Pac-12: Tom Savage

Quarterbacks come and go for a variety of reasons. Some simply aren't happy in a new state or in another part of the country. Others decide football isn't the sport for them. Many feel their talents are being wasted on the bench. It always seems like the grass is greener. Sometimes the move works out. Sometimes it doesn't.

Inspired by the move of Wes Lunt to leave Oklahoma State, the Pac-12 blog thought it would be fun to look back fondly at some of the quarterbacks who have left the conference following the 2008 season (a full four-year cycle). A special thanks to the league's sports information directors for helping compile this list and whatever information is available (which isn't the case with some players).

Here's the team-by-team breakdown of some of the recently departed signal callers no longer calling signals in the Pac-12.

  • Tom Savage: Transferred to Pitt after the 2011 season. Eligible to play in 2013.
  • Cam Allerheiligen: Left after the 2011 season. Went on to play baseball at Weatherford College.
Arizona State
  • No QB transfers since 2008.
  • Beau Sweeney: Transferred after the 2010 season to Cornell. Appeared as a quarterback and TE/H-Back.
  • Allan Bridgford: Transferred after the 2012 season to Southern Miss.
  • Matt Ballenger: Transferred after the 2008 season to College of Idaho and went on to be an all-conference basketball player.
  • Nick Hirschman: Transferred to Akron following the 2012 season.
  • Chris Harper: Transferred to Kansas State after the 2008 season and became a wide receiver, leading the Wildcats in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in 2011.
  • Justin Roper: Transferred to Montana after the 2008 season, completed 61.5 percent of his throws with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2010.
  • Jeremiah Masoli: Transferred to Mississippi after the 2009 season. Is now with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
  • Brennan Doty: (Walk-on) transferred to Lamar to play basketball.
  • Bryan Bennett: Transferred to Southeastern Louisiana after the 2012 season.
Oregon State
  • Justin Engstrom: Transferred to Portland State after the 2008 season. Was a backup.
  • Brennan Sim: Transferred to South Alabama after the 2008 season.
  • Peter Lalich: Transferred to California University of Pennsylvania after the 2009 season.
  • Ryan Katz: Transferred to San Diego State before the 2012 season and was the starter until an injury knocked him out for the year.
  • Jack Lomax: Left the team prior to the 2012 season.
  • L.D. Crow: Transferred to UCF after the 2008 season.
  • Nick Ruhl: (Walk-on) transferred to Menlo College after the 2008 season. Returned to Stanford and graduated with two degrees.
  • Adam Brzeczek: (Walk-on) transferred to Montana after the 2011 season. Did not attempt a pass in 2012, but appeared in two games and rushed for 33 yards on three carries with a touchdown.
  • Brett Nottingham: Transferred to Columbia after the 2012 season.
  • Chris Forcier: Transferred to Furman after the 2008 season.
  • Nick Crissman: Graduated in 2012, but intended to transfer to play one more year
  • Aaron Corp: Transferred to Richmond after the 2009 season.
  • Jesse Scroggins: Trasnferred to El Camino Junior College after the 2011 season and has since joined Arizona.
  • Corbin Louks: Transferred to Nevada after the 2008 season.
  • Griff Robles: Transferred after the 2011 season to Dixie State College. Utah had converted Robles to a linebacker, but he wanted to play quarterback. Appeared in 11 games last year, completing 50.9 percent of his throws with 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
  • Tyler Shreve: Transferred to Riverside Community College after the 2011 season to play football and baseball.
  • Ronnie Fouch: Transferred to Indiana State after the 2009 season. Went on to start 22 games and posted 38 touchdowns to 15 interceptions with more than 4,300 passing yards in his career.
  • Nick Montana: Transferred to to Mt. San Antonio College after the 2011 season and is now at Tulane.
Washington State
  • J.T. Levenseller: Transferred to Eastern Washington after the 2008 season.
  • Cody Clements: Transferred to Cerritos College following the 2012 season.

Arizona loses two QBs

December, 5, 2011
Quarterback is suddenly a need position for Arizona in recruiting.

The Wildcats announced Monday the transfer of two quarterbacks, freshman Daxx Garman and junior Tom Savage, who just a year ago transferred from Rutgers.

