(STATS) - Quarterback Dakota Prukop's reported decision to leave Montana State for Oregon as a graduate transfer could signal change, though nothing significant, on the FCS level.
The key is for players who fit the criteria is to have a realistic perspective.
Prukop announced Tuesday that he will use of his final season of eligibility at Oregon, following his graduation from Montana State this semester. His move will be similar to the one of Vernon Adams Jr., who this year went from Eastern Washington and the same Big Sky Conference to spending his senior season as the Ducks' starting quarterback. Adams leads the FBS in passing efficiency.
The two are the exceptions, their demand heightened because they play the most high-profile position in football. It's not like every FCS player who is graduating with a season of eligibility remaining should be lining up to become a graduate transfer or every FBS program should be waiting in line to bring in a one-year rental from the FCS.
Most FBS programs resist the graduate transfer rule, which has been available since 2006, on a large scale, and few would bring in a graduate transfer unless he is a likely candidate to fill a starting position. That makes most players from a lower level less attractive.
Coastal Carolina running back De'Angelo Henderson looked into some graduate transfer opportunities before announcing Monday he would return to the Chanticleers for his final season of eligibility.
Former Gardner-Webb defensive end Shaquille Riddick, who played in the Big South Conference like Henderson, made a graduate transfer from the FCS to the FBS in the spring of 2014, landing at West Virginia with the hope that playing on the higher level would bolster his NFL stock. This past spring, the Arizona Cardinals drafted him in the fifth round to play outside linebacker.
Adams and Prukop also have pro aspirations - certainly never easy coming from the FCS level - so their cases will continue to create possibilities.
"Vernon Adams opened the door for high-end FCS quarterbacks to think bigger and higher," CBS Sports college football writer Dennis Dodd told STATS. "They've been told all their lives they're not good enough for FBS.
"Look for a trickle to turn into a flow of high-end FCS QBs going to FBS."
Prukop chose Oregon over Alabama after he visited both schools this past weekend. Change came fast for the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, whose decision to leave Montana State increased after the school fired head coach Rob Ash on Nov. 23 followed by new coach Jeff Choate not retaining Bobcats offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tim Cramsey.
Prukop is cut from the same dual-threat mold as Adams - he's a more elusive runner but not as strong a passer, although he has downfield touch. While Dakota will benefit from the better skills position players at Oregon, Adams made his move after facing better competition at Eastern Washington, which has had more success in recent FCS playoffs and plays a tough nonconference schedule than Montana State. This season, Prukop passed for 3,025 yards and 28 touchdowns with 10 interceptions and rushed for 797 yards and 11 touchdowns in a 5-6 season.
Following his graduation from Montana State with an economics degree, Prukop plans to participate in spring practices at Oregon. That would increase the chance for him to claim No. 1 on the depth chart.
Free agency is always an attractive proposition, no matter the sport. It's just not for everybody on the FCS level. In fact, very few, so players have to keep their situation in perspective.