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Relegated to fourth string in 2019, BYU quarterback Joe Critchlow enters transfer portal

Redshirt sophomore is graduating this month with a degree in finance and can play immediately as a graduate transfer with two years of college football eligibility remaining

SHARE Relegated to fourth string in 2019, BYU quarterback Joe Critchlow enters transfer portal

Brigham Young Cougars quarterbacks Joe Critchlow and Zach Wilson warm up before a game against the San Diego State Aztecs at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

PROVO — It has been obvious to anyone who has paid attention that BYU’s future plans at quarterback don’t include Joe Critchlow, the redshirt sophomore from Tennessee who went 2-1 as a starter in the final three games of the 2017 season.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Critchlow has entered the NCAA’s transfer portal and almost certainly will leave the program soon.

Critchlow, who has been on an academic scholarship, is graduating with a degree in finance this month and will be immediately eligible to play at his next school as a graduate-transfer. He is married to Sen. Mitt Romney’s granddaughter.

Despite starting those three games two seasons ago when then-starter Tanner Magnum sustained a season-ending Achilles injury, Critchlow didn’t play a single down in 2018 and counted that as his redshirt season.

He was said to be battling redshirt freshman Baylor Romney for the third-string QB position the first half of the season, but when second-stringer Jaren Hall sustained a concussion in the South Florida game, the less-experienced Romney was called upon instead of Critchlow.

Coaches have hinted that Critchlow does not operate the run-pass option (RPO) style as effectively as the other three quarterbacks who have posted wins in their careers. BYU and Central Florida are the only schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision with four quarterbacks on the roster with at least one win as a starter, according to BYU sports information.

Critchlow played in the blowouts over Idaho State and UMass, going 5 for 5 for 58 yards against the Bengals and 4 for 7 for 15 yards against the Minutemen. 

All told, Critchlow completed 57% of his passes for 715 yards and three touchdowns, with four interceptions, in his BYU career.

Romney will be put on scholarship in January, he told the Deseret News two weeks ago. Hall said that same day he plans to continue to pursue his football career, despite sustaining two concussions in a three-week period in the middle of the season.

Quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick said Monday that sophomore Zach Wilson will start in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve against Hawaii, with Hall his primary backup. Romney has been nursing a sore toe (turf toe) and is not quite 100 percent, Roderick said.

It is not clear whether Critchlow will make the trip to the Islands. The Cougars leave on Friday.

BYU’s fourth-string quarterback likely becomes Rhett Reilly, a walk-on from the San Diego area.

Wednesday, the Cougars are expected to sign dual-threat QB Sol-Jay Maiava of Washington, D.C. However, several recruiting experts believe Maiava will play a position other than QB at BYU, given the logjam at the position.