The Southeastern Lions football program has benefitted heavily over the last few years from student athletes who have transferred from FBS schools such as the University of Oregon and LSU.
Many of these players have decided that they would rather transfer to a smaller school, rather than sit on the bench at a big school.
Former Lion great, Bryan Bennett, is a former transfer from the University of Oregon.
Bennett was in line to be the starting QB at Oregon before being beaten out by Freshman phenom Marcus Mariota. According to reports from The Oregonian, Bennett lobbied heavily for playing time on special teams during his season as Mariota’s backup. In a separate report from DuckAuthority, it’s stated that Bennett was even contemplating a move to linebacker prior to transferring to Southeastern.
Bennett mad the move to Hammond prior to the 2013 season and lead the Lions to back-to-back Southland Conference Championships. Bennett’s play at QB even warranted calls from the NFL, with the Indianapolis Colts bringing him in for the 2015 training camp and pre-season.
While Bennett is likely to remain the highest profile transfer player around Hammond for awhile, he is far from the only student athlete to transfer to Southeastern.
Almost half of the Lions’ roster is made up of transfer students, including QBs D’Shaie Landor and Donovan Isom, who both transferred from FBS schools.
According to the Times-Picayune, Landor redshirted his first season at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and saw limited action in his freshman year. After only playing in 3 games with the Ragin Cajuns, Landor transferred to Southeastern where he backed up Bennett for a season before becoming the starter.
Backup QB Isom , in an interview with the Southeastern U. Reporter, shared his experience as a transfer student. Isom said that he originally committed to Utah because he believed the coaches and spread offense in place would give him the best chance to succeed.
After redshirting his first season in Utah, Isom left for personal reasons. He said that he wanted to be closer to home after a fire destroyed the home that his mother, sister and grandparents were sharing in Edgard, Louisiana. Along with wanting to be closer to home, Isom also selected Southheastern because of the spread offense the Lions run being similar to Utah’s offense.
Typically students who transfer are required to sit out of sports for a year by the NCAA, yet there are many exceptions to this rule. The most commonly used exception is known as the One-Time Transfer Exception.
According to the National Collegiate Scouting Association Athletic Recruiting or NCSA, “…an athlete can transfers to a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS or I-AA) school and use this exception provided he or she has at least two seasons of competition remaining.” Using this exception is how players like Bennett, Landor and Isom were able to avoid sitting out a season after transferring to Southeastern.
Of the 46 transfer students on the Lions’ football roster, 14 transferred from division FBS schools, with six of them transferring from Power Five conferences.