FBS players transfer in droves to Towson
After last season, Towson football coach Rob Ambrose examined a board that listed 27 players from FBS schools who had contacted him, interested in transferring in. For once, Ambrose was in position to pick and choose.
From the list, he eventually selected five who best fit the needs of the Tigers on the field and the requirements Ambrose has established off it. With attrition, a few more from the list were added this summer.
When Towson kicks off its season at Kent State on Thursday night, it will be with a roster improved by hand-picked talent, one of the benefits of Towson's remarkable turnaround season of 2011. After going winless in the CAA in 2010, Towson won the league and advanced to the FCS playoffs for the first time.
|Towson at Kent State|
|When »||Thursday, 7 p.m.|
|Where »||Dix Stadium,||Kent, Ohio|
"We've had some degree of BCS kids transfer here historically but not to this degree," Ambrose said. "I'm sure success had something to do with it. Nobody wants to play for a loser."
Two of the new players Ambrose has welcomed are cornerbacks from SEC schools. Sophomore Jordan Love (Georgia) and freshman Ben Harvey (South Carolina) have beefed up a secondary that lost starting corners Corey Ford and Justin Harris. Love (Gilman) and Harvey (Good Counsel) are locals who are seeking happiness at home.
"I wanted more playing time," Harvey said. "I saw they had a good year. I wanted to be a part of it."
Ambrose reached out to Love and Harvey early in their high school careers, knowing they were bound for a higher level. Sometimes recruiting over your head pays long-term dividends. In the case of Love, the contact was made when Ambrose was an assistant at Connecticut.
"It didn't matter what level he was at. He was just a genuine person. We connected in recruiting," Love said. "Coming here, it was just a comfortable fit."
Other players joining Towson this year from FBS schools include defensive end Brendon Gannon (Western Michigan), running back Vince DePaola (Rutgers) and linebackers Telvion Clark (Virginia Tech) and Fred Overstreet (Rutgers).
Last week sophomore quarterback Joe Brennan (Wisconsin), the backup last fall to Russell Wilson, transferred in and figures to start next year, perhaps sooner if senior returning starter Grant Enders struggles or is hurt.
Towson went 10-3 last year, losing to Lehigh in its first game in the playoffs. Despite the early exit, the Tigers got more visibility than ever. Ambrose was stunned to be recognized in an airport in Dallas.
"I was standing in a line in security. I'm not wearing my [Towson] clothes," Ambrose said. "The guy walks up to me and goes, 'You're the head football coach at Towson. I saw you on TV. I saw you on the national championship game. You're the national coach of the year, blah, blah, blah.' We've now created a national presence that wasn't there a couple years ago."