Last fall, the CSU football team dealt with a problematic situation on offense, a dilemma that pitted two very different quarterbacks against one another in competition for the starting role.
Sophomore D.J. Busch, who started the first three games before losing the spot to fellow sophomore Bradlee Van Pelt, decided after the football season ended in December that Colorado State was the not the program for him. Busch opted not to return and withdrew from CSU prior to the spring semester.
“I just felt this was the best for me to do, to move on,” said Busch, who is currently back home in Santee, Calif. “It was almost like bad timing for me all last season.”
Prior to last season, head coach Sonny Lubick and his staff refused to name the starting quarterback until right before the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown between CSU and instate rival University of Colorado. Lubick called upon Busch, who backed up Matt Newton during the 2000 season, before the game, which the Rams lost 41-14.
Busch started the following two games, an easy 35-18 win over Nevada and a frustrating 14-7 loss to San Diego State, before Lubick decided a change was needed. Busch, a prototypical dropback pocket passer, calmly accepted the demotion, while the scrambly, option-running Van Pelt took over as the Rams’ play caller.
Busch relieved Van Pelt in the Rams’ fourth game, a 42-14 blowout of Wyoming, but would not play for the remainder of the regular season. His last time on the field in a CSU uniform was again in relief of Van Pelt during the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 18, 2001 when the Rams blew past North Texas, 45-20.
Busch said he has been contacting Ivy League schools, and has spoken with the football coaches at Cornell, Harvard and Yale. Ivy League schools are Division 1-AA, which would allow Busch to play upon transferring; Division 1-A schools, such as CSU, require that transfer athletes redshirt a year before playing.
Busch claimed his talks with Cornell were very promising.
“I’m just waiting for recruiting, scholarship decision and the signing period to end before deciding on anything,” Busch said.
Van Pelt, perhaps one of the most exciting players CSU football has ever fielded, will likely return as the starting quarterback for CSU when the Rams start spring ball in late March. However, freshman Justin Holland, a Bear Creek High School product and one of the most heralded recruits in CSU history, has impressed the coaches during his redshirt season and will be given ample opportunity to challenge Van Pelt.
Lubick, along with senior wideout Pete Rebstock, is in Hawaii for the annual Hula Bowl and was unavailable for comment. n