How do you replace the best quarterback in program history?
With the graduation of current Atlanta Falcon Alek Torgersen, Penn football has a massive NFL sized hole in its roster. Now, the man expected to fill that hole is gone.
After one year at Penn, quarterback Michael Collins has announced his transfer to FBS Texas Christian University. As the heir apparent to Torgersen, Collins was expected to take the reins behind center in the program’s quest for a third straight Ivy Championship. Instead, he heads to Fort Worth to join an already crowded quarterback room.
Collins was a highly sought after prospect coming out of New Canaan High School. In his four-year career there, Collins won three Connecticut state championships, and a litany of individual awards, including being named first team all-state in 2014-15. Collins also holds the Connecticut state record for touchdown passes.
In his lone year with the Quakers, Collins appeared in three games, all blow outs in relief of Torgersen. He completed both of his pass attempts for a total of 17 yards. Collins also gained 33 rushing yards on 10 attempts.
While Collins declined to comment to the Daily Pennsylvanian, he did tell the Stamford Advocate, “I didn’t want to look back and say, ‘what if I had played at the FBS level? That was really it, I wanted more of a football experience than I was getting at Penn and a chance to play against the best competition possible.”
One would also imagine that, if Collins is able to secure playing time at his new school, his chances at an NFL career would be higher at TCU. In the last two years alone, the Horned Frogs have had six players drafted. And after Torgersen slid out of the draft this year, the importance of playing for a major power conference football program seems to only be amplified.
For the Quakers, a massive hole in a crucial lineup spot just got bigger. The only Quarterbacks listed on the roster for the fall are rising-senior Will Fischer-Colbrie and rising-sophomore Tyler Herrick. Neither player has appeared in a game for the Quakers in their careers. Two offseason additions could also feature for the Quakers, both with Georgia connections. Incoming freshman and two time Georgia AAAA player of the year Ryan Glover and University of Georgia transfer Nick Robinson will join the battle for the starting spot in the fall.
One of those four will be the man primarily responsible for giving the ball to Ivy League Player of the Year finalist Justin Watson. Watson faces tremendous uncertainty as he enters his senior year. The wide receiver has put up outrageous numbers in three seasons with Torgersen, but now his NFL dreams are in the hands of an inexperienced quarterback who has not played in a single NCAA game.
Replacing Torgersen was never going to be easy, but the Quaker’s chances of a successful transition are hurt with by Collins’ decision. With a three-peat on the line, the quarterback controversy post-Torgersen is only now getting started.