It appears there won’t be a quarterback controversy at the University of Maine next season, after all.
Chris Ferguson, who was the Black Bears’ starter for 2 1/2 seasons before suffering a season-ending injury last month, has announced his intention to transfer.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior on Monday told Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports that he plans to depart UMaine as a graduate transfer and play elsewhere next fall.
That means he will have completed his undergraduate course work prior to competing for another team in what would be his fifth and final season of eligibility.
He indicated in the story that he hopes to hook on with a Football Bowl Subdivision team so he can test himself against a higher level of competition and continue to grow as a player.
UMaine is in the lower Football Championship Subdivision in which teams are limited to a maximum of 63 full scholarships, 22 fewer than the FBS limit.
“Forever grateful for my time at Maine. I wanna’ thank my teammates and coaches for all they have done for me,” Ferguson said on his Twitter account. “They know I’ve given everything to them and our program. I’m trusting God through it all and His path.”
Ferguson was one of the UMaine captains this season but his season ended prematurely when on Oct. 12 he suffered a foot injury that required surgery in the 24-17 loss to Richmond.
He was replaced by true freshman Joe Fagnano, who actually put up better numbers than Ferguson and led UMaine to a four-game winning streak that enabled it to climb back into FCS playoff contention.
However, a 28-10 loss at New Hampshire on Saturday ended the Black Bears’ playoff hopes.
Ferguson, who is more of a drop-back passer, went 2-4 in his six starts and completed 57.7 percent of his passes (116-for-201) for 1,655 yards. He threw eight touchdown passes and was intercepted eight times.
Ferguson quarterbacked the Black Bears to a Colonial Athletic Association championship and the program’s first ever appearance in the FCS semifinals a year ago.
He threw eight touchdown passes in UMaine’s three FCS playoff games including five in the victory over Jacksonville State. He wound up completing 209 of 371 passes for 2,372 yards and 22 TDs. He was intercepted 11 times.
Ferguson ranks sixth in UMaine history with 6,091 career passing yards. He completed 496 of 885 passes (56 percent) and threw 46 TD passes while being intercepted 30 times.
Fagnano completed 121 of 184 passes (65.8 percent) for 1,835 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. He was intercepted just three times.
Fagnano was also more of a dual threat quarterback than Ferguson as he carried the ball 86 times for 192 yards.
UMaine went 4-2 in his six starts.