Now there’s a quote that’ll send shivers down some coaches’ backs.
This offseason alone, Pagano and Cochran are just two of dozens of grad transfers, who in search of better paths to the next level, have shaken up conference championship outlooks and buttressed the playoff hopes of their new teams.
If signing day is college football’s version of the draft, the grad transfer practice has become its free agency.
“These young men who come in, they know everything,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “They’re smart. They’re college graduates. They know this is their last year and are looking for somewhere where they can fit in.”
The grad transfer rule, adopted in 2006, allows players — already physically developed and usually rather seasoned — who earn their undergraduate degree before completing their eligibility to transfer without having to sit out. Quarterback Russell Wilson became the cover boy for grad transfers when he left North Carolina State in 2011 to play his final season at Wisconsin, and led the Badgers to a Big Ten championship.
The movement has since ballooned.
Give Dabo Sweeney some credit for being supportive, though.
Pagano and Baker both received their releases from Clemson’s compliance office to be recruited by other schools the day they asked Tigers coach Dabo Swinney for it. And Baker and Pagano each noted that both Swinney and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables helped them find new homes, too.
Although you wonder how gracious he might have been if depth had been a concern.
Still, it’s a question of control, so transferring sits well with some coaches more than others. It’s not at the level it’s at with basketball, but with an upward trend, it wouldn’t surprise me to see more coaches react the way Nick Saban did with Maurice Smith.