Falcon Points

With bizarre D'Eriq King announcement, UH is playing the long game. Will it work?

Photo via Houston Cougar Football/Facebook

When the news broke on Monday, it made little sense. Sensational senior quarterback D'Eriq King and receiver Keith Corbin announced they were redshirting thanks to a new rule that allows players to do so after four games. It was confusing, in that some reports had King planning to transfer.

As of now, he says he is staying. But should he decide to transfer, he will be a hot property. On the surface, punting on the season seems bizarre. But if it really plays out this way and he is back at UH next season, the move makes a lot of sense.

Rough start

King is under his third coach in four years. When Dana Holgorsen came in, it seemed to be a godsend for the program, a successful Power Five coach with a knack for offense. But a tough early schedule that included games against Oklahoma and Washington State led to a 1-3 start. The killer was a loss at Tulane, a game in which UH blew a 21-point lead. Even with King and Corbin, the Cougars have little shot at anything more than a bottom feeder bowl game.

Does it make sense?

Make no mistake, the Cougars are tanking. It's not something we have seen in college football. But if King does return, it makes sense. Holgorsen has several high profile transfers sitting out this season, and the roster will be in much better shape in 2020. King can work on his craft for another year and come back ready to make a run at a conference title; maybe more. Or he can graduate and go to a bigger school. His accuracy was not the same this season; time off to work on it could help.

Bare cupboard

The Cougars collapse began last season, and culminated in an ugly bowl loss to Army, one that cost Major Applewhite his job. Other than King and a few quality players, Applewhite left a fairly bare cupboard, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The decline actually started in Tom Heman's final year, and got worse under Applewhite.

The Cougars are better than they were at the end of last season, but the record does not reflect it. Truthfully, they aren't good enough to compete for a conference title. So why not get some young players experience and come back strong next season?

Serious impact this year

With King, the Cougars might have been favored in three or four games left in the season. They would need five wins to get bowl eligible. As it stands? They will likely only be favored in one, against UConn.

They opened as 1 1/2 point favorites at North Texas; now they are seven point underdogs. Clayton Tune has some experience at quarterback, filling in when King got hurt last year. He won't be a disaster. But the Cougars will not be nearly as good.

People who bought season tickets on the Holgorsen hope can't be happy. This is not what they were sold on. It also means the Cougars better have some success in 2020, or Holgorsen's seat will get hot fast. He is likely headed for a losing season at a place that brags about firing coaches for eight win seasons.

Now that will have to happen in 2020, when they have games at Washington State and at BYU. But who knows how it will all play out? The bizarre move does not guarantee them anything. But despite how it looks on the surface, it does make some sense.

Welcome to tanking in college football. To quote Dodgeball, "That's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off."


Quarterback's loss is a serious blow

D'Eriq King to transfer from UH

Photo via Houston Cougar Football/Facebook

Houston's rough week of sports continued with yet more bad news late Tuesday night.

University of Houston quarterback D'Eriq King, who redshirted after four games, presumably to come back to UH in 2020, has entered the NCAA's transfer portal, meaning he will play elsewhere in 2020.

Where does he go?

King's best season was 2018, when he accounted for 50 touchdowns, the only player in the country to do so besides Heisman winner Kyler Murray.

But the Cougars started 1-3 in 2019, with King not thriving in new coach Dana Holgorsen's offense. King decided to redshirt and wait for 2020, when the Cougars would have several high profile transfers join the program.

Instead, King, who has already graduated, will be eligible to play elsewhere right away. Speculation is he will wind up at Arkansas, with his old offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, but he will be a hot commodity. Arkansas, one of the most woeful programs in the Power Five over the past two years, made a coaching change after going 2-10 and 0-8 in the SEC, so the main motivation for King would be to play in the SEC and perhaps put up some numbers in his senior year.

Originally, there was speculation he might try go to LSU, which just won the national title and loses Heisman winner Joe Burrow. He would also seem to be a good fit at Oklahoma.

What's next for UH?

It is certainly a bad look for Holgorsen, who basically blew off the 2018 season in hopes of having King back in 2020. But Clayton Tune was OK in relief of King and should improve. They also have incoming freshman Sofian Massoud from Cypress Lakes, who is highly regarded. Also, don't rule out Holgorsen dipping into the transfer pool himself, as he has a senior-dominated team built to win next year. He also has a good track record developing quarterbacks. So all is not lost, but it sure is not good news.

A day after an ugly Texans playoff loss, and the same day the Astros fired GM Jeff Luhknow and manager A.J. Hinch, King's transfer was just another bitter pill on a week of sports misery.


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