While senior Matt Scott was expected to win the 2012 starting job -- even more so now that new coach Rick Rodriguez brought a spread-option to Tucson -- there are no scholarship QBs on the roster behind him. This year's starter Nick Foles and backup Bryson Beirne are both out of eligibility.

While Garman was lightly regarded, Savage played in 18 games at Rutgers and was a freshman All-American in 2009. He was seen as legitimate competition for Scott, but the 6-foot-5, 240 pounder is more of a pocket passer than an athlete who could run the spread-option.

Still, Rodriguez said Monday that his offensive scheme could be tweaked to fit personnel. That was apparently just before Savage visited him and said he was leaving for because of "a family issue."

"Tom has indicated to us that he wants to transfer closer to home for family reasons," Rodriguez said in a statement. "He said it has nothing to do with football, schemes, or the University of Arizona. We certainly wish him and his family the best in the future."

The statement also included this from Savage: "This is a personal decision about my family and was not influenced by Coach Rodriguez or his style of play."

Whatever the reason, the Wildcats are left with a decided lack of depth at quarterback with a new scheme that asks the quarterback to run the football, thereby, at least in theory, putting him at more risk for injury.

It's late in the recruiting game to collect QBs, though perhaps Rodriguez can sway a previously committed dual-threat guy his way. Also, don't be surprised if he signs a JC QB. Or two.

Who's next at QB?

November, 2, 2011
ESPN analyst Brock Huard points out that college football is about to lose a lot -- a stunning group, really -- of quarterback talent.

In fact, the Pac-12 is hot on that list: Arizona's Nick Foles, Stanford's Andrew Luck and USC's Matt Barkley are shortly off to the NFL (though Barkley, a true junior, could return if he wanted, as could Luck, a redshirt junior, but Luck has already said this is his last year).

But the reality of college football is that one group of stars will shortly be replaced by a new group.

So Huard takes a look at the next wave. On his list, he includes Washington sophomore Keith Price, who is tied for the Pac-12 lead with 23 TD passes and is rated third in passing efficiency in the conference.

Writes Huard:

Filling the shoes of top-10 NFL draft pick Jake Locker seemed like a formidable task at the beginning of the season, until the guy teammates call "Teeth" (because all he ever does is smile) decided to throw 23 touchdown passes in his first eight games and play at a level of efficiency Locker never realized while at UW.

Price sounds like Avery Johnson when you talk to him but plays like Charlie Ward when you watch him (the latter comparison being one that Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian has used often in describing his star sophomore).

In general, the Pac-12 seems like it will still be fairly stocked at QB in 2012, if not as star-studded. Besides Price, Arizona State's Brock Osweiler, Oregon's Darron Thomas, Oregon State's Sean Mannion, Utah's Jordan Wynn and Washington State's Jeff Tuel will be back.

Arizona will be in good hands with Matt Scott, who looks like he will successfully redshirt this year, or Tom Savage, a former starter at Rutgers. California and UCLA will have plenty of experience at the position, just a bit much of the wrong kind.

Colorado, Stanford and USC will be breaking in green starters.

Opening the mailbag: Disrespecting Oregon State

June, 3, 2011
Trying to crank this mailbag out before covering the Tempe NCAA baseball regional, so any replies like their usual verve or are just flat dumb, blame baseball.

Follow me on Twitter.

To the notes.

Eric from Albany, Ore., writes: I get that Oregon State lost to Wazzu last year. I get that. No offense to Wazzu fans, but as a Beaver fan, I was as embarrassed as the next guy. Can we get passed that now? Most of the media is acting like our metaphorical wagon has not only lost it's wheels, but that it has been set on fire, shortly before blowing into thousands of tiny pieces. FACT: OSU has finished in the top 3 of the Pac-10, 3 out of the last 4 years. I'm kinda disappointed by the continual disrespect. We have probably the 2nd or 3rd best receiving core coming out of spring. The third best quarterback in the conference, who had a pretty darn good year considering his O-Line was trash. Our line looks better on both sides of the ball, and linebacker play is dramatically better. Let's not forget that while the Beavs finished 5-7 last year, they had the toughest schedule in the nation. IN THE NATION. I think many people have counted us out of the race, and we have the potential to be a VERY good team. I'm not saying we should be favored above Stanford, or Oregon, but can we get realistic about what's going on in Corvallis? Worse then 5-7? Come on Ted, you don't really believe that... do you?

