The quarterback situations at Texas A&M and TCU just got more complicated. Or did they get less complicated?
Texas A&M quarterback Matt Joeckel, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business in December, announced Wednesday morning that he will transfer to another school for his final season of eligibility. Then just before noon, TCU quarterback Tyler Matthews announced via Twitter that he is leaving the school.
TCU confirmed that Matthews, a 2012 four-star recruit from McPherson, Kan., is transferring.
Neither has said where he is headed, but a source close to the TCU program said Joeckel plans on transferring to TCU.
Both TCU and SMU are replacing starting quarterbacks, and either school could be considered a landing spot for Joeckel, whose sister played volleyball at TCU. SMU plays A&M in 2014, so there’s the possibility the Aggies could reject a move by Joeckel to play for the Mustangs.
Joeckel, a fifth-year senior from Arlington High School, would have one year of eligibility remaining at his new school and is eligible immediately. Joeckel offered no indication about his future destination in a statement issued by school officials announcing his decision.
In an interview with the Star-Telegram last season, Joeckel said he “definitely would want an opportunity to play for a college team or be a starter” if he chose to leave A&M.
With Matthews leaving, TCU’s quarterback situation appears ripe for an addition such as Joeckel (6-foot-4, 234 pounds), who spent the past two seasons as the primary backup to Johnny Manziel.
He made his lone career start in the 2013 opener when Manziel served an NCAA suspension in the first half of that contest. A&M defeated Rice 52-31 with Joeckel completing 14 of 19 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. Joeckel played in the first half and turned things over to Manziel in the third quarter with A&M holding a 28-21 lead.
Joeckel, twin brother of Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, threw for 3,145 yards and 40 touchdowns, with only six interceptions, in his senior season at Arlington, when he was named the district’s 2009 offensive player of the year.
Matthews was once thought to be the heir apparent to the likes of Andy Dalton and Casey Pachall. He redshirted his freshman season in 2012 and watched as Trevone Boykin was forced into the starting role when Pachall left the team after four games.
In 2013, Pachall returned as the starter before an injury in the second game kept him off the field for the next five games. Boykin again started for the Horned Frogs while Matthews mostly watched from the sidelines. Matthews had one pass attempt in each of three games in 2013, all incomplete, and played sparingly in four games total.
“Thankful for the opportunity I was given here at TCU, excited to see where this next chapter takes me!” Matthews said on Twitter.
During TCU’s spring practice, coach Gary Patterson said Boykin remained the team’s starting quarterback. Matthews was unable to make a dent in the depth chart and perhaps saw the upcoming inclusions of highly recruited freshmen Foster Sawyer and Grayson Muehlstein as writing on the wall.
TCU installed an uptempo offense this spring with new co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie. Patterson has repeatedly said he’s not opposed to starting a freshman quarterback in 2014.
If Joeckel isn’t the answer for TCU, then the prospect of the Frogs turning to a true freshman seems more and more likely. Boykin was used effectively as a receiver when Pachall was available in 2013, leading the team with 11 receptions for 100 yards against West Virginia. As a quarterback he threw seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in five starts as the Frogs went 2-3.
In a statement, Joeckel praised his experience at A&M and his relationships with coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital.
“I have loved my four and a half years at Texas A&M. I am glad I had the opportunity to play for Coach Sumlin, Coach Spavital and the rest of the coaches,” Joeckel said. “I am proud to have my degree from the Mays Business School and I’ll always consider myself a member of the Aggie family.”
Joeckel’s decision eliminates one candidate in the race to replace Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner. The Aggies’ top options heading into fall drills will be Kenny Hill, a sophomore from Southlake Carroll, and Kyle Allen, a freshman from Scottsdale, Ariz., who enrolled in January and took part in spring drills.
There is no specific timetable for either to announce where they’re transferring. Dave Joeckel, Matt’s father, said his son would not comment until he made a decision.
Matt Joeckel’s older sister, Sarah, played volleyball at TCU from 2008-11.
“Sarah loved it,” Dave Joeckel said. “TCU has been great to our family.”