Chalk up an early recruiting victory for the Mountaineers’ new Head Coach. Neal Brown secured a quarterback commitment Wednesday evening. It appears Oklahoma graduate transfer Austin Kendall will transfer to Morgantown and enroll in classes this week.
The news cycle Tuesday and Wednesday evolved quickly. First, a local Mountaineer sports reporting service claimed that Austin Kendall was in Morgantown on Tuesday morning. Kendall, however, was in Auburn at the time. Then, on Wednesday morning, various sources claimed that Oklahoma was blocking Kendall’s eligibility to play next season for West Virginia. Oklahoma, however, was crucified by the college football reporters across the country on Twitter for several hours. In the early evening, reports then surfaced that Oklahoma was relenting. And soon thereafter, various sources wrote that Kendall was transferring to West Virginia and would enroll in classes this week.
The rules permit a graduate student to transfer freely without input from his prior school. The athlete is also eligible to compete immediately. However, Oklahoma sought to “block” Kendall’s transfer to schools within the Big 12 by refusing to support Kendall’s eligibility request, by questioning his graduate status. With the latest transfer rules, however, Oklahoma’s position had dubious merit. Additionally, considering Kendall’s path to playing time in Oklahoma had been blocked by three straight transfers, including Baker Mayfield (who ironically transferred to Oklahoma from Texas Tech) and Jalen Hurts, who announced his transfer to Oklahoma earlier today, the media was quick to point out Oklahoma’s hypocrisy. Oklahoma relented by early evening Wednesday.
While the administration gave no specific reason for their change of heart, it is clear that social media won the day. There was an onslaught of criticism of Oklahoma for holding back someone who had been a team player for years in the Sooners’ system. It did not sit well with the college football community.
Kendall will compete for the starting spot during Spring camp. He has two years of eligibility remaining.