Kent State football has been rough.
Over the last five years, the team has won just 14 games, which calculates to 2.8 wins per season.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what has gone wrong. Is Kent State not a hot destination for recruits? Or maybe it’s because the Mid-American Conference is viewed as borderline Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level of play?
These are not my words, but the thoughts of concerned fans (whom I believe to be incorrect).
However, the university did respond to these critics by firing Paul Haynes, who had to take an assistant job at Michigan State, because head coaching jobs are far and slim.
I don’t like to dwell on the past. Instead, I want to recite the glory days of the program.
It may be hard to remember for some, but at one point, Kent State was known as “Quarterback U.” This is because of the team’s former quarterbacks becoming stars at the next level.
There are a lot to name, so I will only highlight some:
First up, Joshua Cribbs.
Cribbs played quarterback at Kent State for four seasons. During that time, he lead the team in passing and rushing yards. He would go undrafted and signed by the Cleveland Browns, which as we know, is not a place for quarterbacks.
So, he made the tactical decision to be a wide reciever and return specialist. He was amazing at what he did, but the Browns couldn’t help but put Cribbs at his natural position in the Wildcat formation. One must wonder if he could have been the Browns’ quarterback solution, if he didn’t strive to be a Hall of Fame return specialist.
Then, there’s Julian Edelman. He would have to fill the huge shoes left by Cribbs, and that he did.
He broke Cribb’s rushing record at Kent State and found himself drafted by the New England Patriots in the 7th round. We all know who owns the quarterback position in Foxborough, but Edelman shines at the positions when needed.
Here’s more of a hypothetical: Antonio Gates.
It’s hard to believe that arguably one of the best football players in program history didn’t actually play football for Kent State. As a basketball player, he led the Golden Flashes to the Elite Eight, a record for the program. As an NFL player he excels at tight end, but I know if we had him on the football team, he’d flourish as a dual-threat quarterback.
He will no doubt be a Hall of Fame pro and one of the biggest “what if”s for Kent State football.
Jake Adams is a guest columnist. Contact him at [email protected]