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The latest entry into the transfer portal is the least surprising for Maryland football. Backup quarterback Reece Udinski has entered the portal, a move that was anticipated with star quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa coming back next season.
Udinski, a former standout quarterback at Virginia Military Institute, committed to Maryland last spring despite Tagovailoa returning as Maryland’s starter. After tearing his ACL late season at VMI, he was mostly recovered by fall camp, but never threatened to beat out Tagovailoa for the job. It seemed at the time like Tagovailoa might leave for the NFL after this season, clearing a path for Udinski, regarded as a potential NFL Draft pick, to start next year. But with Tagovailoa planning to return, it seemed like a foregone conclusion Udinski would transfer somewhere where he can start and showcase his talent for the NFL.
With the Pennsylvania native’s departure, Maryland is again dangerously low on quarterbacks. The Terps expected to have two signees at the position, but one, Georgia standout A.J. Swann, switched his commitment to Vanderbilt. That leaves only Tagovailoa and incoming freshman Jayden Sauray as the team’s lone scholarship quarterbacks, a situation Locksley will look to address through the portal.
“VMI doesn’t offer a graduate program so I couldn’t come back if I wanted to. Lots of other FBS schools reached out to me, but I really liked the school and the coaches [at Maryland. At the end of the day, I really wanted an opportunity to prove my ability on the next level because I’ve done it on the FBS level,” Udinski told InsideMDSports last spring. “I love coach Locks. He’s not only a great coach, but he’s a great person to be around. I know he has a strong vision for what he wants Maryland football to become and I want to be a part of that. He said he sees the potential that I have but he’s not going to give anybody anything and I respect that a lot.”
Udinski could be a hot commodity. As a junior, he led the Southern Conference in passing and broke his own VMI single-season passing record, with 3,276 yards, and he set single-season school records for total offense (3,155 yards) and completion percentage (63.9 percent). His 19 touchdown passes were the second-most in school history. He also set a record by throwing 344 consecutive passes without an interception.
In four games as a senior, he led VMI to its first 4-0 start since 1981 and its first-ever FCS national ranking while completing 71.5 percent of his passes for 1,082 yards, seven touchdowns and two picks. He ranks sixth in SoCon history with a VMI-record 7,877 passing yards in his career.
The NCAA introduced the transfer portal on Oct. 15, 2018, providing athletes a path to explore their options. Players do not need to ask permission from their coaching staff in order to transfer. They merely need to request that compliance enter their name. Usually, it takes 24-48 hours for a player to appear following their request. Schools are free to contact a player without restriction once their name appears in the portal.
While a player entering the transfer portal means they intend to explore their options, it does not necessarily mean they will leave. A player is free to withdraw his name at any time. However, schools are under no obligation to keep a player on scholarship once they enter the portal.
There were 2,646 FBS players to enter the transfer portal during the 2020-21 transfer cycle, per a source. That’s up from 1,692 in 2019-20 and 1,717 in 2018-19.
That increase can at least partially be credited to the NCAA’s new policy that student-athletes are allowed to transfer once in their careers without having to sit out a year in-residence. That means all players who enter the transfer portal for the first time will be immediately eligible at their new school as long as they meet an NCAA-mandated entry deadline.
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