The arrival of celebrated, dual-threat prospect Tyrone Swoopes to Texas this spring impacted the Longhorns’ quarterback situation beyond just turning up the heat on starter David Ash. Four-star 2012 recruit Connor Brewer was the forgotten man, thus prompting the transfer he announced on Tuesday.
Brewer’s split with Texas was amicable. He expressed thanks to the university and its coaches in a statement, and head coach Mack Brown’s own release referred to Brewer as “a tremendous young man.”
Dennis Gile, Brewer’s prep quarterback coach, painted a less rosy picture to Horns Nation:
“I don’t know if he was getting the absolute fair shot there. He’s got a guy [Swoopes] in front of him that’s going to play at least two more years. They are making a big thing about this Swoopes kid and him being the future of the program. As a kid that’s playing there that probably deserves to step on the field, at least next in line to Ash, I would feel the same way.”
Quarterbacking continues to be a vexing issue for Mack Brown. Numerous would-be signal callers have left the program in recent years, yet none of those who remained have yet become the clear answer the Longhorns have sought.
The UT football program is entering its fourth year seeking the replacement for two-time Heisman Trophy finalist Colt McCoy, and before him, national championship-winner Vince Young.
The years of stability Young and McCoy brought to the quarterback position paralleled the best years of the Mack Brown era: four BCS bowls, two BCS championship game appearances and a national title.
Texas has had a revolving door behind center since, and it’s no coincidence that the instability has run parallel to the most disappointing years of Brown’s tenure.
Garrett Gilbert ran the offense for the disastrous 2010 season, appeared briefly in 2011, and spent last season as the starter for SMU. Gilbert was the hot, new commodity upon arrival on campus, his spot as McCoy’s successor treated more as “a coronation” than competition.
That led to the transfer of GJ Kinne, who went on to play three outstanding seasons for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. During the same 2010 campaign in which Texas went 5-7, Kinne threw 31 touchdowns and rushed for another seven. Tulsa capped the year with a rout of Hawaii and No. 24 final AP ranking.
Shortly thereafter, Gilbert was out at Texas. His transfer came not long after Connor Wood departed for Colorado.
Case McCoy and Ash played hot potato for much of 2011, but Ash settled in as exclusive starter last season. Results were mixed. He was adequate, but considerably shy of the lofty expectations his predecessors set. A slow start to his junior campaign could result in a quick hook from the sideline in favor of the explosive Swoopes.
Whomever captains the Longhorn offense faces tremendous pressure. Texas is the most veteran team in the Big 12 Conference this upcoming campaign, and a potential national championship contender. An absolutely stacked backfield of Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron should help the quarterback process. Still, results have not matched potential in the last few years for UT, and that’s a burden either Ash or Swoopes will have to bear.
As for the Scottsdale, Ariz. native Brewer, his home state universities, Arizona and Arizona State, are potential destinations. High profile suitors Notre Dame and Alabama are also in the mix for Brewer, USA Today reports.
Brewer must sit out the 2013 season, should he opt to transfer to a Bowl Subdivision program. At Alabama, he would be a one-year understudy to Heisman Trophy candidate A.J. McCarron then compete with the current crop of reserves.
Notre Dame could regain Everett Golson in 2014, and also has ballyhooed 2013 signee Malik Zaire on the roster cutting his teeth this season. Zaire could see the field if Tommy Rees struggles. Brewer may find himself in another crowded competition should he land in South Bend.