Rising redshirt junior Ozzie Mann’s book as a starting quarterback for the Ball State Cardinals closed before he had a chance to get through reading the first chapter.
Mann, who backed up current Baltimore Ravens quarterback Keith Wenning in 2013, announced that he would be transferring on Monday morning. It didn’t take long for him to find a landing spot, either, as the Muncie native reportedly revealed his plans to NAIA Georgetown College in Kentucky later that evening.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” Mann told Ben Breiner of The Star Press on Monday. “I guess you kind of just wake up one day and you decide after thinking about it forever, you decide to take action. And when you take action, you hope it’s the right decision.
“You kind of just wake up after thinking about it for so long.”
This likely comes in wake of coach Pete Lembo’s decision to give redshirt sophomore Jack Milas most of the first-team reps during spring practice. Milas, who replaced Mann as the team’s starter following a 1-4 start last season, completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,302 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions. That includes a 300-yard, four-touchdown performance against Western Michigan in his first collegiate start.
Despite being benched midseason, Mann still finished 116-of-197 (58.9 percent) for 1,281 yards, 10 touchdowns and just two picks.
“Went through the spring and I wasn’t too happy with where I sat on the depth chart,” Mann said. “So I thought I’d do something about it.
“I thought about it, I prayed about it for a while, you just kind of have to face it and make a decision on your own.”
Georgetown College, a private liberal arts Christian school in Georgetown, KY, competes in the Mid-South Conference as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), which is smaller than the NCAA, but comparable to Division II level competition.
Mann joins a Tigers team that is looking to replace a senior quarterback that threw for nearly 250 yards per game and 20 touchdowns in 2014, en route to an 8-3 record and NAIA Football Championship Series appearance. He will have two years of eligibility, meaning he will have the chance to return to the FBS for one final season if he chooses to in 2016.
“We want to thank Ozzie for his hard work and for representing our program in a first class manner,” Lembo said in a statement. “Depth chart decisions are never easy, but they need to be made. Ozzie has our full support and we will do whatever we can to help him with this next step in his career.”
If anything, this has an affect on Ball State’s depth at the position, but you can’t blame Mann—a former two-star prospect for the recruiting class of 2012—for acknowledging the writing on the wall and still having the urge to lead under center. With the growing number of competing quarterbacks on the depth chart, including incoming three-star Riley Neal, it was almost inevitable that one of them would be gone by the regular season opener.
Besides, Jack Milas has been on the radar for awhile now, and looks to be the Cardinals’ best bet when it comes to competing in a tough MAC West.