will end up in a low-tier bowl game, while Craft earns Honorable Mention all-Pac 10 in a QB-laden conference. After the season, UCLA fans will be talking about a potential National Championship run in 2009. That may be a bit far-fetched. Nonetheless, Kevin Craft will impress in the powder and gold this fall.
Other names to watch for
Dax Crum 6'1" 195 (Wyoming) Played JC ball for Scottsdale CC in Arizona where he led the nation in passing efficiency and yards. A pure passer who is very cerebral behind center. Enters an open competition with incumbent Karsten Sween.
Boo Jackson 6'1" 190 (Ohio) Like Kevin Craft, Jackson played JC ball in the highly competitive California League at powerhouse El Camino. He is a dual-threat guy who will add a spark to Ohio's offense immediately.
Tyson Lee 6'0" 210 (Mississippi State) After a stellar season at Itawamba CC in Mississippi, Lee decided to walk on at MSU, where he joins a muddled QB position with no clear-cut starter.
Lee is a strong kid who can spin the ball very well and is athletic enough to put some pressure on SEC defenses. Expect him to Redshirt even though he has the tools to play well this year (MSU would rather groom him and have him ready to roll in 2009).
David Pittman 5'10" 186 (Minnesota) Another dual threat QB/Athlete who could see time at WR, QB and RB for the Golden Gophers. Truly a special athlete who is a better passer than people think. Will take snaps at QB for the Golden Gophers this season but will not start. Comes from Pasadena City College. Originally from Georgia.
Greg Cross 6'2" 215 (Pittsburgh) Big strong-armed gunslinger who has impressed head Coach Dave Wannstedt with his leadership skills and toughness. All great Pitt Quarterbacks have been tough, from Marino all the way to Tyler Palko. Expect Cross to be the Panther QB by midseason. Played at Fort Scott CC in Kansas in 2007.
Chris Todd 6'2" 205 RS Junior (Auburn) Played at Texas Tech in 2005- 2006. Played JC ball at Hutchinson CC in Kansas, the same JC that former Nebraska QB Zac Taylor came from.
Situation Has a relationship that goes back to his high school days with AU offensive coordinator Tony Franklin when Franklin was a consultant for Todd's high school team in Kentucky. Franklin uses a spread offense that is foreign to Auburn football and different from Al Borges past Power I scheme. An elbow injury slowed Todd in spring ball but he was able to play in the spring game and be efficient in leading the offense down the field consistently and fitting balls into tight spots. Has the experience factor over fellow QB Kodi Burns who is more athletic than Todd. Simply put, Todd is a more refined passer than Burns and his skills will be used at Auburn this fall.
Prediction Auburn will use a two quarterback system and make it work for the most part. They will be in contention for the SEC west again and the offense will be much more exciting than it was last year with Todd flinging it around Jordan- Hare stadium.