Wednesday was a newsy day for college sports, first the NCAA released new guidelines on transfer rules, where schools can no longer dictate where an athlete wants to transfer to. The new rule also eliminates coaches from forbidding student-athletes from going to a different school. It’s a smart and good move and hopefully the first step in changing the transfer rule. The next is eliminating the one year sitting out rule that only exists in football and basketball, but we can debate that next time.
The big newsmaker was the approval of the redshirt rule, something I first wrote about on the blog 18 months ago.
It was tabled back in April when a consensus could not be reached on number of games and how it would apply to other sports. NDSU head coach Chris Klieman has long been a proponent of this, serving on the AFCA committee along with former head coach Craig Bohl.
This is a game changer, there’s no other way to put it. Kolpack and I have established a system where we don’t ask Klieman about true freshman in fall camp until about the third week, that’s usually the time when the coaching staff has established in their mind who has a shot to play. That is now all gone. Klieman told me yesterday, “we will now have to keep evaluating all year, not just August 20th, but October 20th.” NDSU redshirted 26 players last season, playing three true freshman, Logan McCormick, Josh Hayes and Seth Wilson. Hayes and Wilson each proved they were ready for D-1 football with how they performed, certainly in the postseason run. McCormick had his redshirt pulled after Greg Menard’s injury for depth on the defensive line. McCormick played in 13 games, but his reps were limited in those 13. He’s a perfect example of this new rule, of playing four games and then he’d still have four years of eligibility remaining.
Two other examples where NDSU could have used this rule come right to mind. In 2013, NDSU was hurting for depth on the defensive line and pulled the redshirt on Brad Ambrosius for a game at Indiana State. Ambrosius played sparingly on that title team and developed into a really good player over his last three years. Imagine if Ambrosius could have come back for four years, he would have been a senior on last year’s team. The other example was 2016, when Nick DeLuca was injured and sat out the final 12 games of the season. Jabril Cox was redshirting that year, there were some whispers that he may play as a true freshman, but Klieman resisted pulling his shirt. Now with this rule, Cox could have played during the postseason, he perhaps could have helped in that semifinal game against James Madison.
With summer workouts now underway, it’s worth a closer look at the 2018 class. What players could see the field this fall? Klieman told me the further away from the line of scrimmage, the more chance you have to play. Who fits that category? The wide receivers coming in Phoenix Sproles, Kenneth Channelle and Zach Mathis all have a chance to get on the field. James Kaczor, Jayden Price and DJ Stewart in the secondary could also get a look. I’d keep an eye on Trey Lance as well. The true freshman quarterback in my mind will be the future under center of this team, I’ve already stated I think he’ll travel with the team on the road this year, much like Easton Stick did in 2014. What’s to say that Lance maybe gets on the field in games that possibly get out of hand like against a North Alabama or a Missouri State? It’s a chance to really start the quarterback battle for 2019.
It’s a welcome rule change for the sport and will make for an even more interesting fall camp in August.
Don’t forget, our next summer video series begins on Monday, breakthrough players is next up.