Danny Etling saw the writing on the locker room walls inside Ross-Ade Stadium.
The former starting quarterback for the Boilermakers had lost his job midway through last season to Austin Appleby after stumbling through the first five games of the year. Things didn’t look too promising entering fall camp either, as Etling found himself trailing in a three-man race for a spot he had previously owned.
With Appleby and redshirt freshman David Blough putting together strong spring practices and excelling in the Black and Gold spring game in April, it was unlikely that Etling would ever resume his previous duties at the quarterback position in West Lafayette.
Knowing his playing time was in serious jeopardy at Purdue, the Terre Haute native opted to continue his football and academic careers elsewhere.
It was the best option for a kid who struggled to establish a rhythm with the Boilermakers.
Now the question that Etling must address is where he chooses to strap on the shoulder pads.
There’s not been much of an indication of where the quarterback is interested in spending the remainder of his playing days. While Etling certainly has all the necessary qualities to remain at the FBS level and sign with a MAC, Sun Belt or Conference USA caliber squad, a starting job in one of those conferences may not be the ultimate landing spot.
Instead, it’s quite possible that Etling goes the route of former Indiana starting quarterback Tre Roberson and winds up playing for a program in the FCS division.
After the 2013 season, Roberson signed on to play with Brock Spack at Illinois State where he could make an immediate impact.
The former Hoosier gunslinger won the starting job for the Redbirds and led them to a 13-2 record and a trip to the FCS National Championship Game. Roberson completed his junior season throwing for more than 3,000 yards and throwing 30 touchdown passes.
He also eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark on the ground, reaching the end zone 11 times.
Roberson’s success may show some appeal to Etling.
Illinois State may not be Etling’s top choice on his transfer list but a home in the FCS, where he has the potential to dominate the field like his former Indiana counterpart has its perks.
Growing up in Terre Haute, many believe that Indiana State could be a potential program of interest for the 12-game starter in the Big Ten Conference.
Certainly that would garner some attention from the Sycamore fan base. With the program surging in the 2014 season, it may be a legitimate contender in the FCS with its hometown kid under center.
The Sycamores finished last year 8-6 and made it to the second round of the FCS playoffs before being defeated by Chattanooga 35-14 in early December.
With talent returning on both sides of the football next season, Etling could help Indiana State put together a memorable season. Not to mention, he could jump in and make an immediate impact as soon as he arrives on campus.
If he transferred to another FBS team he would be required to sit for one season.
Etling is still early in the process and, at this point, there are no signs pointing to where he may spend the remainder of his career. After throwing for 2,490 yards and 16 touchdowns in 12 games as a starter, it’s evident that the former Boilermaker has the potential to make a similar impact as Roberson is making at Illinois State.
That’s a pretty appealing opportunity for someone looking to find a home. Not to mention, Indiana State will travel to West Lafayette on Saturday, September 12th.