Ted Miller: Not sure what you mean by "continual disrespect."

If you're frustrated that the so-called punditry doesn't seem to think Oregon State will be in the Pac-12 North Division mix next fall, well, there are plenty of reasons why.

For me, the Beavers' chief concerns are both lines. Unlike many folks, I'm more skeptical about the D-line than the O-line, which at least welcomes back four starters. The Beavers lost their two best defensive linemen to the NFL draft -- tackle Stephen Paea and end Gabe Miller -- and the unit didn't play particularly well in 2010.

As for your assertions: second or third best group of receivers? With a healthy, James Rodgers the Beavers have a good group of receivers -- indeed, maybe the second or third best in the conference. But Rodgers status after a severe knee injury is unclear. Without Rodgers, the Beavers would rank in the middle of the conference at the position.

Third best quarterback? Er, no. Ryan Katz has plenty of potential, but he falls behind Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Darron Thomas, Nick Foles and Jeff Tuel in terms of what he's actually accomplished on the field. Keep in mind: Katz was seventh in the conference in passing efficiency in 2010.

You write: "Our line looks better on both sides of the ball, and linebacker play is dramatically better." I didn't see the Beavers practice this spring, but the coverage I read didn't include the same level of optimism. For one, the Beavers are replacing two starters at OLB, and the pecking order at MLB is still uncertain. I know folks are excited about Michael Doctor and Cameron Collins, but they haven't done anything in a real game to support your level of certainty.

Based what we know today, I'd say six or seven wins is a realistic projection for Oregon State. Wouldn't be shocked with eight wins. Or five.

That said: Through the years, I've learned to never write off Oregon State, even after a slow start, which is practically an annual event in Corvallis.

Last season, in fact, I was among the folks projecting the Beavers as a nationally ranked team that would finish in the top-three of the conference.

Further, some of you Beavers fans might recall that I've seem to have some sort of odd, reverse predictive power with Oregon State: I pick the Beavers to win; they lose. I pick them to lose; they win.

So if my expectations for Oregon State aren't terribly high in 2011, well, maybe that's a good thing.

Bob from Raleigh, N.C., writes: There was some talk over spring ball that the Cats might redshirt QB Matt Scott to save him for next year, barring an injury to Foles. Any new word on that?

Ted Miller: That's the plan: If Nick Foles stays healthy, the Wildcats will try to redshirt Matt Scott this season so he can come back in 2012 and compete with Rutgers transfer Tom Savage for the starting job.

Derek from Pullman writes: If a team has a strong passing game and weak run game, should they be more worried about a strong secondary or strong rushing defense?For example, my Cougs should have no problem moving the ball through the air. And while I have a lot of hope in Galvin and Mitz, our running game is definitely the much larger question.Will our offense fair better as a one dimensional assault against a strong rushing defense but weak secondary? Or will not being able to move the ball at all on the ground hurt our aerial attack too much?

Ted Miller: If I were to advise you what you should most worry about, it would be a team with a great pass rush more than a good secondary.

Nothing is more critical for the Cougars this year than keeping Jeff Tuel healthy. He was sacked 51 times last year, so you know he's tough. But it's hard to imagine he can survive another 50 sack season intact.

Tuel has a strong group of receivers. If he gets time to throw, it won't matter how good the secondary is.

But here's the thing: If the Cougars can run at all -- say 120 or so yards per game -- that will make life much easier for an O-line trying to slow down a pass rush. And life much more difficult for a secondary that has to pay attention to run support.

Ted from Secretville, USA writes: I know that USC isn't eligible for the post season for this following season, and I'm not gonna bring it up. But the question I have is that do they still get the BCS Money cut?Last year Oregon, and Stanford both made BSC bowl games. Did USC still get the money from both teams making the BCS bowls? Or did they get left out because they weren't eligible?

Ted Miller: The NCAA penalties haven't -- and won't -- affect USC's football revenue. The Trojans will get a full share of BCS cash, as well as TV money, this year just as they did last year.

The truth is a two-year bowl ban likely will end up saving USC money because most teams run a deficit when they play in bowl games.

Liberal Duck from Eugene, Ore., writes: When I look at your picture I have to wonder why you aren't more tanned. For crying out loud, you live in Scottsdale. It's not like you're from Eugene or something.

