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Football Transfers: When Do They Matter?

Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 08:08

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Caitlin Nolan

Although the Marist football program does not typically rely on transfer students, former quarterback Chris Debowski started after transferring from Orange Coast College


Alex Irastorza has achieved the improbable. After not appearing in a game during the 2009 and 2010 Marist College football seasons, the kicker has transferred to the University of Miami and is officially a member of the Hurricanes football team after being accepted as a preferred walk-on.

By leaving the football obscurity of the Northeast for the talent-laden South, Irastorza is making a journey that may appear unusual.

However, it's certainly not. College football players transfer, often for personal gain, after disliking one or several parts of their former institution.

To the college football programs that receive these new players, do transfers matter?

That depends on the level of football.

Division I-FCS

Recruits that come directly from high school are the lifeblood of the Marist football program, not transfers.

"We do not actively look for transfers to recruit," Marist head coach Jim Parady said. "What we do is if somebody contacts us, then after they give us their release, we certainly look at their situation and see if they are going to fit what we are currently looking for in our recruiting class."

This is partially due to the school's rigorous academic standards, complications that can arise from credit transfer and the difficulty acquiring on-campus housing.

"We're non-scholarship in the PFL (Pioneer Football League), compared to a kid who's sitting there on a football scholarship on a CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) school," Parady said. "They know that if they leave that institution, they're leaving dollars on the table."

With few exceptions, the Marist program is neither bolstered by or suffers a detriment from transfer players.

Recent two-year starter at quarterback Chris Debowski, joined the Red Foxes after competing at Orange Coast College.

Michael Cox and OlobemiOfulaja are two players that left Marist to continue their playing careers at Syracuse and Maryland, respectively.

"I don't like to look back on what could have been once they're gone," associate head coach and defensive coordinator Scott Rumsey said. "Those are two guys that I can point to that were starters for us and transferred."

Division II

A move from FBS or FCS to Division II might not appear to be on most player's agendas, but certain D-II programs thrive on transfers.

One such player is Alex Muzii, a former defensive back and Florda native, who had joined Valdosta State University (VSU) in Valdosta, Georgia.

A member of the Gulf South Conference (GSC), VSU has won D-II national championships in 2004 and 2007 and is scheduled to play a game versus Angelo State University at Cowboys Stadium in 2012.

Muzii appeared in seven games during his two years as a Red Fox, making four tackles.

"I was really getting homesick and I wanted to come back south," Muzii said. "Not even being a starter, I felt like I never really got the chance to play on special teams. For most of the games I didn't travel."

Many athletes who want to transfer choose to join D-II powerhouses since they do not lose a year of eligibility and can play immediately.

Lateral jumps from one FBS school to another or from a lower level to FBS require the athlete to sit out for a year.

Jumps down the college football ladder, such as transferring from FBS or FCS to a lower level do not result in a one-year penalty due to NCAA rules.

"It's not that they take [football] more seriously here, it's just the way they approach it," Muzii said. "Down here, its mostly speed training because of the temperature. Being up north, Marist is 'get in the weight room and get as big as possible.'"

Division I- FBS

"A whole week would go by and I would get maybe one rep in practice [at Marist]," Irastorza said. "At Marist, they are football coaches and I respect all of the decisions that they made."

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