Former Oklahoma State Cowboys starting quarterback Wes Lunt is transferring. That much has been well-documented, but with a talented young quarterback essentially serving as college football’s version of a free agent, his potential destination has certainly piqued the interest of quite a few.
Former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator, and personal recruiter of Lunt, Todd Monken is the head coach of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles now, leading to speculation that there may be a mutual interest there. As it turns out, ESPN’s Joe Schad reports there is interest in Southern Miss as Wes Lunt has apparently narrowed his list to five schools.
Surprisingly, two SEC schools have made the cut, as the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Tennessee Volunteers join the Louisville Cardinals and Lunt’s home state Illinois Fighting Illini in rounding out the Top Five. However, will Lunt actually give serious consideration to playing in the SEC?
Coaches from across the nation utilized back channels in contacting Lunt’s former high school coach Derek Leonard in gauging his interest, but ultimately Wes Lunt will only request a release to the five schools listed. Leonard told the Tulsa World that he expects the decision process to end sometime this month.
Beyond Southern Miss’ obvious ties with Monken, the University of Illinois is a mere 90 miles from his home in Rochester. Meanwhile, Louisville’s Charlie Strong and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin both offered Lunt out of high school and were considered players in his recruitment.
Tennessee was the only school who wasn’t originally involved in the recruitment of Wes Lunt; however, former Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Butch Jones did offer Lunt out of high school and apparently had a solid relationship with him. Solid enough, clearly, to put Tennessee in the final group for the talented true sophomore to be.
The simplest transition for Wes Lunt would probably be at Southern Miss with Monken, while Illinois would provide some of the comforts of home. Louisville gives Lunt the best chance at winning immediately as a recent BCS Bowl winner with starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater seemingly NFL-bound after the 2013 season.
Then, that leaves the two SEC East rivals. The obvious allure to playing in the Southeastern Conference is an opportunity to prove yourself against some of the nation’s best defenses. However, the SEC still doesn’t have a particularly great recent track record in producing NFL quarterbacks.
That being said, this decision most likely comes down to comfort and available playing time. At Oklahoma State, Lunt won the job coming out of camp but a combination of injury and poor performance against Kansas State led to his upheaval. Then, in spring practice, it became apparent that Clint Chelf was emerging as the favored starter heading into 2013, leading to Lunt’s decision to transfer in an effort to “do what’s best for his future.”
Wherever Wes Lunt winds up, he’ll have to sit a year. But, as a true sophomore, Lunt still has a redshirt year and will have three years to play three years.
As of now, it would appear as if the two SEC schools in the hunt are at the back of the pack for Lunt’s services, but that could change as his recruitment heats up. Lunt is set to take long looks at each of the five schools over the next couple weeks, and James Franklin and Butch Jones have already proven remarkably effective at selling their respective programs.
Right now, you’d have to think that Southern Miss and Illinois were near the top of the list, but expect the race for Wes Lunt to have its twists and turns–an SEC-sized twist, even.