The competition to replace Dane Evans as University of Tulsa quarterback has thinned slightly with the departure of Ryan Rubley.
After earning his bachelor’s degree last month, Rubley plans to transfer for his senior year, TU’s team spokesman confirmed Friday. Rubley would be eligible immediately at another school as a fifth-year graduate transfer.
Rubley, whose father, T.J., was a four-year starter in 1987-91 and ranks third on TU’s all-time passing list, played in four career games for the Hurricane, all in the 2016 season.
After No. 2 quarterback Chad President was lost for the year following an injury in the opener, Rubley moved into the backup role. He appeared in the second half of lopsided wins against North Carolina A&T, Tulane, Memphis and Central Michigan, completing 7 of 11 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
A two-year starter at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, Rubley threw for 1,681 yards and 14 TDs as a senior. He also set five school records as a track sprinter.
Ahead of the Hurricane’s Miami Beach Bowl three weeks ago, Rubley and running back James Flanders received their diplomas during an unconventional commencement at the team hotel after they missed their graduation the previous day because of the trip. Rubley, whose degree was in business management, said he plans to someday work in the housing industry.
Following the graduation of Evans, the top passer in program history, TU has four QBs left on the roster: President, who played situationally in six games as a freshman in 2015; Will Hefley, a third-year sophomore; Sam Gottsch, a fourth-year junior walk-on; and Luke Skipper, a redshirt freshman.
“That’s a wide-open spot (starting quarterback) coming into spring,” coach Philip Montgomery said after TU’s 10-win season. “I didn’t give it to Dane; Dane earned every inch of it.
“Those guys are going to have to earn it. Daddy ain’t going to toss you the keys to the Cadillac and say, ‘Here, go out and drive.’ ”
Seth Boomer of Collinsville also is verbally committed for the Class of 2017, and the Hurricane has a commitment from Class of 2018 quarterback Jace Ruder of Norton, Kansas.
TU will have another key role to fill with the transfer of Robert Hill, who handled long-snapping duties in 12 of 13 games as a freshman. Behind Hill on the depth chart was versatile defensive end Jesse Brubaker. The Hurricane also has two walk-ons at the position and is recruiting 2017 long snapper Adam Higuera, whose older brother, Rey Higuera, was TU’s long snapper in 2012-15.