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QB Tom Savage leads pack of transfers from Arizona football

Tom Savage is off to a good start in his one year of eligibility at Pitt. Photo by Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Savage is off to a good start in his one year of eligibility at Pitt. Photo by Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Savage, we hardly knew ya.

Savage spent a semester as a quarterback at Arizona, the fall of 2011, following his transfer from Rutgers, where he was a Freshman All-American in 2009.

He announced he was leaving UA in December 2011, citing family reasons rather than new coach Rich Rodriguez. The coach’s zone-read offense isn’t a natural fit for Savage’s pocket-passer profile, although RichRod has shown the ability to adjust his attack according to his quarterback’s skill.

Rodriguez had no trouble using the arm of Matt Scott last season.

If Savage had stayed at Arizona, perhaps he would be the starting quarterback right now as the 3-0 Wildcats head into conference play Saturday at Washington. As it is, life is pretty good for him at Pitt. The senior passed for 424 yards and six touchdowns at Duke on Saturday, earning him the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s National Offensive Player of the Week award.

He is ninth nationally in passing efficiency at 185.9 yards per game.

Savage’s success got me wondering what has happened to other scholarship transfers out of the Arizona program. Here are eight more who are on college football rosters (let me know if I missed anybody):

Jarrell Bennett, WR, Southeastern Louisiana. The speedster from New Orleans left UA this summer and transferred to the FCS school in Hammond. Bennett, who redshirted as a freshman last season, has one rush for 3 yards while playing in two games for the 2-2 Lions.

Michael Cooper, TE, Indiana. Cooper, who mostly played on special teams in his first two seasons at Arizona, left the team during camp and walked-on at Indiana, where he will play for coordinator Seth Littrell, who was Cooper’s first coordinator with the Wildcats. He will have two years of eligibility left starting in 2014.

Daxx Garman, QB, Oklahoma State. He was recruited for coach Mike Stoops’ passing spread offense and left soon after Rodriguez was hired. Garman, who redshirted as a freshman in 2011, seems to be running third-string at OSU as a sophomore.

Bryan Harper, CB, Fresno State. Harper, from Rialto, Calif., redshirted as a freshman at Arizona last season but did not return because of an illness in the family. Harper has a brother and a cousin on the Bulldogs team. Stories in August said the school would be applying for a hardship waiver to make him immediately eligible, but it appears he is sitting out this season.

Cortez Johnson, DB, Oklahoma. He played as a true freshman in 2011, starting two of eight games in the final year of the Mike Stoops era. He then followed Stoops and UA defensive coordinator Tim Kish to OU, where they joined Bob Stoops’ staff as assistants. Johnson was slated to start at cornerback this season but was suspended for the opener because of an arrest for marijuana possession. He has five tackles in his two games.

Willie Mobley, DL, New Mexico State. Mobley was granted a sixth season of eligibility because of injuries during his career, and he decided to finish up as a graduate student with the Aggies. Mobley, who made 20 tackles for the Cats last season, has 15.5 through four games at NMSU.

Dame Ndiaye, DE, Portland State. He spent two seasons at Arizona, redshirting in 2011 and playing on the scout team in 2012. He announced his transfer after spring ball, when he was also tried at tight end. He has two tackles, including his first sack on Saturday, at lower-division Portland State.

Josh Robbins, DB, Adams State. Robbins, a graduate of Canyon del Oro High School and son of former UA standout defensive back Randy Robbins, apparently was done with football because of back problems that caused him to miss the 2011 season. Robbins, though, is back in football this season and he made three tackles for the Division II Grizzlies against Western State on Saturday.

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