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Shane Buechele leaving Texas for SMU

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It seemed like fait accompli that Shane Buechele would leave Texas for SMU, and that fate is now complete.

After putting his name in the transfer portal in mid-January, everyone who was anyone was pointing to SMU as his likely destination, and they did so for two reasons. First, it was close to home for the Arlington, Texas, native. Second and most importantly, the Mustangs were in the market for a graduate transfer quarterback after watching their own multi-year starter, Ben Hicks, graduate transfer to Arkansas.

Thanks to the new redshirt rule, Buechele will have two years to play for SMU, where he figures to compete with rising sophomore William Brown for the starting job. Brown played quite well as a freshman, hitting 53-of-85 passes for 625 yards with seven touchdowns against just one pick.

Still, Buechele will be seen as the favorite to start for SMU next season thanks to his experience playing and learning as a Longhorn. He started his first game as a collegiate player, throwing for 280 yards and two touchdowns in that memorable-for-how-un-memorable-it-wound-up-being win over Notre Dame to kick off the 2016 season. He started that entire season, hitting 60 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.

Sam Ehlinger arrived in 2017 and Buechele beat him out for Snap 1 in Game 1, but injuries and inconsistent play saw him yo-yo from the field to the bench throughout the year. He saw serious action in five games, and for the year completed 137 of his 213 tosses for 1,405 yards with seven scores against four picks. Buechele was Ehlinger’s full-time backup this past season, but those involved still pointed to him as an integral part of the team. Tom Herman referred to Buechele as the most engaged backup he’d ever coached, and when called upon Buechele nursed home wins over Baylor and Iowa State for a temporarily injured Ehlinger, in the process connecting on 30-of-44 passes for 273 yards with two scores and one interception.

Those were the only two games in which Buechele played, meaning he will get to repeat his junior season for SMU in 2019.

Buechele is the third Texas quarterback to consider leaving and the second to follow through with it. Freshman Cameron Rising left already for Utah, and fellow freshman Casey Thompson opted to return as Ehlinger’s backup rather than leave. Texas signed 4-star Roschon Johnson in December and convinced 3-star Sam Saxton to spurn an offer from Rutgers (among others) to walk-on for his hometown team.

Matthew Baldwin’s decision leaves Ohio State with two scholarship QBs

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And then there were two.

Seeing the Justin Fields writing on the wall, Tate Martell transferred from Ohio State in mid-January and ultimately landed at Miami.  Three months later, another OSU signal-caller, Matthew Baldwin, confirmed on Twitter Thursday night that he too has decided to take his leave of the Buckeyes and place his name into the NCAA transfer database.

“[S]pring was a tough time for me personally. My family and I have prayed and talked a lot about where I belong and what is best for me,” Baldwin wrote as part of a very classy Twitter post revealing his decision. “In the end, we feel like it’d be better for me to step away from Ohio State.”

A four-star member of OSU’s 2018 recruiting class, Baldwin was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country coming out of high school in Austin, Texas.  Baldwin didn’t play a down for the Buckeyes as he continued his rehab from an ACL injury he suffered late in his high school career at Lake Travis.

With the twin departures of Baldwin and Martell, OSU is now down to two scholarship quarterbacks — the Georgia transfer Fields (HERE) and West Virginia transfer Chris Chugunov (HERE).  Fields was widely expected to be the Buckeyes’ starter under center in the 2019 opener; Baldwin’s decision ensures that, barring injury, that will indeed be the case.

Arkansas to add former Notre Dame OL Luke Jones

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A week and a half after word broke Luke Jones was intending to leave Notre Dame comes the announcement Jones is going to be playing closer to home. The Arkansas native announced with a message on Twitter he is coming home to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

“I would like to thank the University of Note Dame for giving me the opportunity to pursue my dream of playing college football,” Jones said in a brief message on his Twitter account. “However, I have decided to transfer and play football for the University of Arkansas. I will be enrolling in the summer and am excited for this new chapter in my life!”

Jones spent a brief moment with the Notre Dame program as he was a member of the Class of 2018 in South Bend. Prior to committing to the Fighting Irish, Jones had been committed to the Arkansas football program in his recruiting process, but Notre Dame emerged victorious in the recruiting game during a coaching change with the Razorbacks.

Jones will be required to sit out the 2019 season under standard NCAA transfer rules, although those seem to be more like guidelines these days, so we’ll wait to see if there is a chance Jones gets to jump into the mix in the offensive line for the Razorbacks this fall.

Ex-Pitt TE Tyler Sear announces transfer to Temple

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Tight end Tyler Sear is hopping on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and heading from one metropolitan corner of the state to the next. Sear announced on his Twitter account on Thursday he is transferring from Pitt to Temple.

The Class of 2017 recruit of the Panthers left the program last October for what was simply described as personal reasons. It was unknown if the leave of absence was a short-term or long-term plan as the decisions about the status were being kept close to the vest within the Pitt program.

Sear did battle some injury concerns during his time at Pitt that prevented him from potentially reaching his full potential for the Panthers. He caught two passes for nine yards last season prior to his stepping away from the team.

Perhaps a clean slate with a new program will do Sear good as he steps in to try contributing with the Owls in the AAC. Sear will have to sit out the 2019 season due to standard NCAA transfer rules, unless an exception is granted by the NCAA. It is unknown if a waiver will be filed by Sear and Temple for immediate eligibility.

Sear has not used a redshirt year yet so he could burn that in 2019 while waiting to get back on the field if he is forced to sit out the 2019 season. That ould leave Sear with two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2020 season.

Michigan CB Myles Sims enters transfer portal

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Add another name to the growing list of players entering the transfer portal. This time it is Michigan cornerback Myles Sims. According to a report from 247 Sports, the former four-star prospect in Michigan’s Class of 2018 is evaluating his options.

Any player who adds his name to the transfer portal is allowed to make contact with potential programs of interest, but it does not automatically mean that player is gone for god. Sims will have the option of pulling his name out of the portal in the event he decides to stay in Ann Arbor. How quickly Sims will make any decision one way or the other remains to be seen.

Sims did not see the field last season for Michigan so he can use the 2018 season as his redshirt year. That gives the former four-star recruit four years of eligibility remaining, although he will likely have to burn one year of eligibility by sitting out the upcoming 2019 season.

Standard NCAA transfer rules require a player to sit out a full season before being ruled eligible to play again, although exceptions have been made a bit more frequently over the past year. Whether or not Sims will have the chance to play right away this fall will have to wait to be determined when he decides what his plans will be moving forward.