Former Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb is looking to join a number of college signal callers in the Second Chance Club, and he could become the second such quarterback from the Big 12 to take a stab at leading an SEC team in 2016.
They’re called graduate transfers, and more and more they’re becoming the new one-and-done of college athletics. These are players who have graduated and still have a year of eligibility to exhaust. They typically never attained a starting job or, in the case of Webb, lost their starting job, and see an opportunity to start elsewhere.
Because these players have already graduated, the NCAA permits them to transfer and enroll in graduate school — and play right away. Undergraduates who opt to transfer must sit out a year before resuming eligibility.
When Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight lost his starting job to Baker Mayfield before the 2015 season, he decided he would transfer upon graduating. He arrived at Texas A&M in January for one last shot to again be a starting quarterback. After a strong showing in A&M’s spring game last week, Knight, stepping through the door opened by the transfers of Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray, appears to be on his way to cashing in on his decision to use an NCAA rule that has become increasingly controversial.
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Webb, who played at Prosper and Keller in high school, hopes to do the same. In January, he committed to Colorado, where the quarterback situation is murky, but he recently visited Cal, which seeks a replacement for NFL-bound Jared Goff. Webb also plans to visit Auburn soon, according to a report by ESPN.com.
Quarterback play throughout the SEC last season left plenty to be desired, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to put Auburn at the top of the list as last year’s most dysfunctional at the position.
After Auburn’s spring game Saturday, Tigers coach Gus Malzahn would be crazy to be anything but thrilled to welcome Davis. Auburn has an ongoing three-way battle for the starting job. The play of senior Jeremy Johnson, who was awful last season and lost his job, sophomore Sean White, who hasn’t been able to take hold of the job, and junior college transfer John Franklin III, who is fast but has work to do as a passer, have left plenty to be desired.
Webb started off and on for Texas Tech. In 18 games as a freshman and sophomore, Webb, who is expected to graduate from Tech in May, threw for more than 5,200 yards with a completion percentage better than 60, plus 44 touchdowns with 22 interceptions. But he lost his job to Patrick Mahomes before last season and had just 41 pass attempts in 2015.
While the SEC remains the dominant conference in college football, it has yet to universally adopt the up-tempo, spread passing attacks that dominate the Big 12. Where Knight and Webb were passed over at their original schools, both might be the one-and-done hope at two SEC schools with fan bases desperate to see their teams contend in the cutthroat West division.
Knight is in position to make it happen at A&M. And Webb’s interest in Auburn might be much more than a passing fancy.