Searching for the Perfect Fit
Courtesy: Milton Kent,  
Release: 11/20/2013

Whether it be for a pair of shoes, a friend or a car that suits your personality, life is a search for the right fit.

Football is no different. Although most players find the right school on the first try, there are occasions when a situation at one place doesn’t quite work out as planned, for a variety of reasons.

When the Tigers close their 2013 home regular season campaign Saturday with a nationally televised home game against James Madison, a group of players will mark the end of the season in their second home.

And a dozen of those transfers will carry a special status, as players who left Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools to come to a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) university, namely Towson.

Their presence here coincides neatly with the transformation of the Towson program to one of the best at the FCS level.

As Tigers coach Rob Ambrose noted after a group of FCS schools beat FBS teams earlier in the season, FCS schools have enough talent to compete with FBS schools for a game.

In some cases, that talent can come from players who have played at the FBS level, where schools can offer 85 full scholarships but come to FCS schools, which can offer 65 scholarships, some of them partial.

And it’s not hard to understand why former FBS players would want to come to schools like Towson, which notched a win at FBS Connecticut this year. The academics are, in many cases, equal. The level of play is, in many cases, nearly indistinguishable from the more-celebrated bowl level.

Most significantly, a player who moves from FBS to FCS does not have to sit out a year but can play immediately after his transfer. 

Five of those players – linebacker Telvion Clark (formerly at Virginia Tech), wide receiver Leon Kinnard (Connecticut), cornerback Jordan Love (Georgia), tight end James Oboh (Florida Atlantic) and running back Sterlin Phifer (Boston College) – are seniors and will be playing in their final Towson regular season game.

The seniors have made important contributions to the program, particularly this season. Clark, for instance, is fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in tackles, leads the league in fumbles received and is tied for the league lead in forcing fumbles.

Meanwhile, Kinnard, a Loyola High graduate who made the decision to come to Towson one year after the program went 1-10 in 2010, is ninth in the CAA in receiving yards per game. Oboh has been a quality starter for two years. Phifer, who also came for the 2011 season, has had an injury plagued senior year but has also been valuable.

Junior Ryan Delaire, who arrived this season from Massachusetts, has made a stamp on the program already, as he is second in the CAA in sacks (8.5) and third in tackles for loss per game (1.25). Brian Dowling, who is also in from UMass, is the team’s third-leading receiver and has taken on punt returning duties since Spencer Wilkins was hurt.

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