Idaho’s football program was dealt a blow to its quarterback depth when Jake Luton announced on Thursday he intends to transfer from the program.
Via a Twitter announcement Luton stated: “At this time I would like to announce that I will be leaving the University of Idaho. First and foremost I want to thank my coaches and advisors that helped me throughout my time at Idaho.”
Luton, who had just completed his redshirt freshman season, couldn’t supplant incumbent starter Matt Linehan for playing time last season and started only one game as an injury replacement.
He threw for 383 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions, but also ran in five touchdowns.
Luton took the reigns as the No. 1 quarterback in spring practice as Linehan recovered from offseason foot surgery, but that was not likely to last into the fall. Linehan is expected to be healthy for the start of fall practice.
Luton committed to Idaho in the fall of 2013 and signed in 2014, redshirting his first season on campus. Luton received no other FBS offers at the time due the run-heavy offense he operated at Marysville-Pilchuck high school.
“They know I have the talent,” Luton said shortly after committing to Idaho in 2013. “It’s just a few fundamental things I have to tune up and study the offense. I’m ready to come in and try and win the job.”
Idaho coach Paul Petrino was often ambiguous on the topic of Luton’s chance to overtake Linehan on the depth chart, but the fourth-year Idaho coach is also open about his competition mantra at every position. Luton redshirted his first season and couldn’t move the needle against Linehan heading into the 2015 season.
Luton will have three seasons to play three if he transfers to an FCS institution and will have two seasons to play two after sitting out the 2016 season should he land at another FBS school.
Had he remained at Idaho and behind Linehan over the next two seasons, Luton’s first shot at the starting job would be in Idaho’s first season in the Big Sky Conference as an FCS program.
Former Coeur d’Alene standout Gunnar Amos and 2016 signee Mason Petrino are slated to be the remaining quarterbacks behind Linehan. Amos, signing in 2015, was given an opportunity to compete at quarterback after initially being offered as a safety. He is now Idaho’s backup quarterback.
Mason Petrino was going to explore a move to wide receiver upon suiting up in the fall, but he is now likely to be Idaho’s No. 3 quarterback.
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