Philadelphia, PA – When Mike Kramer took over the Idaho State football program, he was aware of the holes and deficiencies that had plagued the Bengals' offense the past couple seasons.
Averaging just 226 yards of total offense (including 170 through the air) last season, it would have been understandable if the Bengals once again struggled to move the ball.
However, the former Eastern Washington and Montana State coach found a quick fix: the transfer market.
Bringing in such transfers as quarterback Kevin Yost (Glendale Community College) and wide receivers Anthony Boyles (Washington) and Derek Graves (San Joaquin Delta College), the Bengals quickly went from one of the worst passing attacks in the nation to the third-best (345.5 ypg) in the FCS this season.
While Yost's favorite target, Rodrick Rumble, may not be a transfer, he relies heavily on Graves (31 catches, 254 yards) and Boyles (23 catches, 282 yards), giving perhaps the best example of how the FCS level can be a perfect win-win situation for transfers.
Not only does the FCS provide players from junior colleges, like Yost and Graves, an opportunity to continue their careers, but the level also allows former FBS players to switch schools and not miss a season.
Across the country, Towson and quarterback Grant Enders are witnessing the symbiotic relationship of a successful transfer. The sophomore from Lackawanna (Pa.) College has taken the reins of a revitalized Tigers program, winning his first four starts.
Other quarterbacks new to the FCS level also have made a splash this season. Western Illinois' Josh Hudson (transfer from College of Siskiyous), Bethune- Cookman's Jamarr Robinson (Maryland), Texas State's Shaun Rutherford (Blinn Community College) and UTSA's Eric Soza (Texas State) have all started and succeeded at their new program.
Of course, quarterback isn't the only position to benefit from the transfer market.
Former Georgia running back Washaun Ealey has found new life at Jacksonville State (94 ypg), while Southern Illinois' Jewel Hampton (98.2 ypg) has provided an added spark to the Salukis after transferring from Iowa.
On defense former FBS players Austin Graves (Washington State to Idaho State), Corey Hart (Marshall to Alabama A&M), Dan Mulrooney (Boston College to Stony Brook), Clarence Jackson (Ole Miss to Jacksonville State), Clarence Bumpas (Kansas State to Northern Colorado) and Ryan McMahon (Southern California to Sacramento State) have all made immediate impacts and amongst their team's leaders for tackles.
For some players a transfer can be a chance to be closer to home and his young family, like St. Francis' A.J. Alexander, who left Florida State, or a chance to continue a football career that might have been derailed by off-field issues.
The following is a list of FCS transfers (in no particular order) who are making an immediate impact in their first year at a new school:
Grant Enders, Towson, QB (Lackawanna College): The sophomore has won all four starts for the Tigers, has completed 59-of-72 passes for 712 yards and five touchdowns.
A.J. Alexander, St. Francis (Pa), WR (Florida State): Has hauled in 18 passes for 234 yards and a pair of touchdowns, numbers which would likely be higher if St. Francis had a more consistent passing attack.
Mike Berry, Southern, WR (Copiah Lincoln Community College): An explosive wide receiver, Berry has caught 23 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns.
Tray Robinson, Montana State, RB (Nebraska): Not the go-to guy in the Bobcats' offense, but has been a consistent ball-carrier (4.6 ypc) and safety-valve receiver out of the backfield (6 catches, 98 yards).
Kevin Yost, Idaho State, QB (Glendale Community College): Leads an explosive passing offense (345.5 ypg) and rarely turns the ball over despite being amongst the FCS' leaders in pass attempts (273).
Anthony Boyles, Idaho State, WR (Washington): A former defensive back at Washington, Boyles give Yost a reliable receiver. Has caught 23 passes for 282 yards this season.
Derek Graves, Idaho State, WR (San Joaquin Delta College): Targeted often in the Bengals' attack (8.2 cpg), Graves gives Idaho State a third sure-handed receiver (Boyles and Rodrick Rumble).
Jewel Hampton, Southern Illinois, RB (Iowa): Averaging just under 100 yards (98.2 ypg) yards and more than a touchdown a game, Hampton has been a welcome addition to the Salukis' offense.
Josh Hudson, Western Illinois, QB (College of Siskiyous): Second in the Missouri Valley Conference in pass efficiency (156.7), Hudson has done a good job of stepping up and running the Leathernecks' offense.
