It’s the nightmare scenario that every program in the Pac-12 and Big Ten fears: Star players and NFL prospects transferring out of its program to play for a team still attempting to have a college football season in the fall.
One Power 5 administrator predicted something like this to occur in an interview with The Athletic just a few weeks ago: “If we took initiative to cancel our own season before everyone else, we’d be raided.”
And raided they have. Arizona linebacker Colin Schooler and wide receiver Brenden Schooler announced to social media on Wednesday, Aug. 19, the duo will be transferring from the UA in hopes to play for a program that is still having a fall season, ending the era of the two brothers playing together in Tucson before it had even started. Both will be immediately eligible since they are graduate transfers.
The Wildcats’ linebacker core was already incredibly thin after Tony Fields II transferred to West Virginia this off-season. Colin and Fields, who were both three-year starters at Arizona, have been number one and two in total tackles since their freshman season, having led the team in the stat column for the past three years. Colin finished the 2019 season with 98 total tackles while Fields II was not far behind at 94. The next leading tackler on Arizona’s defense was Anthony Pandy with 66; an astronomical gap that the Wildcats will most definitely feel next season.
Arizona’s wide receiver core remains a bit more promising even without Brenden, who transferred to Arizona a few months back after playing three seasons at The University of Oregon, but will no doubt suffer without him. The Wildcats had just one receiver finish with over 500 receiving yards and at least four touchdowns in 2019. It’s a receiver group that promises a ton of youth and upside but little veteran experience — a quality that Brenden would have certainly provided to next years’ team.
The SEC, ACC and Big 12 plan on forging ahead with a football season in the fall. That possibility might continue to fade, however, after schools within those conferences have recently seen an unsettling rise in positive COVID-19 cases. The University of North Carolina saw about 130 positive cases in its first week of classes while The University of Texas recorded 449 cases from March 1 to July 28 with that number expecting to rise over the next several weeks.
So is it risky for players to be transferring when the future of other conferences is still uncertain? Perhaps, but it’s a risk that is understandable for any player hoping to play in the NFL after college. What remains to be seen now is if this will become a trend. Will we see other impact players transfer out of the Pac-12 and Big Ten in hopes for a better opportunity?
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