Oklahoma redshirt sophomore quarterback Austin Kendall will transfer to West Virginia, according to Chris Anderson of 247Sports.
A 4-star pro-style quarterback out of Cuthbertson High School in Waxhaw, North Carolina, Kendall hasn't received much playing time behind Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. With Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts transferring to Oklahoma, chances are Kendall would have been the backup once again in 2019.
Kendall saw the field a bit as a freshman in 2016, completing 16 of 22 passes for two scores and 143 yards. He redshirted in 2017 before becoming Murray's backup in 2018 after losing a preseason camp battle for the starting role, but the North Carolina native completed 12 of 17 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Ryan Aber of the Oklahoman reported on Friday, January 11, that Kendall had entered the NCAA transfer portal. Quoting Aber, the portal "allows players to make their interest in transferring known and interested coaches to contact those players."
On Wednesday, Jake Trotter of ESPN.com reported that OU was blocking Kendall from immediate eligibility to West Virginia, any other Big 12 school and any school on OU's schedule over the next two years. However, George Schroeder of USA Today reported that OU changed course and lifted the block later in the day.
Kendall eventually decided to make the move, and he'll now be in line to start for West Virginia, who could be getting a steal.
Per Trevor Rogers of OU Insider, Kendall gave Murray a good challenge in the 2018 camp: "Kendall pushed Murray. There were multiple reports that there was little separating the two during camp. Both were seeing equal reps, and both reportedly one-upped each other on a regular basis."
Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley also praised Kendall at the end of the season, per Jason Kersey of The Athletic:
"I mean, he’s done a dang good job as the backup this year. I think he’s really grown in a lot of ways. He and Kyler had a hell of a battle. I mean, I think he’ll take some confidence from that—he was right there in a neck-and-neck battle with the guy who ended up winning the Heisman Trophy. I think he’s invested, and he’s got a pretty good situation."
However, with Hurts almost certainly becoming the OU starter, Kendall is making the move to play for the Mountaineers. He replaces ex-WVU signal-caller Will Grier, who exhausted his NCAA eligibility and declared for the NFL draft. Kendall will have big shoes to fill, as Grier tossed 71 touchdown passes in two seasons for the Mountaineers.
Kendall will find some competition for the starting gig from Jack Allison, who was Grier's backup and completed 23 passes of 45 attempts for 352 yards, one touchdown and two picks in limited duty. A 4-star pro-style quarterback out of Palmetto, Florida, Allison was ranked as the class of 2017's eighth-best player at his position and the No. 176 prospect in the country by 247Sports' composite.
West Virginia is now under the command of first-year head coach Neal Brown, who took over for Dana Holgorsen after the latter coach left for the University of Houston. The 38-year-old Brown had a 35-16 record at Troy and led the Trojans to three bowl wins in four seasons.
WVU is losing some top talent, though, including leading receivers David Sills V and Gary Jennings Jr. Leading rusher Kennedy McCoy should be back, as will No. 3 wideout Marcus Simms, who hauled in 46 passes for 699 yards.
WVU opens its 2019 slate on August 31 against Division I-FCS James Madison.