Jamarr Robinson, Bethune-Cookman, QB (Maryland): While he has been part of a timeshare under center, Robinson has scored eight total touchdowns (four rushing, four passing) this season.
Rodney Scott, Bethune-Cookman, RB (Mississippi): A quick back, Scott has been impressive both running (5.72 ypc) and catching the ball out of the backfield (9.18 ypr).
Eric Soza, UTSA, QB (Texas State): Soza left Texas State to play for Larry Coker and the Roadrunners. Little did he know he'd be one of the few offensive threats (1,270 yards, 8 TDs) for the first-year program.
Shaun Rutherford, Texas State, QB (Blinn Community College): A dual-threat quarterback, Rutherford has done a good job of managing games for Texas State.
Washaun Ealey, Jacksonville State, RB (Georgia): Used to playing in the run- oriented, grind-it-out SEC, Ealey has sped away from defenders at the FCS level (94 ypg).
Tyler McFarlane, Lafayette, LB (Bucknell, Hofstra): Before this season, McFarlane had yet to play in a game since 2007. Making up for lost time, he has 32 tackles and is a leader on the defense.
Austin Graves, Idaho State, DL (Washington State): One of the Bengals' best defensive players, Graves has 21 tackles (including six for a loss) this season.
Montay Rover, Alabama A&M, DL (Scottsdale Community College): Making the transition to the FCS has been a breeze for Rover, bagging 24 tackles.
Walt Aikens, Liberty, DB (Illinois): A former All-Big 10 freshman, Aikens left Illinois after sitting out most of his sophomore year. He has three interceptions this season.
Dan Mulrooney, Stony Brook, DB (Boston College): Didn't play much at BC, but has made his presence known at Stony Brook, collecting 27 tackles, an interception and recovering a fumble.
Clarence Jackson, Jacksonville State, LB (Mississippi): In what seemed like a "If you can't beat them, join them" move, Jackson joins the Gamecocks after playing in four games for Ole Miss, including a loss to his new team.
Joseph LeBeau, Jackson State, DL (Arkansas Baptist Community College): A force on the Tigers' line, Lebeau has recorded 40 tackles, 12.5 for a loss and nine sacks.
Clarence Bumpas, Northern Colorado, LB (Kansas State): Leading his team with 76 tackles, Bumpas has controlled the middle of the field for Northern Colorado.
Ryan McMahon, Sacramento State, DB (Southern California): After spending three seasons getting limited playing time at USC (nine tackles as a sophomore), McMahon has thrived at strong safety for the Hornets (team-high 56 tackles).
Ian Davidson, Hampton, DL (Maryland): Not only has Davidson posted an impressive 24 tackles this season, but he also blocked Alabama A&M's potential game-winning field goal in Week 1.
Evan Frierson, Illinois State, LB (Illinois): After a strong freshman season at Illinois, Frierson recorded just nine stops last season for the Illinois. This season, the new Redbird has 31 tackles, including seven for a loss.
Theon Dixon, Western Illinois, LB (Ball State): After only seeing time in the final three games of his sophomore season at Ball State last year, Dixon joined the Leathernecks and has recorded 32 tackles.
Tierney Yates, Morgan State, DL (Bakersfield College): Despite missing a pair of games, Yates has 32 tackles while forcing two turnovers this season (one interception, one fumble).
Michael Chocholousek, Charleston Southern, LB (Glendale Community College): Averaging 5.4 tackles per game, Chocholousek has been one of the better linebackers in the Big South.
Dough Johnson, Rhode Island, LB (Dean College): After leading one of the best junior college defenses in the country at Dean College, Johnson has impressed in his first year with the Rams (38 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 3 sacks).
Dorian Bell, Duquesne, LB (Ohio State): Part of the fallout at Ohio State, Bell joined the Dukes and was instated in time for Week 5. In just two games, he has 15 tackles.
Travis Hawkins, Delaware, DB (Maryland): Breaking up nine passes and intercepting two more, Hawkins has been a rock in the Blue Hens' secondary.
Grant Clayton, Coastal Carolina, K (Louisiana-Monroe): Going two seasons without attempting a kick in a game, Clayton has converted on 6-of-7 field goals for the Chanticleers.