Former Nebraska and North Carolina State quarterback Harrison Beck will transfer to Division II North Alabama, becoming Terry Bowden's first quarterback in his new job.
Beck, once a highly touted prospect, started a handful of games at N.C. State the past two seasons after he had transferred from Nebraska following the 2005 season.
With one year of eligibility remaining, Beck is limited by an NCAA rule that allows such players to transfer only below the Division I-AA level, or to NAIA. Beck said he preferred to stay in Raleigh to graduate before moving to North Alabama in the spring.
Bowden was looking for a difference-making quarterback in his first season in Florence, Ala. The Lions finished 12-2 last season, losing in the semifinals of the Division II playoffs. Outgoing quarterback A.J. Milwee, a three-year starter, finished second in the Harlan Hill Trophy voting as a senior.
"I do want to get into coaching," Beck said. "I know a lot of his former guys have gone on to become offensive coordinators, that type of thing. The thing that's most appealing about Coach Bowden is there's only one other coach I felt 100 percent comfortable with. It was him and (former Nebraska offensive coordinator) Jay Norvell.
"I feel like it's the first time since then I can be myself."
Norvell is now an assistant at Oklahoma.
Bowden, out of coaching for 10 years, is determined to make a big and quick splash in Division II. Bobby Bowden's son is best known for leading Auburn to 20 consecutive victories before an acrimonious split in 1998. Former Terry Bowden quarterbacks Jimbo Fisher, Pat Nix and Dameyune Craig have all gone on to become offensive coordinators.
"I want to coach football, and the opportunity to learn from coach Bowden is something I couldn't pass up," Beck said.
Other random thoughts from Beck:
D&E: It's been a while, obviously you are among those who remember Coach Bowden as a coach?
HB: "I'm kind of weird. I remember. My world is kind of consumed by what's going on in the sport.
"It was nice to have the feeling against with Coach Bowden. He's got that personality where he's talking a mile a minute.
"It was kind of like, 'Am I ever going to get the chance to play again?' I'm calling every coach in the book I know, trying to get a GA spot. Just through the grapevine I hear Coach Bowden was looking for a quarterback.
D&E: Where else did you look?
HB: "To be honest I didn't have that many options. I'm not trying to be one of those kids who graduates and lives with Mommy and Daddy. I wanted to get this thing going. I'm going to get to play football again. I'll able to be a GA afterwards. I'm killing two birds with one stone.
"When you sit there and think about the logistics of it, the Bowdens are pretty much the football family of the South. I can go down there and play, have success and win for them, maybe become a coach. Maybe hop on that train and hang on for a while."
D&E: What about your experience since high school? You were a five-star recruit coming out.
HB: "It's not what I set out to have happen when I left high school. People will say, 'Oh, he keeps going to different places.' I 'm going to where I have a chance to play. I don't think it's because of my ability.
"The thing about the quarterback position people don't understand is the common denominator is they're (successful ones) in the places where it's the perfect storm for them ... Maybe I didn't hit mine right out of the gate. I'm still looking to find that. I hope I found it."
"I'm as confident as ever. I don't care what some chemistry student on PackPride.com is going to say about me. People romanticize football. It has a bigger meaning to them than it actually is. I put in hard work and I'm dedicated to it. I'm not concerned with how other people (perceive me). I'm all about gripping and ripping it. I enjoy playing. I like playing the game. I don't care about statistics."