FBS or FCS, quarterback Kellen Pagel is a UMass man now
Published: Monday, April 18, 2011, 7:00 AM
AMHERST - While University of Massachusetts football is discussed in terms of what might be, Kellen Pagel is keeping his focus on what is.
"It's no distraction,'' said Pagel, the No. 1 quarterback for a team that might be moving up to Football Bowl Subdivision status soon.
"Whether or not we do ... if it happens, it's an added bonus. But it makes no difference to me.''
Pagel transferred to UMass from Bowling Green of the Mid-American Conference, which UMass might join as a new member if the ugrade occurs.
But that has not happened yet, and it is not why Pagel came to UMass.
"I visited the campus, and I could tell immediately it was a good group of guys,'' he said.
"I like the campus, and I like the East Coast. My mom works in New York.''
Pagel also trusted the coaches. That helped him make a difficult decision.
"Bowling Green is a great university. I did a lot of long, hard thinking before leaving,'' said Pagel, 20, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound sophomore and former Ohio high school star.
Reluctant to leave his teammates, staff and home state, he still faced the fact that limited playing time was not helping his career.
Pagel played one game in 2010. He went 2-for-3 against Michigan, a freshman cameo on the heels of a high school career that netted produced 2,141 yards and 20 touchdown passes.
Once he decided to leave Bowling Green, he said the the choice of where to go was easy.
Pagel is the son of Mike Pagel, an NFL quarterback from 1982-1993 with the Colts, Browns and Rams.
The younger Pagel is taking snaps as the No. 1 quarterback, but UMass coach Kevin Morris said that does not mean he has earned the position.
Asked if a final decision would come during spring practice, Morris said "not necessarily.
"We're looking to see how guys compete. We want to see how the other 10 guys will play for (the starter),'' the coach said.
"We'll see if that happens (in spring).''
For as long as the Minutemen remain in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Pagel is eligible to play in 2011.
If UMass upgrades to the FBS, that becomes a question. UMass can't receive an NCAA ruling on an FBS question until it makes the move.
Either way, Pagel has three years of eligiblity left. Because he played in one game last year, he did not use up his redshirt year.
If UMass moves up, and Pagel is required to sit out a year (as is customary when a player transfers from one FBS program to another), he could redshirt in 2011 and keep his three years.
Since UMass was an FCS team when he arrived, it's also possible he'll be ruled eligible for 2011.
UMass also has redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Hill, who is just coming back from a foot injury, and second-year junior college transfer Ian Shultis. Whoever runs the team will operate a run-first offense that relies on play-action as opposed to the riskier brand of deep downfield passing.
"That's always been my style of play,'' Pagel said.
"Sometimes you've got to take a chance, but usually, you take what the defense gives you.''