UPDATE: Etling has decided to transfer to LSU. So y'all don't have to worry about this if you don't want to.
JUST IN: Former Purdue QB Danny Etling transferring to #LSU http://t.co/0sUSXDZUrz Full Story to come pic.twitter.com/QjwTCjSamh— Rivals.com (@Rivals) June 22, 2015
News broke late last week that Arkansas was hosting former Purdue quarterback Danny Etling on an official visit, complete with the Catfish Hole treatment and all.
It's obviously a note of interest whenever there's talk of adding a scholarship quarterback to the roster, but it's also eyebrow-raising for Hog fans as the general consensus has been that the quarterback depth chart is one of the stronger groups on campus.
Brandon Allen will start 2015 as a 5th-year senior (Etling wouldn't be eligible until 2016). But behind him, Etling would be in the same class with Austin Allen as redshirt juniors in 2016, and still with 4* signal-callers Rafe Peavey and Ty Storey battling for the new starter opening. (Arkansas also has a commitment from Cole Kelley at quarterback, but the likelihood of him beginning his career with a redshirt seems very high).
Even if Etling doesn't choose Arkansas, the fact that the Razorbacks are hosting him for an official visit does raise some questions about how they view that depth chart. We saw Austin Allen in competition last fall against Ole Miss after Brandon was injured, and Austin did a good job keeping Arkansas on track for the victory. We have yet to see Peavey in game action other than scrimmages when he's wearing a green jersey (which brings up the question of whether we should have the mobile 3rd-string quarterback in a green jersey, preventing him from fully utilizing that mobility, but we'll save that for another day) and Storey will be a true freshman this fall.
There has been no public indication of anyone transferring out, as many anticipate the quarterback battle heading into 2016 being Arkansas' most competitive in many years, possibly dating back to the infamous 2006 competition.
Of course, Ohio State proved last year that you can't have too many quality quarterbacks on campus. Etling was a 4* recruit out of high school and started some games as a true freshman for Purdue as well as starting at the beginning of the year last fall, but lost his spot. In 13 total games, he threw for 2,490 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also played in front of Arkansas' new offensive coordinator Dan Enos when Purdue hosted Central Michigan. Perhaps Enos saw something he liked even though it wasn't a spectacular outing for Etling. He was 17-32 for 126 yards, two interceptions and zero touchdowns in the Boilermakers' 38-17 loss. He did run 10 times for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Here's what Travis Miller of SB Nation's Purdue site Hammer and Rails told And The Valley Shook in their story about his LSU visit (he went to Baton Rouge to visit LSU after visiting Fayetteville).
He was a big-time, four-star recruit from a pretty lousy high school team. He was then kind of thrown to the wolves on the worst Purdue team that I have ever seen as a true freshman. He had some decent numbers, but in my opinion got a little shell-shocked because his line was terrible and he often had to run for his life.
He was the starter at the beginning of last season but struggled. Austin Appleby took over in the Illinois game and Etling never played again. In the spring Appleby (a redshirt junior when Etling was a true junior) stayed ahead of him and redshirt freshman David Blough passed him. Since he fell to No. 3 (and there's a very good true freshman coming in, too) he decided to transfer, which is not a surprise.
I liked him and think he can be a decent player, but he had absolutely nothing around him as a true freshman. As a freshman he was part of a team that tried to install more of a power run game and ended up one of the worst in the country. Barely better than Washington State nationally, so think about that. It should tell you just how bad our offensive line was.