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Who, What, When: Texas State

Who?
Chase Harper

Position
Tight end

Projected Role
Starter, 20-30 catches

It’s rare that a player of Chase Harper’s caliber falls to the F.C.S. level. It’s only slightly less rare – not common, but it happens – to see a player like Harper tumble down to the lower levels of the F.B.S., which is where he finds himself after Texas State prepares for its move into the WAC this fall. As a JUCO transfer two years ago, Harper verbally committed to Nebraska, turning down scholarship offers from Miami (Fla.), among others, but ran into the sort of academic issues that brought a program like Texas State into the picture. While certainly behind San Jose State’s Ryan Otten, who is one of the most underappreciated players in college football, Harper may very well be the second-best tight end in the WAC.

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    No. 121: Texas State

    He’s a wanderer. Brian Kelly’s been a head coach at four different stops, starting at Grand Valley State in 1991. Todd Graham’s had four head coaching jobs since 2006, two of which, Rice and Pittsburgh, lasted a single season. Nick Saban’s had four jobs, each on the F.B.S. level: Toledo, Michigan State, L.S.U. and Alabama. Jerry Kill has had five, beginning with Saginaw Valley State in 1994 and continuing at Minnesota, where he’s about to enter his second season. Dennis Franchione sees your four, smiles knowingly at your five, and raises you all the way to eight, if you count Texas State twice. Southwestern, in Kansas, from 1981-82. Pittsburg State, also in Kansas, from 1985-89. Texas State — part one — from 1990-91. New Mexico from 1992-97. T.C.U. from 1998-2000. Alabama from 2001-2. Texas A&M from 2003-7. Then break, then back to Texas State — part two — in time for last season. He’s a wanderer. The Bobcats hope that Franchione, in his second go-round, has decided to make himself a permanent home.

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      A Meet and Greet With the New Guys

      Three more teams will join the F.B.S. in 2012, with a fourth, South Alabama, entering its second and final year transitioning upwards from the F.C.S. to the Sun Belt. Massachusetts will join the MAC, taking a spot in the East division and giving the league two even, seven-team divisions; Bowling Green will move to the West, a move that makes sense on multiple levels. Texas State and Texas-San Antonio — the former run by Dennis Franchione, the latter by former Miami (Fla.) head coach Larry Coker — will join the WAC, helping that conference make up for the loss of Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii to the Mountain West.

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        The Countdown

        A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.