Washington State’s quarterback room finally found the one thing it was lacking: experience.
For the third straight season, the Cougars have picked up a graduate transfer quarterback and for the second year in a row, they went the Big Sky Conference route to do so.
Jake Constantine, a one-time Boise State quarterback who played a season at Ventura (California) College before leading Weber State to a pair of Big Sky titles, announced on Twitter he’d be spending his final college football season in Pullman.
Before opting to play in the Pac-12 Conference, Constantine had planned to transfer to Towson, committing in late May and signing with the FCS Tigers on June 24. Constantine is still listed on Towson’s official roster. His decision to leave Towson could be tied to the Colonial Athletic Association recently canceling its football season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Constantine confirmed he’ll be joining the team as a walk-on, telling The Spokesman-Review, “They did not have any scholarships left to give. I will compete for the job whether I’m paying for school or not, I don’t care at all.”
The Cougars have had varying degrees of success with transfer quarterbacks, but for depth purposes alone, there’s little risk in bringing a player like Constantine, who threw for more than 4,000 yards and had 33 touchdowns in two seasons at the Big Sky level.
Before Constantine’s addition, WSU was believed to be the only program in the country at the Power Five level without a returning snap at the QB position. Returners Cammon Cooper, a redshirt sophomore, and Gunner Cruz, a redshirt freshman, were considered favorites to replace national passing leader Anthony Gordon, along with incoming freshman Jayden de Laura.
Now Constantine enters the mix as a fifth-year senior whose path to the Pac-12 was anything but ordinary. WSU is the fifth school for Constantine, who signed with Boise State as a three-star prospect out of California’s Camarillo High School. After a redshirt season in 2016, Constantine left the Broncos in the middle of fall camp the following season, transferring to junior college powerhouse Ventura College, where he threw for more than 2,800 yards and 28 touchdowns before tearing his ACL.
Constantine landed the starting job his first season at Weber State, making 11 starts in 12 games, and threw for 2,205 yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, leading the Wildcats to a Big Sky championship and the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs.
In his second year, the Wildcats repeated as Big Sky champs with Constantine starting in every game. They managed to go one step further in the FCS playoffs, reaching the semifinal round. Constantine threw for 2,223 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Constantine’s 4,428 passing yards are 11th most in Weber State history, while his 33 touchdowns vault him to No. 7 at the school.
Former Eastern Washington star Gage Gubrud, WSU’s most recent Big Sky transfer, brought years of experience and accolades with him to Pullman, but ultimately conceded the job to Gordon, who had the most productive passing season by a quarterback in Pac-12 history and was largely responsible for leading the Cougars to a fifth consecutive bowl game.
If nothing else, Constantine can offer the Cougars some insurance at the QB position in case of injury. First-year Nick Rolovich has shown he isn’t opposed to playing two quarterbacks as he did last season at Hawaii, toggling between junior Cole McDonald and freshman Chevan Cordeiro.
Constantine will hope his single season at WSU plays out more like the one Gardner Minshew experienced two years ago after transferring from East Carolina. Minshew beat out Gordon and Trey Tinsley and went on to have one of the most memorable seasons by a WSU player in school history, guiding the Cougars to a school-record 11 wins and finishing fifth in Heisman Trophy voting.
With Constantine in the mix, the Cougars still have three scholarship QBs on the roster with Cooper, Cruz and De Laura, but now six QBs total. Walk-on John Bledsoe returns after suffering a leg injury that kept him from practicing last fall. Another walk-on, Will Heckman, joins the team after transferring from Santa Rosa (California) Junior College.
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