Former Cal QB Ross Bowers, NC State bounceback RB, to NIU

Two former Power 5 players announced that they’re transferring to Northern Illinois.

On Friday, former Cal quarterback Ross Bowers had his commitment posted on Twitter via his dad, and former NC State running back Erin Collins made his commitment to the program Saturday.

Bowers enters NIU as a graduate transfer with his undergraduate days spent at Cal. He only had one full season to show off his talents, but the most important talent of all was doing a front flip into the end zone to avoid two tacklers.

This play happened in 2017 when he was a redshirt-sophomore that played the whole season. Bowers threw for 3,039 yards on 461 attempts (6.6 Y/A), 59% completion on his passes, 18 scores and 12 interceptions. Nothing great, but there was definitely promise in him.

The problem was that the following year, Bowers suffered a thumb injury at about the same time Cal needed a more mobile guy at QB. Bowers was 8 of 17 against North Carolina in the season opener last year, then it was pretty much Chase Garbers’s team the rest of the way.

Childers, whose starting position is now in jeopardy. He’s been the starter the last two years, but his QBR dropped from 126.6 his freshman year to 112.4 last year as a sophomore, his TD-INT ratio dropped from 16-5 to 15-10, and his yards per pass attempt went from 6.3 to 5.5 on 137 more pass attempts. Advantage Bowers.

Running the ball, Childers has 1,004 split between the two years with 11 total TD. Bowers, however, has had only four games total where he came away with positive rushing yardage; -147 yards over his career. Advantage Childers.

NIU’s offense, which was ranked 120th in S&P+ last year, is in desperate need of a facelift. Could Bowers be the guy to help flip things around?

Collins started his collegiate career with NC State as a part of the 2017 signing class where he was a three-star prospect out of Seffner, Fla. (247sports composite: 0.8447). He didn’t see the field as a true freshman because of a suspension.

From The News & Observer in 2017:

RALEIGH — Two N.C. State University freshman football players have been dismissed and three others have been suspended amid an investigation into reports of sexual assaults at a party last month.

No charges have been filed in the case that stems from three reports of sexual assaults at the Wolf Village student-housing complex on July 21. The five football players could face charges related to underage drinking and drugs, but NCSU Police Chief Jack Moorman did not say they are targets of the sexual-assault investigation.

Antoine Thompson and Kevince Brown have been dismissed from the team, while Isaiah Moore, Erin Collins and Xavier Lyas have been suspended for violations of the Student Athlete Code of Conduct, according to head football coach Dave Doeren. (The News & Observer)

TL;DR: Dave Doeren, noted former MAC Championship-winning head coach of NIU, kicked two Wolfpack players off the team, but not Collins (and two more). The running back didn’t transfer out until 11 months after the incident and charges were never filed against him or any of the other four guys.

Collins sat out the 2017 season, then transferred out the following June. Collins then found himself at Hutchinson Community College where he played in three games, had 233 rushing yards on 43 carries (5.4 average) and four touchdowns.

Collins, with redshirt-sophomore eligibility to give, was offered only by NIU last month, and visited Toledo on March 21.

Collins has ridiculous speed to offer at the position — a huge contrast to Tre Harbison’s powerful running which gave him 1,034 rushing yards last year at 5.0 yards per carry. Harbison’s shorter (5-11) and heavier (227 lbs.) than Collins.

If this running back sees the field, good luck containing excitement. NIU’s going to be making a huge overhaul from Mike Uremovich’s playbook o Eric Eidsness’s. The players will have their on-field miscues during the transition, which is to be expected, but if Collins’ speed can help mask any mistakes on that front, he could be an early bright spot for the Huskie offense.

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