Roberson stuns with transfer decision

Indiana’s long-time quarterback competition between Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson came to a stunning end on Wednesday with a press release announcing that Roberson has decided to transfer.

The redshirt junior from Lawrence Central threw for 1,128 yards and 15 touchdowns last season while rushing for 423 yards and five scores, giving the Hoosiers a speedy counterpart to Sudfeld, a prototypical pocket passer. The two were in head-to-head competition for the job from last spring through this spring. They combined to help Indiana lead the Big Ten in passing last year and they were expected to battle again in preseason practice in August and possibly split time again.

But Roberson apparently decided not to.

“I want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates and Indiana University for all of their support over the last three years,” Roberson said in the release. “My time in Bloomington will always hold a special place in my heart. I wish everyone at IU all the best as I move on to the next chapter in my life.”

He posted an additional statement on his Twitter account.

“I want to thank Hoosier Nation for all the support the last three years,” he said. “I’m going to miss my teammates more than anything. I love them all.”

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson also released a statement.

“We appreciate and thank Tre for his contributions to our football program both on and off the field,” Wilson said. “He is an outstanding player and a great young man. We wish him well as he moves forward with his career.

Attempts to reach Roberson by phone call and text message were unsuccessful, as the phone call incurred a message that said Roberson’s most recent number is no longer working. He did not immediately respond to a message left through Twitter. Wilson also did not immediately respond to a text message seeking further comment.

The news was a surprise to many, including at least one of Roberson’s closest confidantes. Jayson West, Roberson’s coach at Lawrence Central and now the head coach at Warren Central, said he didn’t know Roberson’s reasons for transferring.

“He’s grown, and he’s an adult making a decision,” West said. “All I can do is support him and hope it works out. … I couldn’t tell you (why he’s leaving) to be honest with you. It’s kind of news to all of us in that respect.”

Roberson was named Indiana’s Mr. Football in 2010 after leading Lawrence Central to the Class 5A state championship game. He threw for 2,611 yards and 24 touchdowns while rushing for 1,992 yards and 21 scores as a senior.

As a true freshman at Indiana, he took over the starting quarterback job for the last five games after since-transferred quarterbacks Edward Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel battled over it for most of the season. He threw for 937 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 426 yards and two scores in that period.

He beat out then-true freshman Sudfeld and junior college transfer Cameron Coffman for the starting job in 2012. He threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 133 yards and three scores in the first five quarters of that season before breaking his leg early in the season’s second game at Massachusetts, leaving Coffman and Sudfeld to battle over the job the rest of the year.

Last season, he and Sudfeld set themselves apart from Coffman, but never from each other. Roberson started four times, and Sudfeld started the other eight, both accounting for at least 20 total touchdowns. Roberson threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 50 yards and another score in a thrilling 63-47 loss to Michigan in October and passed for 273 yards and a school single-game record six touchdowns in a 56-36 win over Purdue in November.

Roberson has two years of eligibility remaining, but he has already taken a medical redshirt thanks to the broken leg in 2012. That could mean that he will lose a year of eligibility if he transfers within the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. He would be able to play immediately if he transfers to the Football Championship Subdivision or Division II or III.

Roberson’s transfer makes Sudfeld the presumptive starter. The 6-foot-5, 232-pounder threw for 2,523 yards and 21 touchdowns last year. Coffman also transferred to Wyoming in the offseason, leaving incoming freshman Zander Diamont as the only other scholarship quarterback on the roster. Walk-ons Nate Boudreau, Matt Marencik and Bryce Smith provide some additional depth.

The quarterback competition made for an awkward situation for much of last year, but Wilson said recently that a dual-quarterback system could be a strength for IU this year.

“I think they’re two of the better players in our program,” Wilson said last week at an IU Tailgate Tour event at Huber Farms. “I think they’re two of the better players in our conference from an offensive standpoint. … Personally, I’m kind of excited about it, because I think we’re getting to the point with their maturity where this can be a positive. They can have a huge impact.”

 

13 comments

  1. I wish Tre the best but I’m relieved that the dual QB situation is over and that the team can finally rally around one leader. And at the end of the day Sudfield has the better arm and is the guy better suited to Wilson’s style of play.

  2. Makes sense. Barring injury, Kevin Wilson just wasn’t going to stick with one guy. Tre gets to move into a program where he can be the guy. Nate gets to be the man here at IU.

    I really loved Tre. Going to miss him. But this is a move that benefits everyone. I just hope he moves outside the B1G.

  3. Triple, I agree that Sudfeld had the better arm, but not so sure he “is better suited to Wilson’s style of play.” Given how he platooned these two guys, Wilson’s style of play was not well defined last year. I’ve thought that Sudfeld should be the starter since last year’s game against Bowling Green, but it was obvious that Roberson was an outstanding player and much more effective inside the five yard line. Roberson kept the defense off balance down in the red zone.