Ted Miller: Many have noted the same thing.

I'm a vampire. The sun is not an option.

Here's an old mugshot.

Please, no stakes through the chest if you see me this fall.

Pac-12 lunch links

June, 2, 2011
I don't believe this! I've got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I'm being chased by Guido the killer pimp.

Spring wrap: Arizona

May, 9, 2011

2010 overall record: 7-6

2010 conference record: 4-5

Returning starters

Offense: 5, Defense: 5, punter/kicker: kicker

Top returners

QB Nick Foles, WR Juron Criner, LB Paul Vassallo, DT Justin Washington, CB Trevin Wade

Key losses

C Colin Baxter, DE Brooks Reed, DE Ricky Elmore

2010 statistical leaders (*returning starter)

Rushing: Keola Antolin* (668)

Passing: Nick Foles* (3,191)

Receiving: Juron Criner* (1,233)

Tackles: Paul Vassallo* (102)

Sacks: Ricky Elmore (11)

Interceptions: Joseph Perkins, Adam Hall*, Shaquille Richardson* (2)

Spring answers

1. Set at QB: With starter Nick Foles and backups Matt Scott and Bryson Beirne, no team in the conference will be as comfortable at quarterback. Foles is a three-year starter and All-American candidate who likely will be a high NFL draft pick. The hope is to redshirt Scott so he can return in 2012 and compete for the starting job with Rutgers transfer Tom Savage, but if Scott is needed he can seamlessly step in. Toss in the veteran Beirne, and you have a troika that combined for 31 completions, 380 yards and four scores in a 60-play scrimmage.

2. Deep at receiver: This is without question the deepest corps of receivers in the Pac-12 and one of the best in the nation, starting with All-American candidate Juron Criner. Texas transfer Dan Buckner provides another big target, and David Douglas, David Roberts, Richard Morrison, Terrence Miller, Austin Hill, Tyler Slavin and Garic Wharton provide plenty of options for Foles. Yes, the Wildcats should be able to pass this fall.

3. Secondary not really an issue: Free safety Adam Hall is a budding star, so you can't write off his knee injury this spring, but the Wildcats are fairly stacked in the secondary. Robert Golden can move back to strong safety from cornerback, while Trevin Wade, Jonathan McKnight and Shaquille Richardson give the defense three strong options at cornerback. Marquis Flowers is a rising star at safety. Of course, it would be nice to get Hall back at some point this season.

Fall questions

1. Young on the offensive line: There was optimism about the five new offensive line starters this spring, but, heck, it's five new offensive line starters. That's not an easy thing in the Pac-12. It typically takes a young line time to develop chemistry, so it will be interesting to see how the process goes for the Cats. Redshirt freshman tackles Mickey Baucus and Fabbians Ebbele looked solid, as did junior Trace Biskin and sophomore Chris Putton at the guards. Junior center Kyle Quinn is the only guy with a start to his credit (one, in the Alamo Bowl).

2. Help wanted at linebacker: The Wildcats welcomed back all three starting linebackers from 2010 until Jake Fisher went down late in the spring game with a knee injury. That brought up an issue: Sure, the starters were back but there was little to no depth behind them, particularly after two backups who were expected to return in 2011 quit the team. That means incoming freshmen will be thrown immediately into the mix: Rob Hankins, Hank Hobson and Domonique Petties.

3. Edge rush? The Wildcats are replacing three defensive ends who were selected in the NFL draft, including Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore, multi-year starters who combined for 17.5 sacks last fall. Converted linebacker C.J. Parish was a breakout player this spring, and Mohammed Usman is solid. Still, just how good will the edge pressure be with this much inexperience?

Pac-12 lunch links: What's Harbaugh up to?

February, 18, 2011
Happy Friday.

Lunch links: QB Savage headed to Arizona

February, 17, 2011
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

Lunch links: Arizona gets Savage visit

February, 15, 2011
All of them, all except Phineas, constructed at infinite cost to themselves these Maginot Lines against this enemy they thought they saw across the frontier, this enemy who never attacked that way-if he ever attacked at all; if he was indeed the enemy.

Pac-10 lunch links: USC loses a receiver

January, 27, 2011
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.