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Texas Tech grad transfer QB McLane Carter to join Rutgers Football

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Red Raiders opening day starter comes to the banks with one year of eligibility left.

Texas Tech v Texas
Carter started the 2018 season opener in Lubbock.
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Rutgers football has not yet announced the signing, but former Texas Tech Red Raiders Starting Quarterback McLane Carter announced on Twitter Sunday night that he will continue his career at Rutgers. If one of the top up and coming offensive minds (former Texas Tech Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury) thought you were the best QB on his roster heading into the season, that says quite a lot.

McLane arrived at Texas Tech after a stint at Tyler Junior College and got his first start in the 2017 season finale against Texas. His statistics in that game were ok, but he was relieved by the team’s previous starter Nik Shimonek in the 4th quarter.

It seems logical Carter would end up with another Power Five school because he lost his job due to injury. Carter was named by Kingsbury as the starter prior to the 2018 season opener despite pressure from the fan base to go with a younger option. He was injured in the contest after going 4-7 for 49 yards and rushing three times for 13 yards. After getting his opportunity, backup Alan Bowman had a few record setting performances to grab hold of the job. As a result, Carter saw his only other 2018 significant action starting against Baylor in the season finale, going 21-37 for 247 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. (highlights below)

Texas Tech is going through a period of transition after a 5-7 season that still resulted in former Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury being hired by the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. With a new coaching staff and two other experienced quarterbacks on the roster with more than just one year of eligibility remaining, Jett Duffey and Bowman, it seems logical they will be more focused on 2020 in Lubbock. After their spring game, McLane announced on April 16 he had entered the transfer portal.

Though the Rutgers Football official twitter feed has not reported the news yet, Head Coach Chris Ash continues to rebuild the roster, adding as many quarterbacks as possible. Carter joins incumbent Art Sitkowski as the only other players who have started a game under center at the college level. The team is still awaiting a decision on transfer Johnny Langan’s eligibility and has true freshman early enrollee Cole Snyder as the current backup. The quarterback room still has to be considered the weakest positional group on the team despite its importance.

At first glance, the lefty Carter is pretty savvy in the pocket and does not hesitate to scramble, hence why his left high ankle sprain was so problematic. At 6’3”, 225 lbs., McLane has good size for the position, but does not possess a cannon of an arm. He shows excellent touch on short and intermediate throws, but relies on his accuracy to throw deep 50-50 balls to a spot his receiver has a better chance of hauling in than the defensive back rather than being able to lead him 40+ yards downfield. What is encouraging in the highlights is his ability to read seam defenders, allowing his receivers to catch the ball with some space. He does not lock onto receivers, nor does he hesitate to throw the ball away rather than risk sack or interception if he has no immediate running lane. This should help the Scarlet offense’s rhythm and receivers.

I like the move for sure even though Rutgers’s skill position players MAY not be as good as Tech’s and surely the defenses in the Big Ten are better than Baylor’s. If the offense gets off schedule due to penalties or negative runs, Carter doesn’t have the arm to bail them out. McLane’s upside is not infinite, but he is the opposite of Art Sitkowski in so many other ways, too. Carter has good touch, uses his eyes well, senses pressure, and runs pretty well. With the Scarlet Knights likely to employ more spread formations, I have confidence in his ability to make the right read on RPOs or pure pass plays and deliver the ball on time. He seems comfortable out of the shotgun and pistol with jet sweep motion and counter action around him. Even if he needs time to adjust to offensive coordinator John McNulty’s playbook and working under center, Carter is probably going to end up being the Scarlet Knights’s best option at quarterback in 2019, which will be his only season at Rutgers.

Welcome to the banks, McLane!

For more information on the system he came from at Texas Tech and the minds behind it, check out this detailed video. Though Carter is not going to rewrite the playbook with McNulty, his experience with some advanced concepts may be an underrated value add.