    Given this news, its obvious that IU’s hopes for a winning season now rests on keeping Sudfeld upright and healthy. That’s no knock against Diamont, but he’s got zero experience in college. It will be interesting to see how much playing time Diamont gets in non-conference games this season.

  4. I can’t fault Tre here, in the slightest. If Nate gets hurt…we’re pretty much depressingly screwed with only a true-freshman and 3 walk-ons constituting as someone’s definition of “depth”. Jesus.

  5. I had forgotten Coffman transferred. I like Sudfeld but sure don’t like the lack of depth IU now has there.

  6. Too bad IU won’t have the depth of experience at the QB position now. He and Sud are both good IMHO. If Sud is injured, it will be another long no-bowl IU football season.

  7. Roberson would have had a significant role in the IU Offense this season, but he was not going to be named the starter going into the fall because of Sudfeld’s strong play during the spring. Don’t get me wrong, Trey is going to be sorely missed. However, I think Nate is really going to grow into one of best QBs in college football now that he is “the guy”. Like anyone who knows anything about B1G Football, I’m concerned that the entire season could be lost should Nate happen to get injured. Let’s focus on the best case scenario: Nate stays healthy and IU wins 6+ games to go to their first bowl game since Hep’s memorable “Play 13” season!

  8. Not that it really matters, but I’m wondering how many B1G journalists are re-thinking their All-Conference picks now that Sudfeld isn’t splitting time? That’s probably at least another 10-15 TDs on his final stat line.

    Good for Tre, though. I hope he gets a chance to have the spotlight all to himself somewhere.

  9. I think this could be a good thing for the team overall. Loved watching Tre but having one guy at the wheel should help the Hoosiers. Sudfeld can command the respect needed in that position and his confidence and leadership should soar. Also, don’t discount the QB walk-ons. Walk-ons have a chip on their shoulder and something to prove. Those guys have had to silently watch as the scholarship QBs get the snaps, consideration, etc. Wouldn’t be surprised to see someone rise up from there. The Marencik kid looks good. Just watched youtube highlights. He turned down JC offers to come to IU as a walk-on. Definitely potential there.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zcThiLuJjc

  10. I don’t see, under any circumstance, how Tre leaving can be good for IU. He is a uniquely talented QB and made major contributions to IU over the last three seasons. Starter or not, he would have been valuable to IU again this year. Tre’s leaving is not good for IU football, but we may overcome his loss if his former teammates step up and play to their potential.

  11. Podunker: The 2 quarterback rotation seemed to be causing problems for IU and all the QBs. I feel that’s why the QBs started leaving (Coffman and now Tre). The best guys to play for IU are the ones that really want to play for IU. A player should feel they’re the best in their position, want to compete for that position, and are determined to beat out their competition …. in this case the other QBs. Although Tre was a great talent and good guy, he obviously did not want to do the 2 quarterback thing again. Therefore, if that was his mindset then I think he is best suited to play where he can achieve the goals he’s set for himself and let IU go it’s way. There’s something to be said about better being 100% hot or 100% cold …. lukewarm doesn’t get it. As a side note: I think he should have stayed and fought for the spot because he is really good. If he is wanting to play in the NFL, QB competition is not going to any easier …. it’s going to be fierce and at a higher level. Staying at IU might have been really good for him and allowed him to prove to himself that he can go out there and beat the competing QB’s. Maybe he could have even considered getting some skills at being a receiver and broaden his portfolio. There are alot of college QBs that do not play QB in the NFL. All I’m saying is that if his heart is half in it and all he wants to do is play QB, then I think he made a good decision for everyone. It’s best for IU to have QBs on the roster that really want to be there competing for the spot. That’s going to make the QB position really strong. Finally, I also think this has got to be pretty frustrating for the coaches because it did seem that they put alot of effort in trying to make the 2 QB thing work for the sake of the players involved. I get the impression they did not see this coming …. nor did all of us.

  12. Top 10 Wilson qoutes rececntly overheard:

    10.Gunner wrecked the program!
    9. Somewhere Bill Lynch is sipping a margarita.
    8. A ‘Tre’ is a 3-pointer…Not my fault the kid was in the wrong sport.
    7. What’s an EB? It’s one-fourth times one-half, dummies. Therefore, the QB position will now be referred to as an EB(eighthback).
    6. We actually have a play called ‘The Tom Crean’..It’s a crossing pattern…
    5. Can somebody direct me to the Lost and Found? I’ve misplaced my defense.
    4. Fred can be a mean SOB. He said I can hold a sparkler, but he won’t let me push the “launch fireworks” button until we make a Black Cat Bowl.
    3. A Michael Jackson hologram will fill in for defensive coordinator this year.
    2. No coincidence that “Eight is Enough” was my favorite 70’s TV show. It’s also our opponents defensive philosophy.
    1. I want this year’s tackling to be inspired by that movie where Scarlett Johansson uses the power of her entire brain.

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