Wednesday, January 23, 2013
QB Ross Metheny finds success after UVa
The Cavaliers' former No. 3 QB threw for 2,148 yards for the University of South Alabama this past season.
Photo by Chip English
Ross Metheny graduated from UVa in June before he transferred to South Alabama.
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Aaron McFarling's blog
While Ross Metheny did not receive as much playing time as several of his fellow University of Virginia quarterbacks, none has managed his college career as adroitly.
Realizing that he was unlikely to move up the quarterback depth chart, Metheny transferred to the University of South Alabama, where he became a starter in the fourth game this past season and passed for 2,148 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Metheny would not have been eligible at USA, which is making the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision, if he had not graduated from UVa in June. That was critical in his decision.
"I wouldn't have left UVa without doing that because [the diploma] was really important to me," Metheny said in a phone interview earlier this week.
"To accomplish that and then to come down here and have two years of eligibility and not have any flaws or issues, I feel really blessed. On top of that, to become the starter, I couldn't have asked for a lot more."
Plus, he is eligible to play for South Alabama again next year.
Metheny was redshirted as a freshman at UVa in 2009, then played in seven games over two seasons, never starting but completing 15 of 19 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns.
He was the No. 3 quarterback behind Michael Rocco and David Watford when he asked to meet with head coach Mike London one week after the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Rocco had a similar meeting with London after the 2012 season and subsequently transferred to Richmond, where he enrolled earlier this month.
Unlike Rocco, Metheny chose to remain at Virginia for the spring semester but no longer participate in football activities.
"We sent letters to every school in the country - [Division] I-A and I-AA," said Metheny, who had the support of his family. "I got feedback right away from the local FCS schools like Richmond, William and Mary and Delaware, those kind of schools."
The two programs that showed the most interest were South Alabama and FCS member Northern Iowa.
"I wanted to stay at the I-A level because I felt confident I could play at this level and wanted to prove that," said Metheny, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound left-hander from Stephens City, which is near Winchester.
NCAA rules require that a player sit out one year while transferring from one FBS (previously I-A program) to another. An exception is made in the case where a player has graduated from his first school, as was the case when quarterback Danny O'Brien left Maryland and transferred to Wisconsin last summer.
"When you commit, they put you on a plan that will enable you to graduate in three and a half years," Metheny said. "I started out in the summer of '09 and took six or nine credits each summer and just passed all my classes.
"It's amazing how quickly you can make it through school when all you do is go to class and pay attention."
Metheny and his one-time rival, Rocco, have remained friends and spoke during the six-week period when Rocco was looking for a new home. Unlike Metheny, Rocco said he could not have graduated until next December.
Rocco started 21 of 26 games at Virginia over the past two seasons but was platooned for two seasons - with Watford in 2011 and Phillip Sims, a transfer from Alabama, in 2012.
"It's an unhealthy environment for any quarterback at UVa," Rocco said in confirming his decision to transfer. "It was hard on all the quarterbacks, not just me."
Metheny kept up with Cavalier fortunes and saw Rocco's quote almost as soon as it was published.
"I thought it was a pretty powerful quote," Metheny said.
His reaction to Rocco's statement was mixed.
"Things I learned from coach [Bill] Lazor about playing the quarterback position ... can't be replaced," said Metheny of UVa's offensive coordinator. "It's made me a better quarterback by a long shot. There's definitely no animosity.
"I can see where it was frustrating. Personally, it was frustrating for me, but that's part of the business and part of playing quarterback at the Division I level."
Metheny was still in Charlottesville, studying the South Alabama offense and throwing to ex-teammates Matt Snyder and Raymond Keys, when word surfaced last spring that Sims would be transferring to UVa.
"I thought it was really interesting," Metheny said. "It made me feel like I was making the right decision about transferring."
Metheny, a sociology major at UVa, already is well on the way toward a master's in education leadership from South Alabama. Ultimately, he would like to be an athletic director, possibly with some coaching mixed in.
He doesn't wear his old Virginia gear around South Alabama's campus in Mobile, but he hasn't thrown it away.
"The UVa stuff is still in my closet," said Metheny, who visited Senior Bowl workouts in Mobile this week and watched former Cavaliers teammate Oday Aboushi. "I love that place. If I couldn't have graduated when I did, seriously, I would have stuck it out. That paper meant that much to me."