Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Counting The Days (And Players)

For those of you who are wondering (as well as those who aren't) Dartmouth preseason football practice begins 10 weeks from today, on Wednesday, Aug. 24. That's 70 days away for those who are counting ;-)

The opening game against New Hampshire is Sept. 17, which is 94 days away.
Class ranking of players on the Dartmouth ROSTER page have been updated. Counting walk-ons and several players who are "considering other options," the roster currently includes:

• 27 seniors

• 32 juniors

• 36 sophomores

• 33 freshmen

Adjusting the roster for position changes, Dartmouth heads into the preseason with:

• 22 offensive linemen

• 20 defensive linemen (13 interior, seven D-ends)

• 19 linebackers

• 16 wide receivers

• 15 defensive backs/corner backs

• 12 running backs

• 7 quarterbacks

• 7 tight ends

• 5 kickers (with four also listed as punters)

• 3 safeties

• 2 dedicated punters (along with the four K/P)

• 2 longsnappers
The undefeated 1996 Dartmouth football team featured fullback Pete Oberle '96, a transfer from Colorado State, and tailback Greg Smith '97, a transfer from Missouri. Both took advantage of the rule that allows players to transfer down a classification without having to sit out a year.

The transfer rule has been a real boon to FCS programs, but as Craig Haley writes in a STATS column, FBS schools are now turning the tables with the "graduate transfer rule."

Last year, Haley notes, an Eastern Washington team that might have had national championship aspirations went 6-5 after standout quarterback Vernon Adams gave up his final year of eligibility at EWU to go to Oregon, where he was eligible to play as a graduate "student." (Notice the quotation marks. More about that in a bit.)

This year Oregon has tapped highly regarded Dakota Prukop, one of the best quarterbacks in the FCS at Montana State, as a graduate transfer. The two high-profile quarterbacks are the tip of a growing iceberg. Haley writes:
Besides Prukop, players who earned all-conference honors last year who have used the graduate transfer rule this offseason include quarterback Jared Johnson (Sam Houston State to UTSA), offensive tackles Tyler Catalina (Rhode Island to Georgia) and Zac Morgan (Dayton to Oregon), and defensive end Gabriel Sherrod (Delaware State to Syracuse). Other standouts making FCS-to-FCS moves have included wide receiver Malik Golson (Delaware State to Murray State) and defensive tackle Steve Mercado (Lafayette to Western Illinois).
Here's the problem: Way too often the graduate transfer has little or no interest in graduate studies. As Haley notes (italics are mine), "Adams left Oregon after one semester to pursue a professional football career."

More from the STATS story:
Among the FBS players who earned undergraduate degrees in 2012 and '13 and transferred to another school to pursue a graduate degree, 24 percent had graduated, 7 percent remained enrolled and 68 percent had withdrawn by the summer of 2014.
No idea if Seattle Seahawks punter Steven Hauschka earned his masters but he's clearly someone who used the graduate transfer rule to best advantage as a football player.

Hauschka was a District I Academic All-American who earned a degree in neuroscience from Middlebury, one of the "Little Ivies." He comes from a family of dentists and was accepted to the Tufts, UCLA, Boston University and Maryland dental schools.

So where did he end up going? North Carolina State, where he was in the "parks, recreation and tourism management program." (ESPN story)

While a good number of Dartmouth athletes have finished their careers in power conference programs (soccer goalie Stefan Cleveland, the 2015 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and holder of an engineering degree from Thayer School will be the latest, pursuing an MBA next year while he plays at Louisville) the only football player I can recall going the same route was kicker RC Willenbrock '13, who graduated from Dartmouth and then walked on at Virginia, but did not see action.