With the advent of the transfer portal and the new rules allowing for players to change schools once time without sitting out, we’ve seen more and more athletes on the move every year. ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback, urges caution for some of those considering a transfer.
Herbstreit has been reflecting on his career as of late. He just released a memoir titled Out of Pocket, and has been doing the media rounds to promote the book. That includes a recent appearance on ACC Network’s Packer & Durham this week.
He admits that he had plenty of struggles at Ohio State. When he attended college from 1989-93, speaking about mental health was still considered very taboo, especially for major athletes. Due to a lack of familiarity with the West Coast offense, he was relegated to special teams, and didn’t get the shot to be a four-year starting quarterback as he expected. He admits that while playing at Ohio State was his dream, he nearly quit due to the adversity he faced, until he spoke to the team psychologist.
“I was a Buckeye. And so even though I could have gone to any school in the country, I just wanted to go there, and so when they brought in a West Coast offense, it didn’t fit and man was it a struggle for me,” Herbstreit admitted, via 247. “I moved positions — I was a wedge-buster on kickoff coverage, I was on kickoff return, I was holding on field foals, everything but what I wanted to do. And it was discouraging and frustrating. I wanted to quit and go play baseball.
Kirk Herbstreit reflects on adversity at #OhioState and urges athletes to have patience before transferring (FREE)https://t.co/FStHsppk8E pic.twitter.com/n8V0uPHJmI
— Bucknuts (@Bucknuts247) August 19, 2021
“And then this Dr. Ferrante, I had the courage back then to go see him. And it was almost like Good Will Hunting — I would just sit there the first two or three meetings and not really answer anything, honestly, I just kind of sat there like, ‘Why am I doing this? I can’t believe I’m here.’ And then I started to open up and talk to him, and he started to talk about a lot of really good stuff and I would look forward to those meetings.”
Kirk Herbstreit says that he wouldn’t have lasted at Ohio State without those visits to Dr. Ferrante. He hopes that current players consider talking through things before immediately jumping to transfer.
“I also say this transfer portal, it bothers me. Because I didn’t know it when I was 20 or 21 years old. I didn’t know that it would change me for the rest of my life by enduring what I endured, getting through it, and getting to the back end of it — the perseverance, the life lessons about getting knocked down and getting back up, the life lessons about patience, about things don’t always go your way.
There is certainly a valid point there. At the same time, we’ve seen plenty of players changes schools and have incredible accomplishments. From 2018-20, three straight Heisman winners and No. 1 NFL Draft picks—Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Joe Burrow—were transfers. For many, it is the right decision for their careers, even if some may be better served sticking things out.
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