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Citing an Associated Press story, Michigan's stud freshmen quarterback Ryan Mallet has decided to transfer following Lloyd Carr's resignation and the hiring of Rich Rodriguez. This move could have been seen from a mile away. Tennessee is seen as a potential landing place, where Michigan's old offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach are favorites to land jobs. Mallett was widely considered the second best prospect in last year's class, following the less-than-inspiring Jimmy Claussen, of course at Notre Dame. Mallett is a big guy with a rocket arm. He fit in the traditional (boring) offense that Michigan has used the last few years (until the bowl game). Rodriguez is the father of the spread option which of course employs a dual-threat quarterback, like Pat White, Alex Smith, or Heisman winner Tim Tebow.
Here are a list of teams that Mallett could possibly land at, with the outlook of it happening. Keep in mind, I know nothing of the situation and do not know any of his family or coaches, this is sheer speculation. I also do not know what his priorities are. Obviously different schools have things to offer. Here is a list of those:
Playing Time: By the time he sits out his mandatory year, Mallett will have 3 years of eligibility remaining. He may opt to go to a school where he will be guaranteed a starting spot as a sophomore, or he may opt to go somewhere where he doesn't mind first starting as a junior. You have got to figure this is at the forefront of his decision.
Style: Michigan fit his style perfectly. He could drop back behing a Big Ten line and throw the ball. He could sit comfortably in the pocket. He could thrive and possibly become a great NFL quarterback in a system like that. However, college is a different game. He would not fit in Rodriguez's offense. He might want to attend a school where he could sling the ball all over the field and throw 55 times a game.
Prestige: This goes hand in hand with playing time in most cases. He has a better chance to play and star at a smaller school. At a football powerhouse, he would not be guaranteed to ever start a game. He might need to feed his ego, no matter how small or large it may be and go to a big school.
Weather: Since he committed to Michigan, he probably does not care about how cold the school is. Who knows if he secretly longs to live for 4 years in Califorrnia or Florida though.
Salary: Just kidding...probably.
1. Tennessee Volunteers- This has been handicapped as the top team in the race for Mallett. Phil Fulmer's squad had a good year, but needs to get ready for the future. They are expected to bring in Michigans QBs coach and offensive coordinator, which would of course appeal to Mallett. They play in the SEC and have recently been overshadowed despite being a perennial top 25 team. This looks to be a great situation.
2. UCLA Bruins- If I was Mallett, I know exactly where I would go. Rick Neuheisel knows what it is like to be a great quarterback at UCLA. He is sure to surround Mallett with a ton of talent, in addition to what is already there. He would be wearing the best uniform in college football. He would get to play at the Rose Bowl on Saturdays and be in one of the world's largest media markets. The weather is perfect and they throw the ball and are only a few months removed from a preseason top 10 ranking.
3. Arkansas Razorbacks- Bobby Petrino will do his best to woo him there. He runs a pro-style offense and has connections to all sorts of people in the NFL. He has made Brian Brohm a tremendous pro prospect. They have one of the best fan bases in the land and play in the spotlight of the SEC, and he'd be playing for a superstar coach, if he remains there that is.
4. Southern Methodist Mustangs- Who doesn't think that June Jones will do his darndest to land Mallett? God knows he loves th throw the ball, and Mustang Pride will be back with the exciting new offense that comes with Jones. They are sure to land some playmakers, also. It is always warm, if not HOT, and they have a very good football history, ending with the death penalty. He would probably be handed the starting job as a sophomore in 2009 and be able to put up cartoon-like numbers. They play in Conference USA, widely considered inferior to the WAC. Don't discount that Mallett would be playing in his home state.
5. Texas Tech Red Raiders. from Texarkana, Texas, so why not go to a home state team? The latest record-breaking Texas Tech quarterback in Mike Leech's system is Graham Harrell, who will be a senior next year during Mallett's transfer year. It gives him a chance to play close to home, and develop an understanding for their complicated offense. He will learn under one of the great minds in offensive football and watch one of the best current passers in the game. He'd be the most talented recent quarterback at Tech, and could break nearly every offensive record with luck and a good team. Looking at this, Tech should probably be up the list.
6. Georgia Bulldogs- The team that dismantled Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl is expected to be the number one team in the land next year, according to ESPN.com. Knowshon Moreno is one of the best running backs in the country and will only be a sophomore next year. They have the most returning talent in the SEC and play an under control, pro style game. He will have speed, speed, speed at every position, and Mark Richt would kill to have a better arm, less athletic Matt Stafford in 2009, when many of this year's starters will still be on the squad.
7. Missouri Tigers- Chase Daniel will be returning to lead an up and coming team. They play an incredibly easy schedule next year, so even if he was not playing, Mallett could get accustomed to a championship atmosphere. They throw a lot and have a very creative offense, and it isn't terribly far from Texas. Mallett would further bolster their recruiting.
8. Kansas Jayhawks- The story in Lawrence is very similar to the one in Missouri. Because of their weak schedule this year, hopefully Mallett won't see it as a fluke, even after their bowl win.
9. Ohio State- Wouldn't that stick it to Big Blue? His father's comments seem like Mallett will miss Michigan and that he genuinely enjoyed his time there, but who knows what he really feels. He would be a natural fill-in in 2 years.
10. San Diego State/ San Jose State/ New Mexico- Beautiful places, beautiful schools. Wide open offenses. Terrible football teams.
11. LSU Tigers- They are a little down the list from Georgia because where Matt Stafford is going to leave next year, Ryan Perriloux will probably be around, unless he decides to enter the draft. That very well might happen. Even so, Mallett would have a great chance to win a title and to quarterback a contender for 2 years if Perriloux sticks around for his senior year.