STILLWATER, Okla. – Eight months ago, Wes Lunt became the first true freshman quarterback to start an Oklahoma State season opener in 62 years.
On Thursday, he announced he was transferring, narrowing the Cowboys’ quarterback battle to a two-man race between fifth-year senior Clint Chelf and redshirt sophomore J.W. Walsh.
“This was not a decision I took lightly, but it is a decision that I felt was right for me,” Lunt said in a statement released by the university. “I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the entire Oklahoma State University community.”
The 6-foot-5 Lunt was a big-armed, four-star prospect fresh out of Rochester, Ill., when he won the right to replace Brandon Weeden last season. In his first two games, Lunt was 48-of-71 passing for 565 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions, but he suffered a dislocated knee cap on the sixth play of the Week 3 game against Louisiana-Lafayette.
In a Week 8 loss to Kansas State, Lunt suffered a concussion and did not take another snap until the late stages of OSU’s 58-14 Heart of Dallas romp over Purdue. Overall, Lunt made five starts, completing 81-of-131 attempts for 1,108 yards with six TDs and seven interceptions.
Given the quality performances Chelf and Walsh provided in his absence — WVU can attest to Chelf’s bullpen ability — Lunt seemed to sense he was not the frontrunner to win the job. During spring, he told The Daily Oklahoman he would be open to redshirting next season if he wasn’t chosen as the starter.
Another factor behind Lunt’s transfer could the offseason departure of Cowboys quarterbacks coach Todd Monken, who left to become the head coach at Southern Miss. Monken took the lead in recruiting Lunt to Stillwater.
“It was definitely tough just because I had built a relationship with him, but that’s college football,” Lunt said this spring. “Everyone wants to be a head coach, that’s kind of the gig. I understand it completely, and good for Coach Monken.”
Lunt, who must sit out the 2013 season if he transfers to another FBS program, held offers coming out of high school from the likes of Wisconsin, Michigan State, Louisville, Virginia and Vanderbilt. With his pocket-passing skills, he should have no problem finding another major-college home, though it bears watching to see if he’ll consider reuniting with Monken at Southern Miss.