The football gods giveth… and the football gods taketh away.
Like manna dropping from heaven, Connor Brewer descended on Flagstaff a couple of months ago, bringing with him his considerable talent at quarterback. Brewer, who was a star at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale a few years back, was a welcome surprise for a football program at Northern Arizona University that has lacked stability at the QB position in recent years, and graduated one of two signal-callers who shared the duties during the 2014 season.
Brewer has already made stops at Texas and University of Arizona, but would have two years of eligibility left, thanks to a redshirt season and a year of transfer ineligibility. He would have challenged returning starter Kyren Poe for the job at NAU and would have had a good chance to be under center when the Lumberjacks open their season Sept. 5 at Stephen F. Austin.
But now, as if it were all just a cruel joke, Brewer has announced he is moving on. Again.
The 6’2″ athlete with a rocket arm had hoped to find some playing time in the Lumberjack program after failing to accomplish that with his two previous stops. He sat out a redshirt season at Texas, which he committed to coming out of high school, then transferred to the Wildcat program, where he spent two more years. The first season he sat out to satisfy NCAA transfer requirements and the second year he had to settle for a back-up role behind Anu Solomon, getting on the field for just a handful of plays.
Solomon, who won four state titles at Bishop Gorman High School in Nevada, led the Cats to a top-10 national ranking and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. He has three years of eligibility remaining, which doesn’t bode well for anyone sitting behind him on the depth chart.
So the reluctant vagabond, who led Chaparral to three straight state championships and was one of the most celebrated quarterbacks in Arizona prep history, packed his bags again and headed up the hill to Flag to offer his services to a Division I program that didn’t compete with the big boys like Texas and Arizona.
Brewer, with his proven passing abilities, would fit well into the new offense that head coach Jerome Souers is planning to install this season, designed to speed up play and add more explosiveness.
So Souers welcomed Brewer into the fold and then held his breath, hoping a better offer wouldn’t come along before his could get his prize catch on the field.
He can exhale now – but not for the reason he had hoped.
Another opportunity to play quarterback has apparently popped up in Virginia, where the game of musical chairs has left the Cavaliers without a starting quarterback.
Greyson Lambert, Virginia’s starter last year announced last month that we will be transferring to Georgia after being told by his coach that he would not be the No. 1 QB going into fall practice.
So that leaves a hole in the Virginia depth chart and an opportunity for a ‘hired gun’, which Brewer has become. He would be eligible to play right away as a graduate.
Brewer announced on Twitter earlier this week that he plans to transfer to Virginia, although it appears he has not been admitted yet to the school and has yet to sign his grant-in-aid agreement.
Now Souers is left with exactly what he had when he entered this off-season. He lost Chase Cartwright to graduation, but Poe returns with considerable playing time from the 2014 season, and senior Jordan Perry and redshirt freshman Hunter Correll saw playing time during the spring game.
The ‘Jacks are coming off a couple of successful seasons. They went 9-3 in 2013 and finished 7-5 last season, despite losing their last two games of the regular season. But the team has been relying heavily on its defense to post those records. The addition of a four-star quarterback would have been a big help on the other side of the ball.
Brewer has seen almost zero actual game time since his last year of high school in 2011. But during his four years at Chaparral he lost just two games, threw for 7,574 yards, and set a new big-school state record with 100 touchdowns.
Virginia appears willing to take a chance on Brewer still being able to re-create some of that success at the college level.
It’s just too bad that experiment won’t be taking place in Flagstaff instead.
(Photo: NAU Athletics)