There was plenty of publicity given to the players who transferred from Football Bowl Subdivision programs since January, but interestingly enough, only one of the 14 who looked for another playing opportunity has found their way into the starting lineup.
That transfer was one of the latest. Linebacker Daerius Washington, who came to ASU from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., via Western Kentucky, will start at one of the outside linebacker positions on Saturday.
Two other players who transferred from FBS programs for academic reasons, Jamel Johnson and Earl Lucas, have a better chance of making the starting lineup. Lucas, a former Prattville High standout who was at Arkansas State, is likely to start as a slot receiver on Saturday against his old high school coach, new Jacksonville State coach Bill Clark. Johnson, the former Carver and Troy star who battled with Marcus Gamble for one of the starting receiver positions before finishing second, may hit the field during the Hornets’ first possession and should play a lot.
Both of those players arrived in Montgomery on their own, enrolling at Alabama State to sort out academic issues. They were not cleared to take the field as football players until they cleared academic hurdles at the university.
Still, it’s an interesting point that much was made about the transfers who are all over the depth chart but not in the starting lineup.
“Our coaches have done a good job of recruiting guys that fit our scheme and what we’re trying to do,” head coach Reggie Barlow said. “College football now is a game of speed, a game of depth. You’ve got to have good depth. This is the first time in a while we’ve got 10, 11 (offensive) linemen you feel good about.
“But those transfer kids will play a whole bunch. Maybe at the schools they were at, maybe they had that much talent as well where they couldn’t get on (the starting unit), but we’re happy they’re here and they’re all fitting in.”
Another player that transferred in last year, Matthew Bates, was scheduled to start at left tackle but Barlow learned midway through August that Bates still had some academic hurdles to clear so he was pulled out of the lineup as a precaution until those issues can be sorted out. With Bates out, the offensive line will use both junior college transfers who enrolled in January, Demechery Hickingbottom at left guard and Robert Roquemore at right guard.
Roquemore, who went to Georgia Military Academy, captured the starting position at right guard in the spring and Hickingbottom had been listed as his backup. Left guard Damian Love will now move to left tackle to take Bates’ place and Hickingbottom will take Love’s position.
Love, center Ed Davis and right tackle Tovar Allen returned as starters from 2012.