Tyler Patmon was looking for a new football destination. And OSU was looking for help at cornerback.
Both have now satisfied those needs, thanks to a rule that allows college athletes who have graduated to transfer and immediately play their final season of eligibility. OSU recently announced Patmon has transferred from Kansas and will bring three years of Big 12 starting experience to the Cowboy secondary in 2013.
“You look at his film and you saw a guy who has functioned in the Big 12 and has played in big games,” OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. “Like everybody, he's had success and failures. But you love somebody with that experience.
“He's got a year to go somewhere else and possibly have himself a great year. So he's highly motivated to come in here and play, which is what we want.”
Players like Russell Wilson and Jeremiah Masoli made this postgraduate transfer rule famous. Many others have utilized the rule.
At Oklahoma, Drew Allen used it to leave Norman and transfer to Syracuse, where he will challenge for the starting quarterback job in his final season.
“I wanted to go where there was a great opportunity to succeed and play and compete for the job,” Allen told ESPN.com “I'm not expected to be promised anything. But all you can ask for is a chance to compete at a high level at a big-time school in a big-time conference.
“I competed like crazy at OU for four years. I have no regrets. I gave it my all. But I felt like it was my time to move on and go up to Syracuse and compete for the starting job there.”
So after playing behind Sam Bradford, Landry Jones and Blake Bell, Allen is hoping for his first real shot under center. Patmon, after tweeting shortly after his departure that leaving KU was “not by choice,” will likely compete for the starting cornerback job opposite Justin Gilbert.
And all who use this postgraduate transfer rule are essentially looking for a fresh — and final — athletic shot after earning their undergraduate degrees.
“Whatever happened in the past, just like with our players, it's done,” Spencer said. “Ever since he decided to come here, I know he's been training hard. He knows this is his last shot.
“He's got a renewal of life here.”
Three memorable postgraduate transfers
RUSSELL WILSON, QB
N.C. State to Wisconsin
Wilson helped the Wolfpack to a 9-4 record in 2010, his junior year, but announced in January 2011 that he would pursue a professional baseball career. When that didn't work out, N.C. State granted Wilson a release, he graduated in May and transferred to Wisconsin.
In his only season there, Wilson threw for 3,175 yards, 33 touchdowns and only four interceptions and led the Badgers to a Big 10 title and Rose Bowl appearance.
The Seattle Seahawks drafted Wilson in the third round, then handed him the starting quarterback job before his rookie season began. He responded with a stellar performance, leading Seattle to a 10-6 record and a playoff win.
RYAN SMITH, CB
Utah to Florida
Smith started 12 games as a redshirt freshman at Utah in 2004, when the Utes went undefeated and won the Fiesta Bowl. The next year, though, after coach Urban Meyer left for Florida, Smith had a falling out with the new coaching staff and was benched.
Smith completed a stunning 21 credit hours in the summer of 2006 to graduate early, then transfer to Florida under the NCAA's recently passed graduate transfer exception. He led Florida with eight interceptions, was a second-team All-American and helped the Gators win the 2006 national title in his only season there.
JEREMIAH MASOLI, QB
Oregon to Ole Miss
Masoli emerged in 2008 as Oregon's starting quarterback because of injuries and was superb, leading the Ducks to a 42-31 Holiday Bowl victory over Oklahoma State. The next year, he quarterbacked Oregon to the Pac-10 championship, racking up 2,815 total yards and 28 touchdowns in the process.
In March 2010, though, he pleaded guilty to a second-degree burglary charge and was suspended the entire 2010 season by coach Chip Kelly. A few months later, after he was cited for drug possession and kicked off the team entirely.
But Masoli had graduated and applied for immediate eligibility after transferring to Ole Miss. The NCAA initially denied the request, but approved it on appeal, and Masoli played the entire 2010 season.
Postgraduate transfers who could have a big impact in 2013
Defensive back Tyler Patmon (Kansas to Oklahoma State) and quarterback Drew Allen (Oklahoma to Syracuse) aren't the only postgraduate transfers who could make major impacts on their new squads in 2013.
Here's a look at four others around the country who could make noise next season:
CLINT TRICKETT, QB
Florida State to West Virginia
Trickett started two games for Florida State and appeared in 17, completing 66 of 109 passes for 947 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions. He graduated in May with two years of eligibility remaining. Trickett immediately jumps into the battle — with junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress — to replace Geno Smith as the Mountaineers' quarterback. Millard and Childress split reps this spring.
BRANDON MITCHELL, QB
Arkansas to N.C. State
Mitchell lost the Arkansas starting quarterback battle this spring to sophomore Brandon Allen and opted to transfer, choosing N.C. State over Michigan, UAB, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State. He's appeared in 21 college games with three starts, and has completed 25 of 43 career pass attempts for 332 yards and two touchdowns. He's also rushed for 75 yards and two scores.
JAMEILL SHOWERS, QB
Texas A&M to UTEP
Showers, who lost the Aggies' 2012 preseason quarterback battle to freshman and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, graduated from Texas A&M with two years of eligibility remaining and chose UTEP, entering its first season under new coach Sean Kugler.
In limited action last season, Showers completed 27 for 44 pass attempts for 319 yards and two touchdowns.
CHARLES SIMS, RB
Sims, who has recorded 4,077 total yards and 37 touchdowns in three seasons with Houston, flirted with entering the NFL Draft before announcing in January that he'd return to the Cougars for one more season. In May, though, he announced that he would transfer and reportedly listed Texas Tech as his preferred destination.
Houston restricted Sims from any conference foes or other schools in the state of Texas. He's now considering West Virginia and California, per an ESPN.com earlier this month.
A look at the history of fifth-year transfers
NCAA rules have changed regarding postgraduate transfers a few times over the past several years.
Here's a quick look at the history of fifth-year transfers:
Prior to 2006: Graduate transfers had to meet one of the NCAA's exceptions for immediate eligibility, just like any other student-athlete.
2006-07: Division I adopted a new proposal allowing any student who graduated with eligibility remaining to transfer and play immediately, so long as he was enrolled in a graduate program. So many players took advantage of the rule that in January 2007, the NCAA overturned it.
2007-2010: Despite the rule being abolished, the practice of postgraduate transfers lived on as a waiver requiring a student-athlete to graduate, enroll in a graduate program the previous school didn't offer and receive permission from that previous school.
2011-present: The waiver evolved again into a more formal graduate transfer exception, which builds off the already existing one-time transfer exception for athletes in sports other than football, basketball, baseball and men's ice hockey.
With the new exception, athletes in revenue sports who graduate with remaining eligibility can receive the same one-time exception, provided they've never transferred between four-year schools before.
According to a May 9 AthleticScholarships.net article — written by former Division I compliance officer John Infante — the graduate transfer waiver still exists for athletes who have already transferred between four-year schools.
The waiver, which goes through the NCAA, still requires the graduate student enroll in a program not offered by his previous school. The exception doesn't hold that requirement, according to Infante, and is handled on the individual campuses.