It sounds like the first act in a modern Shakespearean drama. Or comedy.
QB, or not to QB? That is the question.
With spring classes beginning Wednesday in the state of San Diego, the NCAA restrictions on naming inbound transfers were lifted.
SDSU head coach Brady Hoke announced the addition of five transfers in an afternoon press release.
Former Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister was not with them.
Burmeister took to the NCAA transfer portal on December 20, seeking another chance to close out his collegiate career.
Multiple sources have said the 6-foot-1 quarterback, who played and played La Jolla Country Day and started every regular season game for the Hokies last season, would be coming to SDSU.
On Monday, Burmeister took offense at the reports, saying only that “there is mutual interest” in coming to SDSU.
While NCAA rules prohibit him from naming a player who isn’t officially in school, Hoke said SDSU was targeting and expecting to get an experienced transfer quarterback.
“I think so,” he said. “I hope so.”
Hoke made it clear that the Aztecs want an experienced transfer quarterback here in time for spring football, which begins Feb. 28. The coach also made it clear that he will not let this drag on.
“We’re not going to wait long,” Hoke said. “That’s not who we are. We want guys who want to be here. We want guys who believe in the state of San Diego. Those are the guys we want. We want guys who understand the toughness we have as a football team.
“We’ll give a little bit of a lead, but I’m not going to get into some sort of bidding war.”
While students can enroll up to two weeks after classes start, Hoke said, “We might just wait another day.”
The five transfers included in the SDSU program – Offensive Lineman Cade Bennett (Oklahoma State), Defensive Lineman Deven Lamp (Tulsa), Lineback Cooper McDonald (Washington), Tight End Mark Redman (Washington) and Defensive Lineman Justus Tavai (Hawaii) – have all announced their commitments in the past two weeks
Burmeister has not and has even been silent on social media since he entered the portal a month ago.
Does Burmeister hold out hope for an offer from another Power Five school? Is there another reason preventing him from enrolling? He declined to discuss the situation during a phone call on Monday.
Burmeister did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Asked if he feels SDSU is being played (perhaps as a fallback), Hoke said: “I don’t know if I’d say it’s being played. I think there are negotiations now that haven’t happened in years.”
Right now, the starting quarterback contestants include red shirt freshman Will Haskell, red shirt junior Jalen Mayden, and freshman freshman Liu Aumavae and Kyle Crum, who graduated early to attend spring training sessions.
“With Jalen and Will and the two guys we signed, we feel really good with all four of those guys,” Hoke said. “But at the same time, if we can help ourselves as a football team, we’re going to try.”
SDSU’s track record with Division I transfer quarterbacks has been mixed for the past decade.
In 2015, graduate transfer Maxwell Smith switched from Kentucky, competing for the position in the spring and winning the runway over freshman Christian Chapman.
Smith led SDSU to an 8-3 record before sustaining a knee injury in the regular season finale against Nevada. Chapman took over and led SDSU to a Wolf Pack win, a Mountain West win over the Air Force, and a Hawaii Bowl win over Cincinnati.
Rutgers graduate transfer Chris Laviano arrived at SDSU in the summer of 2017, but didn’t even make it to fall camp.
Laviano switched a week before the season opener when he finished third on the depth chart behind starter Chapman and backup Ryan Agnew.
Georgia Tech graduate transfer Lucas Johnson arrived in 2020 and started 10 games over two seasons, battling injuries and inconsistency that kept him in and out of the lineup. He finished on a high note, passing 333 yards and three touchdowns in SDSU’s 2021 Frisco Bowl win over UTSA.
Johnson entered the portal last month and has moved to Montana. Graduate senior Jordon Brookshire, who split time with Johnson, took to the portal on Tuesday.
“They made those decisions early on,” said Hoke, who said the staff discussed the future with all of the team’s players in November.
When asked if he would have liked Johnson and Brookshire back this season, Hoke replied: “I don’t know. Both are excellent young men. I wish them both the best of luck.”
The 2020 match nearly included USC graduate transfer Jack Sears, who signed a grant-in-aid with SDSU in December 2019 before choosing to move elsewhere a month later during Rocky Long’s head coach to Hoke.
Sears ultimately chose to move to Boise State, where he was the backup to starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier for two seasons.
SDSU got a glimpse of Sears in the regular season finale against Boise State.
Sears played in the closing minutes of the Broncos’ 27-16 defeat – the Dallas Branch of the Aztecs intercepted one of his two passes – and left the program a week later.
He’s back in the portal.