After beginning as a heralded four-star recruit at TCU, Tyler Matthews is transferring for the second time during his college career. This time Matthews leaves Southern Miss, a program where he spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons after leaving TCU. He has yet to decide where he will transfer to for the 2016 season.
Tyler Matthews (@TylerSMatthews) January 2, 2016
The reasoning behind his transfer is the same as before during his time at TCU. Matthews was unable to unseat the starting quarterback and wanted to go somewhere he could be the man. At TCU, Matthews lost out on the starting job to Trevone Boykin and brought his talents to Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
After sitting out the 2014 season, Matthews earned the right to battle with incumbent starter Nick Mullens for the starting quarterback position. No one really had a clue who would be the starter until the night of the opening game, a home matchup versus Mississippi State. Nick Mullens took the field with the starting group, meaning Matthews was yet again banished to the backup role.
Matthews was solid in limited action during the 9-5 season, spelling Mullens in multiple games that turned into Southern Miss blowouts. Matthews ended the season with 67 yards on the ground and 112 yards passing in five games played.
Where does he go from here?
Matthews is a graduate transfer, allowing him the opportunity to transfer and play immediately at whatever program brings him in. Let's look at a few possibilities for Matthews in the 2016 season.
- Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs are looking for a replacement for Jeff Driskel and have lots of experience in bringing in graduate transfers. Cody Sokol made the jump from Iowa to the Bulldogs, throwing for 3,436 yards and 30 touchdowns. Driskel immediately took up the mantle, transferring from Florida and starting the 2015 season. Driskel threw for over 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns in his one year with the program.
- Georgia State: The Panthers are coming off of their best season in school history, but lose star quarterback Nick Arbuckle to graduation. With a combined zero pass completions by the four returning quarterbacks on the roster, bringing in Matthews could be a significant help in 2016.
- Memphis: The Tigers are another team looking to replace a record setting quarterback. Memphis has only three official quarterbacks on the roster with Lynch's departure, but do have JUCO transfer Riley Ferguson, a three-star recruit, signed with the program. Clay Holgorson is the only quarterback on the 2016 roster with over 100 yards passing in his career. Matthews could easily fit in the system at Memphis.
- Another C-USA Program: The list of possible choices in the Conference USA ranks has to be narrowed down to teams that are in need of a starting quarterback in 2016. Louisiana Tech, Rice, UTEP, North Texas, and maybe UTSA could be destinations. The final three have returning quarterbacks, but Matthews would be an upgrade for the 2016 season. But he will only be there for one season, making a transfer less likely. Still, Matthews to UTSA could work.
- Another Group Of Five Program: How about we throw out a few ideas here? Central Florida, Arkansas State, Bowling Green, Massachusetts, Fresno State, UNLV. Maybe one of those teams take a chance and bring Matthews in for 2016. South Alabama or maybe even the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana could be a possible destination. Any of these teams would be a surprise, but not completely far fetched.
- Power Five Route: There are a few teams in power five conferences that are in need of a quarterback in 2016. If it is the right situation, Matthews could end up with a power five program. He will only go there if he is guaranteed a chance to be the starter. I don't really see that happening.
- FCS Or Below: If Matthews thinks that there is not a good spot for him to end up at the FBS ranks, he may make the move to a lower division. Many FCS teams would love to have Matthews as their quarterback in 2016, so this may end up being the best option.
In the end, my bet is that either Matthews ends up being the third graduate transfer for Louisiana Tech in three years or he goes to the FCS ranks. Since he is not officially transferring until he graduates in May, this story may take quite a while to come to completion.