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FSU, Florida look to transfer quarterbacks

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What they want is a ready-made quarterback.

What they want is someone to win now.

Perhaps that is why both Florida State University and the University of Florida have decided to forego their usual plan of growing their own quarterbacks. Perhaps that is why both programs are interested in buying used.

Anymore, it’s a trend in college football, to find a one-year transfer who can help a program get over the hump. That’s why FSU has imported former Notre Dame passer Everett Golson, who was 17-6 as a starter for the Irish. Perhaps that is why the Gators are willing to take on Luke Del Rio, the former Oregon State passer, not to mention part-time quarterback Josh Grady from Vanderbilt.

These days, who can afford to say no?

Oh, one-year wonders can save a program. Remember when Auburn brought in Cam Newton? Despite a recruiting scandal, the former Florida (and Blinn College) player won the Heisman Trophy and led his team to the national championship. Remember when Wisconsin brought in Russell Wilson from North Cartolina State? Wilson had a 191.8 passing efficiency mark, threw 33 touchdowns to only four interceptions and led the Badgers to the Big 10 title.

Only one year? If one year is good enough, it can be enough.

Time was, freshmen watched, and sophomores mopped up. Quarterbacks played in their last two years, sometimes in their last year.

More and more, however, college quarterbacks are seeking out last-chance programs to save their careers. Oregon has just signed Vernon Adams Jr. of Eastern Washington. Louisiana Tech, which was successful with one-year transfer Cody Sokol, will now hope that ex-Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel can have a similar impact.

There are others. Andrew Hendrix went from Notre Dame to Miami of Ohio last year. Ryan Katz went to San Diego State. Michael Brewer went from Texas Tech to Virginia Tech. In 2007, former Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk led the Bearcats to their first 10-win since since 1951.

In other words, for all that coaches stress about a quarterback learning as he grows up in the system, the right quarterback can be a bridge.

Now, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has been careful to point out that Golson is only competing for a job and nothing is promised. Tampa native Grady hasn’t played enough quarterback – he’s also played wide receiver — and Del Rio must sit out a year, for the Gators.

At Florida, however, there is another option. In college football, there always is. This week, it was reported that former Virginia quarterback Greyson Lambert had the Gators as one of the top two possibilities for his transfer.

For a school in transition, a one-year transfer can help.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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