Heralded grad transfer QB picks Marshall over Tennessee, Baylor

Can QB <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/254199/" data-ylk="slk:Alex Thomson">Alex Thomson</a> go from tiny Wagner to the NFL? Phil Simms thinks so.
Can QB Alex Thomson go from tiny Wagner to the NFL? Phil Simms thinks so.

Graduate transfer quarterback Alex Thomson plans to play next fall at Marshall University, he told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday night. Thomson informed the school of his decision and said he plans to sign a financial aid agreement to attend the school on Wednesday.

Thomson, 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, is a former star at FCS Wagner College and picked Marshall over Baylor and Tennessee. He’s considered an NFL talent, as both 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello and former NFL star Phil Simms both have publicly pegged Thomson as a sure-fire NFL player.

Thomson took official visits to both Marshall and Baylor and said the decision to go to Marshall came, in part, because of the position the program is in to win right away. (Tennessee was offering a blueshirt, which meant he couldn’t officially visit and wouldn’t be on scholarship until the first practice of summer camp.)

Marshall went 8-5 last season with a bowl victory over Colorado State. Thomson said the Marshall coaching staff pitched him on playing with nine returning starters on offense. “I just think Marshall is the best fit for me,” Thomson told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday night. “I had great communication with the coaching staff. I can see myself winning a conference championship there.”

Thomson was impressed with new Marshall offensive coordinator, Tim Cramsey, who came from Sam Houston State. Last season, Cramsey’s offense led the FCS in scoring offense (43.3) by nearly five points per game and total offense (538.1) by nearly 15 yards per game. Quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe led the nation in passing yards per game (357.4).

Marshall’s multiple offense will include no-huddle looks, RPOs and dropbacks out of the shotgun. Thomson thrived as a dropback quarterback at Wagner, where in 2016 he threw for 16 touchdowns, 2,436 yards and just five interceptions.

Scangarello served as his offensive coordinator there in 2016 and told Yahoo Sports last month he has “no doubt” that Thomson is an NFL quarterback. “He’s just scratching the surface as a player,” he said. “He’s as good as the backup quarterbacks in the NFL right now.”

Thomson will be studying toward his MBA at Marshall. He will graduate from Wagner with a degree in finance this spring and will be immediately eligible for the 2018 season at Marshall. He expects to have two years of eligibility remaining, as he missed his freshman season with a PCL injury and played only two games in 2017 because of a shoulder injury.

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