Wednesday, 4 January 2012
Quarterback of the Future
But what about the beyond that?
Henry Burris is 36, and is not the long-term answer at Quarterback. Kevin Glenn, who was traded for Burris, is 32 and could have been with the team longer than Burris, but with 11 years under his belt, he was not the answer either.
The Tabbies have two guys on their roster that could be ready to ascend the throne, in Quinton Porter and Jason Boltus. But Porter, at 29, has been given ample opportunity to seize the starting role over the last couple of season and has yet to do so. Boltus has seen very little playing time and is therefore a complete unknown.
There has been talk of Boise State superstar Kellen Moore coming to Hamilton. He is currently on Hamilton's negotiation list, which means that the Cats have the first shot at bringing Moore's immense talents north of the border. Moore is thought of as a mid-to-late round draft choice in the NFL, so his football future is currently up in the air. If Moore is not selected in the NFL Draft, or if he gets cut during Training Camp, he could find his way onto Hamilton's practice roster.
Moore had an undeniably stellar career at Boise State, and is unarguably the best Quarterback that school has ever had. Moore led the Broncos to a 50-3 record in his four seasons as the starter, which is a feat that is likely not to be matched by any Quarterback at any school. He also put up incredible stats and finished in the top 10 in Heisman voting the last three seasons.
But does his NCAA success mean he's destined for CFL success? If recent history is any indication, the answer is no.
Over the past few seasons, the top Quarterback to come from a major college program is probably Darian Durant, who went to North Carolina, which is hardly known as a football factory. Drew Tate went to Iowa, but his CFL career is in its infancy and it is too soon to tell if he will be a success. Adrian McPherson went to Florida State (alma mater of CFL Hall of Famer Danny McManus), but had a less than stellar collegiate career that will best be remembered for him getting kicked off the Seminoles. Jarious Jackson has carved out a nice career for himself, but he's spent most of his time being a backup. And of course there is Quinton Porter, who went to Boston College.
However, the vast majority of Quarterbacks who arrive in the CFL do not even reach the heights of a Quinton Porter. The list of failed big-time college Quarterbacks is a lot longer. Chris Leak won a National Championship while at Florida, but flamed out when given a chance to start for the Montreal Alouettes in 2010. Timmy Chang came to the CFL as the NCAA's all-time leader in passing yards, but looked completely lost when he took the field for the Tiger-Cats.
But those guys are successes compared to players like Graham Harrell, Todd Reesing, Bryan Randall, Tyler Palko and Cody Pickett. All of whom either never made it off the practice squad (or out of Training Camp) or played so sparingly or poorly that there CFL careers were over almost before they began.
Winnipeg has two Quartebacks that played at BCS programs – Joey Elliott at Purdue and Alex Brink at Washington State – but neither of those guys did much during their college careers. Both have looked promising in their limited time on the field, but it is way too soon to tell if either will take the next step.
Then there are the two players that have the most in common with Moore: his predecessors at Boise State, Jared Zabransky and Ryan Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie is still best remembered for making his first start for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Grey Cup back in 2007, and Zabransky was given the chance to unseat Ricky Ray in Edmonton and failed to do so. Zabransky is now out of the league, while Dinwiddie is currently a backup in Saskatchewan.
The path from NCAA stardom to CFL starter is not an easy one. Kellen Moore has all the tools to succeed on either side of the border, but the same has been said about countless players who amounted to less than nothing in their professional careers.
Is Kellen Moore the "Quarterback of the Future" for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats if he decides to ply his trade in the CFL? Maybe. But history suggests it is not a slam dunk.