Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien is reportedly looking to transfer. The 6'3" 215 pound O'Brien is a former ACC Rookie of the Year and Freshman All-American after he threw for 2,438 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions in 2010.
Via twitter, O'Brien stated that "Contrary to rumor, I'm still a Terp". Technically, while true, most observers point out that O'Brien didn't say he will continue to be a Terp in the near future. In fact, it is believed that O'Brien, a third year sophomore, can graduate after the spring semester ends on May 20. At that time O'Brien can become a graduate transfer and will not have to sit out a year if he wants to play for another school. If he transfers before he graduates he would have to sit out a year.
O'Brien's sophomore year was not as successful, but most people associated with Maryland football feels it has to do with the change of offense incorporated by new head coach Randy Edsall who went from pro-style to the spread. O'Brien had trouble in the offense and his production dropped. To make matters worse, Maryland's talent plummeted (24 transfers and counting since Edsall was hired), including the departure of No. 1 draft pick receiver Torrey Smith. Then on Nov. 12 O'Brien broke a bone in his upper, non-throwing arm.
While it's still way too early to know if Pitt will be a contender for O'Brien, the list of suitors is expected to be long. O'Brien is a very good quarterback who could be NFL caliber if developed properly. Needless to say, this is the perfect time to have Paul Chryst, who is known as an offensive genius, and just came off a highly successful season with another graduate transfer, Russell Wilson.
O'Brien's addition to the Panthers would obviously be huge. Even though he would miss Pitt's spring practice, he would almost assuredly start the season opener or not long after. It would also allow Chad Voytik to redshirt one year and serve as backup in another. By the time he would start he would be a third year sophomore and could presumably hit the ground running on the way to being a potential three year starter.
The school that may be the biggest obstacle for the Panthers could be Vanderbilt, whose head coach, James Franklin, was the offensive coordinator for Maryland during O'Brien's big redshirt freshman season. O'Brien is very close to Franklin and reportedly even helped Franklin pack his desk when he got the Vanderbilt job. He is also comfortable with Franklin since he knows he was already successful for him in the past. But Vanderbilt already has six quarterbacks on the roster next season, not including O'Brien. It's unknown whether or not that would have an effect at all on O'Brien's decision. Another factor helping Vanderbilt is that O'Brien is a business major and the school has one of the business schools in the country.
An even bigger obstacle could be Maryland itself, who could possibly deny a transfer to a future ACC opponent, especially one that could develop into a big rivalry.