On Wednesday June 11th, junior quarterback Tre Roberson announced he was going to transfer from Indiana University. Although Roberson is not projected to be the starter next season, his transfer will prove to be a tremendous loss for the Indiana football team.
Roberson was voted ‘Mr. Football’ in 2010 by the Indianapolis Star, as he led his high school team to the state championship as a senior. Roberson took over as the starting quarterback midway through his freshman season at IU, and finished with 937 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, as well as 426 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. The next year, Roberson was the clear-cut starter but missed most of the season after he suffered a broken leg in the second game. Cameron Coffman, who also transferred during this offseason, and Nate Sudfeld shared time at the quarterback position for the rest of the 2012 season.
Due to the missed time because of his injury, Roberson’s playing time was shortened in 2013. He split time with the 6-foot-5, 230-pound sophomore Nate Sudfeld. Both quarterbacks are talented, but neither one seemed to pull away from the other to become the main guy and demote the other to a backup role.
Sudfeld is more of a prototypical quarterback because of his height and strong arm. He completed 60.2 percent of his passes for over 2,500 yards and 21 touchdowns with just 9 interceptions during the 2013 season. Although the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Roberson lacks the same size as Sudfeld, he is much more of a dual-threat quarterback. He completed 60.1 percent of his passes for over 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns with just 4 interceptions last season. He also added over 400 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground.
After Roberson finished the 2013 season on a high note when he passed for a school record 6 touchdown passes in a rout against rival Purdue University, there was speculation to whether he would transfer if he had not regained the starting position. That question was inevitably answered this past week when Roberson elected to transfer from IU to Illinois State where he will likely have a better chance at being the lone starting quarterback.
Roberson was awarded an additional year of eligibility after he missed the majority of the 2012 season. He will also not have to sit out a year at Illinois State because they are in a lower NCAA football subdivision, which will allow Roberson to play for two seasons.
I am a firm believer in starting and playing just one quarterback until he proves to be ineffective or a backup proves to be substantially more effective. Constantly changing quarterbacks can throw off the tempo of an offense due to a number of reasons. So although I believe Roberson transferring could help IU’s offense, there is a higher possibility that it will hurt them. If Nate Sudfeld, now the clear-cut starter, begins to struggle then IU will miss having Roberson’s proven effectiveness as a dual-threat college quarterback. The biggest will come if Sudfeld goes down with an injury, Roberson will not be there to take over with little drop off in production.