The college football season is entering Week 5, and the new red-shirt rule that was implemented this season has already caused major roster turnover on many teams around the country. As the new rule states, players may play in up to four games and still decide to red-shirt the season. This is beneficial for players who may need more time to develop, as it gives them the opportunity to get real game reps that they wouldn’t be able to experience in practice. Players, however, can also use this rule to choose to transfer if they are made aware that their playing time will be limited.
Three Transfers from the Tigers
Despite the positive aspects of the rule for the athletes, it may have more negative effects on teams. The rule has already begun to rear its head as several players around the country have decided to transfer in search of more playing time. Auburn is a prime example of this, as the Tigers have had three players decide to transfer from the program since the start of the season. Wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers, defensive back Jayvaughn Myers, and tight end Jalen Harris have all made the decision to take advantage of the red-shirt rule this season, and each will transfer.
Craig-Myers was a starting wide receiver for the Tigers, who had played as many snaps as any receiver on the Tigers roster in the last two seasons. He was a great blocker on the outside, but his receiving numbers never seemed to stand up to those of other Auburn receivers like Ryan Davis and Darius Slayton. Craig-Myers totaled just 22 receptions for 394 yards and four touchdowns in his two plus seasons on The Plains.
Myers, the half-brother of Craig-Myers, only played in two games in his career as a Tiger after a knee injury forced him to red-shirt his freshman season. His exit will most likely not be felt on the field as much as the other two transfers.
Harris, the Tigers starting tight end this season, played in all three games before his decision to transfer. However, he caught only one pass for 12 yards, and his starting position will now likely go to Tucker Brown.
Coach Gus Malzahn wished each player the best, but it is business as usual despite the losses. Malzahn noted that the rule does have positive effects after the transfers, as younger players will get to show what they’re capable of sooner. The coaches are now able to help young players make the best decisions for their futures, as to whether a redshirt year would be beneficial or not.
Malzahn mentioned that he does not foresee any more transfers from the team this season. Both RB Kam Martin and WR Sal Cannella spoke to Malzahn about transferring, but he was able to convince them to stay and contribute further for the team.
A Changing Sport
It is clear that the new red-shirt rule will have a major effect on college football for years to come. This may be the first year of a long span of mid-season free agency periods in college football, in which teams lose players throughout the season and then replenish their rosters after the regular season. Expect more shakeup around the country to take place as a result of this new phenomenon.
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