Keith Nichol says he will transfer

Backup quarterback Keith Nichol has decided to transfer from the University of Oklahoma. Nichol made the announcement on a radio morning show in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to the Grand Rapids Press. Nichol’s decision was later confirmed in an OU press release issued Friday afternoon.

“We had a good conversation with Keith and certainly understand his desire to seek an opportunity in another program,” said OU coach Bob Stoops in a statement released by the school. “He knows that we are supportive of him under any circumstance, whether it’s here or at a different school. We want what’s best for him.”

Nichol arrived at OU as one of the nation’s top recruits. But he lost a battle for the starting job last season to Sam Bradford, who will be a sophomore next season and appears entrenched in the starting quarterback role at OU. Bradford led the nation in passing efficiency last year and set an NCAA freshman record, with 36 touchdown passes.

Nichol would have been a sophomore at Oklahoma
next season and previously had said he planned to stay with the Sooners. If he transfers to another Division I-A school, he will have to sit out one season. Because he hasn’t used a redshirt year, he could play three seasons at another school.

Nichol appeared in three games for the Sooners last year — against Tulsa, Utah State and North Texas. He completed 2-of-7 passes for 15 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. He had three carries for 13 yards.

During a March interview about his future at OU, Nichol said, “I’m here to compete. I’m not going to back down. If I had to transfer, I would have to compete for a starting spot. I’m not going to sit here and just compete for a second, third or fourth. I’m here for the top.”

Nichol didn’t specify where he would transfer, according to a report online from the Grand Rapids Press, which quoted from Nichol’s interview on WBBL AM 1340. Nichol is from Lowell, Mich.

“You gotta cut your losses sometimes and move on with your life,” the Grand Rapids Press quoted Nichol as saying during his radio interview.

Before choosing Oklahoma, Nichol had previously given a non-binding verbal commitment to Michigan State. But after a coaching change at that school, Nichol signed with Oklahoma.

After losing the starting job to Bradford, Nichol competed with Joey Halzle for the second-team position but also lost that job. Last season when Bradford was injured early in a loss to Texas Tech, Halzle played the rest of the game.

During spring drills, which concluded last month, it appeared that Nichol would remain third team on the depth chart.

“Keith worked very hard while he was here and put forth all the effort our coaches could expect,” Stoops said. “He contributed to our program with his character and dedication. Keith leaves with our appreciation and best wishes and we will do what we can to make this an easy transition for him.”

Nichol graduated a semester early from high school and arrived at OU in January of 2007 in an attempt to win the starting job.

The Sooners’ quarterback job was getting more competitive. OU signed highly recruited Landry Jones in the 2008 signing class. Jones enrolled at OU early and is on the roster.