Fresno State had an already tricky quarterback situation become a bit more complex on Tuesday with questions arising about the eligibility of junior transfer Ford Childress, one of four players expected to compete in fall camp for the starting job.
“On a second review of his case, the NCAA has different percentage markers (toward graduation) and he’s three years out of high school, so he has to have a higher percentage to degree than a normal transfer coming in,” coach Tim DeRuyter said. “We thought we had it done, but it also depends on the major that he is going into because some majors may not accept certain classes.
“We’re still working through that process and he may have to take another class or two.”
Childress still is able to participate in team and position meetings and practice while the situation is resolved. But with players reporting to camp on Wednesday and the first practice on Thursday, and questions exactly when Childress will be eligible to play in games, the Bulldogs must wrestle with how to invest its reps between him and the others.
Of the four quarterbacks in camp, Childress has the most experience having played in two games as a freshman at West Virginia in 2013 but the least experience in the Bulldogs’ system.
3 Number of games played for the Bulldogs among the four quarterbacks in camp
The Bulldogs return redshirt sophomore Zack Greenlee, redshirt freshman Kilton Anderson and freshman Chason Virgil, who went through spring practices with the Bulldogs after graduating early from West Mesquite (Texas) High and enrolling in school.
Greenlee is the only one who went through the spring to have played a down for Fresno State — he played in three games last season including a start against Wyoming, completing 18 of 41 passes (43.9%) for 213 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
The 6-foot-5 Childress as a freshman at West Virginia completed 36 of 63 passes (57.1%) for 421 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, and spent last season at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.
The plan going into camp had been to get all four quarterbacks reps and have a starter about 10 days before opening the season Sept. 3 against Abilene Christian, but that may have to change while Fresno State gains clarity into Childress and his eligibility. If the situation drags deep into camp or into the season, the Bulldogs with such an inexperienced group will have to adjust.
You have to get the guys ready who are going to be ready to play.
Offensive coordinator Dave Schramm on the quarterbacks
“I think you have to approach it like, you have to get the guys ready who are going to be ready to play,” offensive coordinator Dave Schramm said. “It’s kind of a wait-and-see type of deal, because you’re always waiting for the NCAA or compliance or whoever to say, ‘OK, he’s good to go; OK, he’s not good to go,’ but the clock keeps ticking and every day you get closer to game day.
“Those are valuable reps. You kind of get a feel that, ‘OK, well, it’s getting close.’ So what has to happen? Our people here do a great job of getting that done, but you adjust on the run.”