Could FSU Transfer's Immediate Eligibility Be Good News for the Gators?

Zach Goodall

On Tuesday, the Florida State Seminoles received some good news regarding the eligibility of recent transfer running back Jashaun Corbin. 

Wait, isn't this a Florida Gators site? Why are we writing about Florida's biggest rival receiving good news? Just stay tuned...

The former Texas A&M 2018 four-star signing from Rockledge, Fla. announced that he was looking to transfer in December, and shortly found a new, yet familiar, home at Florida State. In high school, Corbin had committed to Florida State, but backed off that pledge when head coach Jimbo Fisher took on the same gig with the Aggies  - and Corbin followed. 

Though, after getting off to a solid start to his career in College Station - posting 1025 all-purpose yards (including returns) and four total touchdowns across 14 games - Corbin suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in week two of the 2019 season. Being so early in the year, Corbin qualified to redshirt the season - he'll be a redshirt sophomore this year at Florida State under new head coach Mike Norvell.

And he'll be immediately eligible, according to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.

Feldman didn't provide the NCAA's reasoning for Corbin's immediate eligibility, but given his injury and that he returned to his home state to continue his college career - both of which are reasons that players have historically, though inconsistently, been cleared following a transfer - it makes sense.

But again, how does this apply to Florida?

Because Florida has a similar transfer player on their roster in running back Lorenzo Lingard. Lingard, a native of Orange City just two hours from Gainesville, transferred to Florida in January from Miami. His previous school is double the distance from his hometown.

Lingard, considered a five-star and the No. 2 RB in the same recruiting class as Corbin, suffered a season-ending leg injury during his freshman season. Seeing action in six games as a freshman, Lingard could not redshirt the year - but he ended up volunteering to redshirt his sophomore year and only participated in two contests while continuing to get back to full strength. 

Thus, Lingard arrives at Florida just as Corbin does at FSU - a redshirt sophomore, moving closer to home and in need of a fresh start following a devastating lower-body injury. Now, is the distance the same for the two backs returning closer to home? No, but that should not matter. The reasoning is what matters.

Lingard has yet to receive news, at least that has been made public, regarding his eligibility. When you compare his case to Corbin's, with the only real difference being that Lingard was injured a year prior to Corbin - yet played in the same amount of games in 2019 - the two appear drastically similar.

But, as on-lookers, as well as those directly involved with the NCAA, have learned: Transfer eligibility is rarely a consistent issue. Now, the NCAA is looking into fixing that issue, but has yet to make a ruling to enforce changes regarding immediate eligibility.

This issue is something that particularly bugs Lingard's new head coach, Dan Mullen.

“I just think it would be much cleaner for everyone if it was, here’s the rule," Mullen began earlier this month during his pre-spring football press conference, regarding transfers. 

"You’re immediately eligible and you can play, you get the one-time transfer waiver or you’re not and there’s no waiver process to create kids to make things up or one kid gets it and one kid doesn’t. I think there should be just a consistency within the rule, whichever one that everyone decides on."

Clarity and consistency is something the NCAA should strive for in everything they do as a multi-billion dollar industry, as these decisions directly affect the lives and careers of student-athletes - the core of what makes the NCAA its money - transferring between schools. 

Which, of course, makes Lingard's case one to keep an eye on. Corbin's immediate eligibility should foreshadow the same ruling for Lingard, and if not, Mullen will have yet another good reason to once again be frustrated with the association.

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