Dana Holgorsen’s first season as head coach of the University of Houston hasn’t gotten off to the best start. Currently, his team sits at 1-3. After being a third-of-the-way into a season, starting quarterback D’eriq King has made the decision to sit out the rest of the season and claim his redshirt in order to be able to retain a year of eligibility and compete in the NCAA next season. King is not the only Houston Cougars senior making the move, as he is being joined by wide-receiver Keith Corbin.
The move makes sense for the players, for it will put them in the driver’s seat to control their own destiny. If they manage to graduate before next season, it will open doors for them and ultimately they will be able to choose whether or not they intend to transfer to another program, or remain loyal to their current school. This could be a new-wrinkle or “loophole” in what now seems to be considered “college football free-agency” AKA the NCAA Transfer Portal. Under NCAA rules, players are allowed to compete in their team’s first four games and still retain a year of eligibility.
King set an American Athletic Conference record last season by passing and running for a combined 50 touchdowns. Corbin is currently the second-leading receiver for Houston, and has 67 career catches to go along with 12 touchdown receptions. The pair released individual statements maintaining they both intend to return to Houston next season, as key players on an improved squad with a full off-season’s worth of Holgerson recruits.
According to ESPN, Kings said, “I came here to play football for the University of Houston and that is not changing. After carefully thinking through this process with my family and Coach Dana Holgorsen, I have decided the opportunity to redshirt this season gives me the best chance to develop as a player, earn my degree and set me up for the best success in the future. I’m looking forward to being a part of the success of this program going forward.”
Corbin ushered a similar statement. However, King’s father Eric, told ESPN on Monday that this is the best possible situation for his son moving forward regarding his development as a player and its impact on King’s professional future. He maintains that even though it’s possible King will return next fall for Houston, the QB and his family will evaluate their options and make the best decision for D’eriq moving forward.
The conflicting comments by the father and son suggest that either they aren’t on the same page, or that the other parties involved (Houston) aren’t currently aware of the magnitude or repercussions their program may face with this player-development gamble. Why would you risk losing respect by sabotaging your season in order to build towards the following, when there is no guarantee your players will remain with the school?
A few states away, Oklahoma University head coach Lincoln Riley is making a career out of turning transfers into Heisman Trophy winners and you believe it’s best to risk the biscuit to try and put together a winner in year two of your program. Vital mistake in my opinion, because at the end of the day there are NO shortcuts. This WILL backfire on Holgorsen and the college football free-agency floodgates will be opened further.
Header Photo Credit: CBS Sports