More Thoughts on Wide Receiver Transfer Damore'ea Stringfellow

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Stringfellow abused UCLA as a true freshman, catching eight balls for 147 yards and a touchdown. He'll redshirt at Ole Miss this season.

Like many of you, I was pretty excited when i heard Ole Miss would be receiving a transfer from a big receiver who had just finished his freshman year after being ranked among the top 100 recruits nationally. Then, I heard he had been involved in an altercation in Washington which was the catalyst for his transfer, and I wasn't sure what to think.

If you believe the police report (referenced in this SBNation.com article at the time of the event), Stringfellow and a teammate were simply on the prowl for a Seahawks fan to beat up after Denver lost the Super Bowl big game.

Two people, including one the victim identified as Stringfellow, hopped out of the car and asked him if he was a Seahawks fan before pushing him against some bushes.

Then they began hit him with "multiple punches" to his "left eye, chin, and cheek" before the hopped back in the car and took off, according to the report.

I wanted to hear "the rest of the story," so reached out to Anthony Cassino of UWDawgPound.com for a little more information on Stringfellow and his story, coming from someone who paid close attention to his time at Washington. Anthony didn't believe the situation described above to be so cut and dry, saying:

As for what actually happened on that night, it was a series of bad decisions by both Stringfellow and [UW quarterback] Cyler Miles. In terms of facts though, it's not the most concrete of things, as most of what's documented is a pretty one-sided version of events. The short version is essentially that Cyler Miles was wearing Broncos gear after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, and that led to two separate conflicts with UW fans where Stringfellow stepped in and escalated things. He also broke a girl's camera.

So perhaps they didn't randomly attack some Seahawks fans who were just minding their own business. We don't really know, but whatever happened we can hope that Stringfellow won't duplicate. What we do know is that Stringfellow is a significant talent who left Washington to come to Ole Miss. After a mandatory year on the bench due to NCAA transfer rules, he should see significant time in an Ole Miss uniform. Cassino spoke on Stringfellow's talent as well as what happened for him in the UCLA game.

He's essentially the prototype for a possession receiver. He's big, strong, surehanded, and has enough speed to create separation. There's not much limit on what he could potentially be at the college level. Most people thought that at Washington he'd eventually become an All Pac-12 player before he left for the NFL.
The Husky coaches had done a good job of finding and exploiting weaknesses with their deep receiving corps all year. Normally it would have been Kasen Williams -- a former Parade high school player of the year -- having that kind of dominant game at wideout, but he was injured for the season two weeks before that game, so Stringfellow was seeing more action than usual. The injury to Keith Price and Cyler Miles coming into the game in the second half also helped, as they had worked with each other a ton in practices so there was a greater level of comfort there.

I realize it's beginning to sound like Cassino wrote this article, and I hate to share more direct quotes lest you think I just got really lazy, but his info was too great to not share in Cassino's own words:

What is probably least well know about the sequence of events is why Stringfellow decided to transfer. There would have been a multiple game suspension had he stayed, and there was some blowback from UW fans who weren't happy with him, but those things didn't seem to be enough to make him leave. The real factor was that because the incidents were on campus and involving fellow UW students the University itself was going to take some punitive measures against him, in the form of suspending him for the fall quarter and perhaps longer. That would have meant that had Stringfellow wanted to remain a Husky he'd have had to basically take a year off of football, which is an awful idea for a guy still growing into the college game.

So because of university policy effecting all Washington students, Stringfellow had no choice but to sit out a season (when he would not even be a scholarship player). Better to be on scholarship and get your meals, housing stipends, etc., paid for than the other way around, I imagine.

I'm still not totally sold on Stringfellow, as there seem to have been several minor (and some potentially major) disciplinary problems involving him within the past year, and he'll have to prove over time that he's not, to use lingo from the 1400s, a "bad apple." But the potential for him to be a solid SEC receiver is obviously there.

To get an idea of his ability, I watched the UCLA vs. Washington game on WatchESPN, or at least portions of it. Here's what I'm prepared to say, keeping in mind that the sample size is miniscule:

  1. He does good work rearranging himself when the ball is in the air and not thrown well.
  2. He catches the ball at the first moment he can, often the highest point. Has good hands.
  3. He can block well.
  4. He's faster than he was billed to be. Stringfellow took the top off the defense several times, including a touchdown bomb that was called back for a questionable hands to the face call on an offensive guard.
  5. He will contribute if he can stay on campus and out of trouble.

The UCLA team he abused won the game anyway and finished the year 10-3. His standout performance was against a standout team. Stringfellow is a solid player to unexpectedly have join the team. Corn Nation's Brian Towle said, after learning Stringfellow would not transfer to Nebraska and would instead enroll at Ole Miss,  "it's fair to say that Stringfellow would have been the #1 WR in possibly the entire Big Ten Conference by the time he was able to put Scarlet and Cream on."

Let's hope that's accurate. If so, whoever the new quarterback is after Bo graduates will be throwing to a wealth of talented receivers.

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