POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 8, 2011
Tate Forcier became more than just a subject of idle offseason chatter Thursday with the not-so-surprising revelation that the former Michigan quarterback will make an official visit to the University of Hawaii next week.
And it appears that UH is ahead of San Jose State and Nevada, two other schools of interest for the former high school blue chipper from San Diego. After being displaced in Ann Arbor in favor of speedy Denard Robinson, Forcier committed to Miami, but didn't find it to his liking.
Now, Waikiki Beach over South Beach?
The general vibe in Warrior World seems to be one of Welcome To Second Chance U.
This makes sense when you look at the high-profile success stories of players who landed here with checkered pasts and left a couple of seasons later as lifetime Hawaii heroes. Pisa Tinoisamoa, Davone Bess and Colt Brennan.
There's a key difference between those three pillars of pride for UH and a potential fourth face on Mt. Comeback. And that is, as far as we know, Forcier's problems have never gotten him incarcerated.
He seems most guilty of having been high-maintenance, and not fitting into a new coach's plans. There's also a campus incident that might or might not have been a suicide attempt, depending upon whose second- and third-hand information and speculation you choose to ingest.
OK, there's the schoolwork thing too — we're told his GPA is in need of major reconstructive surgery, which we're also told is being attended to as you read.
It's clear that Forcier has some growing up to do. But who among us didn't a couple of years out of high school?
He's got talent. Without it, you don't start as a freshman in the Big Ten (yes, even these days).
FORCIER IS lugging around an overweight carry-on, but light compared to the baggage Brennan arrived with in 2005.
If in the UH coaches' judgment his potential to graduate from problem child to problem young man is minimal, he deserves at least the same opportunity as Brennan, who went from convicted felon to greatest player in 100 years of UH football and upstanding college graduate.
Here's the formula: Serve some time as a walk-on, learn the UH system (on the field and off) and adapt to the island culture. Go to class. Grow up a bit and wait your turn. Man up, but hang loose.
Sounds simple, and for most people some of it just happens naturally as they fully mature out of adolescence. But a lot of it is hard work, too.
Since Forcier has to sit out a year anyway as a transfer, it seems unlikely that he can instantaneously turn the entire program into a trainwreck as some irrationally fear. Yes, if he turns out to be everything and a tight spiral, it might cause one or two of Bryant Moniz's air apparents to start some new-school shopping of their own. But that's life in the big city.
If it doesn't work out, in a year UH can say, "Sorry, we're fresh out of scholarships, but we'll help find you a nice FCS or D-II school where you can play right away."
If that sounds cold, remember, this is a business and you've got to do what's right for the program above the individuals — same as how bringing Forcier into the fold might upset some of the QBs who have worked hard as understudies and want a chance to start when Moniz is done after this season.
Coach Greg McMackin made a tough but sound decision last summer when he said thanks but no thanks to Jeremiah Masoli, who was a Heisman candidate at Oregon but had troubles with the law and needed a soft place to land for a final season (he ended up at Ole Miss).
UH might have worked out personally for Masoli, returning to a place where he has family support.
But would the Warriors have won more games with him than the 10 they won without him? Hard to see how his presence and the inevitable starting quarterback controversy with Moniz would have helped.
Without Masoli in the wings, Moniz had the room to grow as a quarterback and team leader.
But Forcier's situation is different; he can be the quarterback of the future, not of the past.
Still, where there's no one red flag, there are plenty of yellows. So if Tate Forcier wants UH, by all means, welcome him. But let him prove it with a semester as a walk-on. Earn the scholarship and the confidence of the program.
It's a formula that worked pretty well before.