The Colorado Buffaloes started spring ball on March 7 with six quarterbacks competing for one starting job. Since then, two of their most experienced have been taken off the depth chart.
Nick Hirschman announced via twitter Friday that he intends to transfer after he graduates this semester. Coupled with Jordan Webb's ACL tear that will keep him out of the 2013 season, the Buffs two most experienced quarterbacks are no longer an option for new head coach Mike MacIntyre.
MacIntyre said Hirschman and Connor Wood were tied atop the depth chart when the Buffs broke camp earlier this week and a source close to the program said that there had been no change in Hirschman's status before he met with MacIntyre mid-morning on Friday to tell the coach his plans.
Both had separated themselves from the pack this spring. In four main scrimmages, Hirschman was 32-of-50 for 433 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception. Wood was 36-of-56 for 589 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
However, it was ultimately that lack of separation between the two that led to Hirschman's decision.
“I felt at this time that it has been three years, a great three years, but with no decision made at the end of spring ball, it was personal choice that it was time for me to move on,” Hirschman said in a statement released by the school Friday afternoon. “I am hoping for the best for each and every teammate, and each and every coach. It’s been a wonderful experience here, I’m still really happy about my choice to come to Colorado and I made a lot of good friends here. I will never regret my decision coming out of high school to become a Buff and I’m hoping everything will work out for everyone.”
Last year the bulk of the snaps went to Webb, but Hirschman also made two starts and eight appearances. He completed 55 of 93 passes for 589 yards with two touchdowns and seven interceptions. The junior will have two years of eligibility left.
“Nick’s a phenomenal young man, a great team player, and I was looking forward to watching him mature this fall and to see how he would do in the battle for starting quarterback job," MacIntyre said. “We hate to lose him, but we do wish him the best.”
MacIntyre granted him a release from his scholarship to all schools other than any other Pac-12 Conference school or an opponent on CU’s 2013 or 2014 schedules.
With Hirschman's departure, Wood becomes the lone frontrunner. He appeared in six games last year and was 21-of-42 for 265 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.
Chasing him will be redshirt freshman Shane Dillon -- a highly-touted recruit who was hit-and-miss during the spring as the Buffs adjust to the pistol offense. Another highly-ranked recruit, Sefo Liufau, is also to compete immediately when he arrives in the fall. ESPN.com ranked Liufau, from Tacoma, Wash., as the No. 19 dual-threat quarterback nationally.