If you have been following me for the past two plus years, you know how excited I was that Bubba Starling was in the Nebraska Football program early in 2011. To be honest, I thought he was going to be the man that gave Taylor Martinez a run for his money at the starting position.
Matter of factly, I was called an idiot for thinking that by a few choice people. Hindsight, sure I was wrong about what Taylor would become. But I also thought that Bubba at the time would be at the very least in Omaha, getting ready for the September-ish call up to Kansas City to play for the Royals by now, as we have just passed his 21st birthday.
Well, a lot of people have been wrong about Starling. He has been mired in Class A ball in Lexington, Kentucky for the entire summer. His slash line hasn't been much to talk about after signing a 3 year, $7.5 million dollar contract after being the fifth pick in the 2011 MLB Draft.
With that contract being done after next season and Starling not having a true chance to get to Kansas City after next year, there are choices Bubba has. He can stick with the Royals, sign on with another team, or get out and be the next big Quarterback recruit. With that thought, many think he'll be a Cornhusker again and come back to Lincoln.
That's not happening, and that's not a bad thing at all.
Lets go over the reasons this isn't a bad thing, and you'll see my point.
Nebraska is pretty set at QB for the next 5 plus years: Lets take a thought process at the QB position for Nebraska. You have Tommy Armstrong Jr. as a RS Frosh, Johnny Stanton just arrived in town, and Zack Darlington is going to be arriving next summer. Where do you fit Bubba at in that list, knowing that there are kids who know the playbook way better than he does, AND Bubba hasn't probably touched a football and done a 5 or 7 step drop in three years, AND not having a true QB coach (outside of Ganz, which for all we know may not be in Lincoln)? Plus, who knows if Tim Beck will be in Lincoln, along with Rich Fischer and such. Even if Beck is still in Lincoln, there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen, and I would have to imagine that Bubba wants to start. That leads me to....
Shawn Watson, the man who recruited Bubba to Lincoln, is at Louisville and needs a QB: Lets face it, it was a good thing for both Wats and Nebraska that he left Nebraska when he did. He caught on with Charlie Strong's staff at Louisville, and since taking over the OC reigns, has let his prize pupil Teddy Bridgewater flourish. However, there will come a time that Teddy is gone. When that time comes, the Cards are left with Will Gardner and Kyle Bolin, both decent talents but potential injury issues. The Cards were in the final bunch for former Oklahoma State QB Wes Lunt, however he went to Illinois. With 25 verbals and 0 QB's in this list for Louisville this year, there's a pressing need for a QB that Watson can work with and fits the Cards system. There lies Starling's ideal location to land. However, there is another option in-state that could work out, and that means....
Bubba stays in Lexington and plays for the Kentucky Wildcats: Yes, it's a tired cliche around here that Kentucky is getting kids that should be going to Lincoln instead. However, he does have a SEC school in the same city he is currently residing in. One would think that Vince Marrow at the very least remembers the connection between Watson and Bubba and at least attempts to keep Starling from moving away.I would like to imagine that UK OC Neal Brown would love to coach Starling the Air-Raid, and you would think Bubba would love to go against guys like Patrick Towles and Drew Barker. Starling would be fantastic insurance against Barker not working out. Then again, for any of the above to happen, what first has to happen is....
The Royals give up on Bubba, along with 29 other MLB organizations: There are a lot of people that tell you that Starling is going to be something, but there are a lot other folks using that whole "Bust" terminology. When you're advertised as a four to five tool player and two of those tools are not developing, there isn't much that Lasik surgery can correct with people's minds. There is a possibility that KC's organization simply walks away after three years, and there's just as much of a chance that Bubba and his agent, Scott Boras, find out the market isn't very good for a kid who is averaging at least one strikeout almost every three at bats. Now, could another MLB team take a flier and get him for less money? Of course, but the Starling family could very well realize that Bubba can get a LOI from anyone and everyone that needs a mature QB to take on their offense. Heck, maybe Saban himself has seen what is possible and Starling becomes the next great game manager for Alabama.
Bottom line is this, my friends: If you are a Nebraska fan, it's okay to let Bubba walk. Nebraska's stable of QB's is good for the somewhat distant future, and Bubba won't be hurting for offers or visits from other schools. Now, if Bubba really wants to come back to Lincoln, of course we would take him. However, Bo Pelini and Tim Beck have moved on well at QB, and there are other schools in his current backyard that looks more appealing.
Therefore I say to let Bubba go, and be at peace with it.