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Grad Transfer Arms Race (Kind Of) Hits Big Ten West

NCAA Football: Nebraska-Press Conference Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

With the news that former Georgia Tech long snapper Trevor Stroebel had joined Northwestern as a graduate transfer, the rest of the Big Ten West quickly moved to snap up their own graduate transfers.

Northwestern's move is widely considered a reaction to Iowa's announcement in February that Ron Coluzzi, formerly of Central Michigan, would be joining the Hawkeyes as a graduate transfer punter. Coluzzi is currently locked in a two-way battle for the Iowa punting job.

This set off a veritable arms race among the other Big Ten West programs.

First, Minnesota football announced that long time University of Texas holder Trey Holtz would be joining the program in a similar capacity. "We know that replacing 2015 Big Ten Holder of the Year Peter Mortell is no easy task," Golden Gophers head coach Tracy Claeys admitted in a Thursday morning press conference, "But we are excited to see what Trey brings to the program." When asked if Holtz, a backup quarterback, would also serve as backup to Mitch Leidner, Claeys hastily ended the press conference.

Wasting no time, Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst took to the podium in Lincoln. Flanked by three boosters and a Scotch-tape-induced-smiling Tom Osborne, Eichorst announced recent Vanderbilt graduate Fitzsimmons Standish III would join the Cornhuskers program as a graduate transfer head coach. Standish, who served as a backup linebacker during his four years in Nashville, graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting.

"Fitzsimmons should bring a great deal of intensity to this program, and we're thrilled to watch this battle and unfold in the remaining weeks of camp," Eichorst said. Mike Riley could not be reached for comment.

Not to be outdone, Wisconsin announced the addition of a graduate transfer quarterback. We at Off Tackle Empire did not have time to corroborate this rumor; we just find it entirely plausible.

Sensing they were falling even farther behind "the school up north," Illinois head coach Lovie Smith released a press statement that the Fighting Illini would add Goal Rilla from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.

When reached by phone and asked why his program was extending a scholarship to a tackling dummy from a Division III school, Smith muttered something incoherent about out-recruiting Northwestern in the Chicagoland area, then noted, "Wes [Lunt] has been doing this thing where he tries to avoid the pass rush. Now, I've been coaching for a long time, and I can tell you that the sensible thing to do if you’re a quarterback is throw into triple coverage or curl up in the fetal position and take the sack. Hopefully Goal can push him to do the latter."

Stay tuned to Off Tackle Empire for all your grad transfer news!

BREAKING [1:02pm, CT]: New Purdue Athletic Director Mike Bobinski has just taken to the podium and West Lafayette to announce a graduate transfer of his own.

"We're pleased to announce that Nigel Williams-Goss, previously of Gonzaga, will be transferring to Purdue," Bobinski said. "We expect he'll provide quite the boost to Coach Painter's backcourt in 2016."

More updates as they break!