Bronco Mendenhall had the luxury of having some stable quarterback options to work with running his offense at BYU, but in his first season at Virginia, he will see a quarterback competition continue after the spring. As is typically the case at a number of college football programs once the spring season concludes, there is as much uncertainty at the quarterback situation as any at Virginia.
“Our quarterback situation right now has not revealed itself,” said offensive coordinator Robert Anae, according to The Free Lance-Star. “So we’re going to continue to go into fall camp, and it may take all of fall camp before we get to the bottom of it.”
The two main competitors for the starting job for the Cavaliers are Matt Johns and Connor Brewer. Johns handled the majority of the offensive responsibilities last season, leading the offense with mixed results. Johns opened the spring as Virginia’s first-string quarterback but wrapped up with him seeing split duties with Brewer, a former Texas Longhorn and Arizona Wildcat.
“Matt was the returning starter and he started practice that way, taking the first reps,” said quarterbacks coach Jason Beck. “But then as we went on, Connor was playing really well. So we just split up the reps, made an even competition and they went after it every day that way.”
Each quarterback has their strengths and weaknesses depending on the style of offensive play calling, so whichever style ends up being the way Mendenhall and the Virginia staff choose to roll with could determine which player gets the nod. Brewer could be more of an ideal fit if Virginia chooses to take to the air with a more pass-heavy attack, but Johns could be the go-to guy should the Cavaliers look to keep things a bit more balanced and grounded if he can improve his decision-making and cut down on turnovers.
Virginia’s first game of the 2016 season is at home against FCS Richmond, which could be an opportunity to give each quarterback a live audition in a real game situation.
Four years and several lifetimes ago, Connor Brewer committed to Texas as then-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin‘s hand-picked signal caller out of Scottsdale, Ariz. Brewer stayed one season, then, seeing the writing on the wall regarding franchise quarterback David Ash, Brewer elected to transfer during the summer of 2013. (Please, do yourself a favor: reread the previous two sentences and take a few moments to ponder exactly how many generations Brewer’s career has lasted.)
Brewer landed at Arizona, where he sat out the 2013 season and then watched Anu Solomon firmly take control of the Wildcats’ quarterback position the following year. Brewer did not attempt a pass during the 2014 season, and in January he received his release to purse a new destination. After some brief talk that he’d transfer back to Texas, Brewer announced in April he’d found his forever home: Northern Arizona.
“After these wild few years of college, I have officially decided that my last stop will be at Northern Arizona University,” he wrote on Instagram. “I will pursue my graduate degree and have two more years of football to play. I am excited to get on the field again and to finally show people what I am capable of.”
That lasted all of two months.
On Tuesday, 247Sports broke the news that Brewer will now play play his 2015 season at Virginia.
A graduate transfer, Brewer will compete with Matt Johns for the right to replace Greyson Lambert, who last week became a graduate transfer of his own in moving to Georgia. In four seasons spread across two programs, Brewer has appeared in one career game. His next pass thrown in a college game will be his first.
“I just got off the phone with coach (Mike) London and committed to Virginia,” Brewer told the site. “Obviously I love the coaching staff there. They run a great pro-style offense. They can help me be really successful. It’s a good opportunity to compete for the job and be the guy and win some games for them. Virginia is a great program. I want to help them get it back to where it used to be. Plus it’s a great place academically.”
And, in the most unbelievable yet somehow true aspect of this story, Brewer still has two years of eligibility remaining.
For Connor Brewer, will the third time be a charm? Well, I guess we’re going to find out.
On social media Thursday, Brewer announced that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Northern Arizona. As Brewer is a graduate transfer it doesn’t really matter, but the Lumberjacks are an FCS program and he will be eligible to play immediately in 2015.
Brewer will have two years of eligibility remaining, and he claims this will indeed be his last stop.
“After these wild few years of college, I have officially decided that my last stop will be at Northern Arizona University,” the quarterback wrote on Instagram. “I will pursue my graduate degree and have two more years of football to play. I am excited to get on the field again and to finally show people what I am capable of.”
A four-star member of Texas’ 2012 recruiting class, Brewer was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 10 pro-style-quarterback in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Arizona. He took a redshirt as a true freshman and, after being jumped on the depth chart, decided to transfer from the Longhorns in July of 2013. A month later, he landed at Arizona.
After sitting out the 2013 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, he did not attempt a single pass in 2014 as he was passed on the depth chart by Jesse Scroggins as the backup to Anu Solomon.
In January of this year, he was given a release from his UA scholarship. There was chatter that he could return to UT, but that never materialized.
You know what they say: if you love a quarterback let him transfer to Arizona, and if he comes back he is yours forever.
A four-star recruit out of Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., Connor Brewer signed with Texas as its quarterback for the 2012 class. He was then-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin‘s hand-picked selection for that class, if you want to know just how far back in ancient history we’re talking.
Brewer redshirted that 2012 season and, seeing the writing on the wall that the Texas quarterback job belonged to David Ash for the 2013 and ’14 seasons and in no way would he ever possibly get hurt, Brewer transferred to nearby Arizona. He sat out the 2013 season and did not see action in 2014 as a pro-style passer in Rich Rodriguez‘s quarterback-run heavy offense.
With Anu Solomon entrenched in Tucson, Brewer is again on the move. He was granted his release on Wednesday and, as a graduate transfer, will have immediate eligibility with two seasons still left to play.
Reached by the Austin American-Statesman on Thursday, Brewer’s father didn’t shut the door to his son’s return to Austin. In fact, he kicked the thing wide open.
There is the question of whether he would be a fit at Texas and if the new regime of Charlie Strong and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson would be interested. Brewer has been beaten out at two different schools, and hasn’t thrown a pass in a competitive situation since 2011. Is that really the guy Strong wants to entrust his critical 2015 season to? And then you remember Texas heads into spring practice with redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard, 2015 commit Zach Gentry on the way and an incumbent in Tyrone Swoopes coming off consecutive losses to TCU and Arkansas in which he completed 33-of-59 passes for 257 yards with two total touchdowns, six turnovers and 17 total points produced. There’s a good chance Strong would consider 1980’s quarterback Robert Brewer if he had any eligibility left. The Longhorns can’t exactly afford to be picky.
Of course, had Brewer never transferred in the first place there’s a greater than zero chance he’s heading into the 2015 season as an entrenched starter with two seasons of experience to his credit. Maybe these two really are meant for each other after all.
Connor Brewer is becoming college football’s version of a nomad.
The former four-star quarterback recruit originally committed to Texas as part of the 2012 class. After a redshirt year with the Longhorns, Brewer decided to transfer to a school closer to home. The quarterback chose the Arizona Wildcats. After sitting out the 2013 season due to a NCAA transfer rules, Brewer was embroiled in a quarterback competition in 2014, but he was unable to overcome freshman Anu Solomon.
With the Wildcats’ starting quarterback spot settled, Brewer decided another transfer was his best course of action.
As a graduate transfer, Brewer will be immediately eligible for his next program.
Brewer once held offers from the Alabama Crimson Tide, Michigan Wolverines, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Stanford Cardinal, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans.
His current options, though, may be a little more limited: