It's no secret that CFL quarterback selection works in mysterious ways. Plenty of players who had high-profile college careers, including Timmy Chang, Chris Leak, Jared Zabransky and Ryan Dinwiddie, have utterly failed at the professional level, while guys from lesser-known schools like Anthony Calvillo (Utah State), Ricky Ray (Sacramento State) Dave Dickenson (Montana) and Travis Lulay (Montana State) have done exceptionally well. Still, a college career should count for at least something, and even the guys from smaller schools tended to excel while they were there. With that in mind, one has to wonder why any CFL team would consider looking at Tate Forcier. From Graham Watson at Yahoo!'s NCAA football blog, Dr. Saturday:
Former Michigan, Miami, almost Hawaii and San Jose State quarterback Tate Forcier hasn't given up on the football dream.
Forcier told Joe Schad that he's been training with Jeff Garcia in San Diego and preparing for a possible career in the Canadian Football League.
Forcier had trouble staying in school because of academics, so going pro might be his next best option.
We'll see if that actually happens, though. Forcier has wanted to do a lot of things with his football career that haven't exactly panned out. At least if he goes to the CFL, he doesn't have to worry about passing any academic standards.
From this corner, the issue is more about Forcier's passing standards (or lack thereof). Canadian-football-only fans may not be all that familiar with him, but Forcier is one of the more notable flameouts NCAA football's seen in years. He got off to a hot start as a freshman at Michigan in 2009, winning his first four games, but faltered down the stretch, as the Wolverines went 1-7 the rest of the way, their only win coming over Division I FCS Delaware State. Forcier's final stats of 2,050 passing yards with a 58.7 completion percentage, 7.3 yards per attempt and 13 touchdowns against 10 interceptions weren't all that impressive, and he wound up losing the starting job to Denard Robinson before the 2010 season. He delivered a few moderately-impressive performances in relief that year, but was declared academically ineligible before the Gator Bowl and left the team soon after.
Since then, Forcier's been more of a punchline than a passer. He left Michigan with an unusual Twitter press release, along the lines of his brother's exit from UCLA, was hospitalized in a bizarre incident, briefly bounced into and out of Miami, flirted with Hawaii before failing to meet academic standards and then wound up at San Jose State. That didn't last long either, though, as Forcier left that school in January, and that's apparently led to his latest attempt to try and catch on with a CFL team. While working with one of the most famed CFL quarterbacks of all time in Garcia will certainly help his cause, and Forcier does have some talent (what led to interest in him from those schools in the first place), you have to wonder if he's someone the CFL should even bother with.
Making it as a quarterback in the CFL is anything but easy. As I wrote about Colt Brennan's signing with Saskatchewan, there aren't a lot of opportunities out there in an eight-team league, and very few of the guys who are signed ever see real action. Even if you have an NCAA background rather than a Canadian one (where the odds are stacked against you), you still have to adapt to the 12-man, three-down game and the wider field, and that takes time. Moreover, given the difficulty of that adjustment and the massive supplies of talented quarterbacks out there, CFL teams have to use their third- and fourth-string quarterback slots on guys they think can make it eventually. Forcier could prove everyone wrong, but he's accomplished so much less than just about every NCAA starting quarterback out there, and he carries a lot more baggage. From this corner, I'm not sure why any CFL team would be expressing interest in him instead of going with a lesser-known but more-proven passer, hopefully one who hasn't bounced from school to school to school without much success.