Sunday, August 21, 2005

Grady avoids Fresno State once again


Tommy Grady has decided to transfer to Utah, leaving behind Oklahoma. He will sit out this year to fulfill NCAA transfer rules, but will have two years of eligibility left starting in 2006. Utah running back and former USC transfer Darryl Poston was instrumental in getting his former high school teammate to Utah. It is unknown if Fresno State had a legitimate shot at landing Grady. Quarterback Paul Pinegar is a senior and rFr Tom Brandstater is slated to start next year. It seems Grady would have an easier chance to start as a Bulldog than a Ute, considering how deep Utah is at quarterback. Then again Fresno State Head Coach Pat Hill, Pinegar and the Grady family have history together.

Tommy Grady was offered a scholarship early on in his high school years by Hill. Grady's older brother Jeff was Fresno State's starting quarterback in the 2002 opener, but lost his job to rFr Paul Pinegar by way of injury. Jeff was recruited only by Utah State and Fresno State. Hill signed Grady in 1998, but he grayshirted and then backed up Tennessee Titan qb Billy Volek in 1999 and Houston Texan qb David Carr in 2000. Jeff redshirted in 2001 to preserve two years of eligibility after Carr's departure. In 01 he sat in the coaches booth and served as an unofficial quarterback coach. No quarterback in Fresno State's history was as head smart as Jeff Grady. He knew the playbook better than the coaches, but his body lacked bulk to handle every play. Grady was listed as 6-2 195, but actually was barely 6-0 with his shoes on, if you stood next to him. He got hurt during his first start in 2002 at Wisconsin and missed the next two games. He returned to start at Oregon State, but was unable to finish the game due to injury. Pinegar came in to replace him in the second half. Pinegar would then lead the 'Dogs to an upset over #24 Colorado State and eventually to bowl win over Georgia Tech. Grady became healthy mid-season, but Pinegar had already established himself as the starter and the job was his. This had to have made a huge influence on recruiting younger brother Tommy.

Tommy was one the most sought after quarterbacks in 2002-03 as a senior at Edison High in Huntington Beach, Ca. Before his junior year in high school, Fresno State had a legitimate shot at Tommy. The 'Dogs had a magical run to start 01, were ranked in the top 10, and Carr finished fifth in Heisman voting and was the first overall pick in the NFL draft. To top it all off older brother Jeff was going to be Carr's replacement. When Tommy's stock rose, Fresno started to lose ground. Fresno State would not be able to compete with the Oklahoma's of the world. How Pat Hill treated the Grady-Pinegar situation did not help either. How can a coach invest so much time and energy in a quarterback like Grady, only to hand the job over to a rFr. Hill said on many occasions in the spring of 2002 that Grady was the smartest quarterback he had ever coached. Hill stated that although Grady did not posses Carr's arm strength or physical attributes, the 'Dogs would not miss a beat with him as the starter.

Jeff Grady would return to Fresno State in 2003 as senior after debating about transferring to a IAA school. Hill adamantly said Grady was his number one recruit in 2003. Fresno State had no proven qb behind Pinegar to start 03. His return was welcomed after Pinegar was in a car accident in the summer of 03, and eventually tore a pectoral muscle during preseason practice. Pinegar would miss the first six games of 2003. In stepped Grady to face the most intimidating non-conference schedule in Fresno State's history. The 'Dogs would start the season at Tennessee, then host Oregon State, and then complete the hat trick with a trip to number one Oklahoma. In Norman, Jeff would stand opposite of younger brother Tommy, a true freshman backup qb for the Sooners. Jeff got injured, again, in the opener at Tennessee, but he stuck it out starting the first six games. He even lead the 'Dogs to a huge upset over Oregon State, but in the end Hill went back to Pinegar, who was never completely healthy, to finish out 2003.

Is there is any bad blood between the Gradys, Pinegar, Hill, and Fresno State? Jeff can be seen on Fresno State sidelines during practice and games. Tommy, though, has decided to become a Ute, proving he has no love for the Bulldogs.

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