Transfers from BCS football program to BCS football program are rare. Even more rare for them to come immediately before the start of the new season, but that is exactly what happened for former four star wider receiver D'Vario Montgomery.
Montgomery is leaving South Florida after playing as a true freshman last year and is bringing his talents to Ames to play wide receiver with former high school teammate, and starting quarterback, Sam Richardson. Montgomery had a quiet 2012 with only six catches for 65 yards. However, Montgomery spent most of the season banged up and unable to contribute like former coach Skip Holtz had hoped. Montgomery will redshirt in Ames this season and be able to play in 2014 and have three years of eligibility remaining. Here's Richardson talking about what it was like playing with Montgomery in high school (via Ames Tribune);
Naturally Iowa State fans are salivating at lining up Montgomery and incoming four star recruit Allen Lazard across from each other. While this is definitely a strong possibility there are two things to consider here before dreaming of record setting passing numbers from Richardson and the Iowa State offense in 2014.
First, do not discount would be junior Quenton Bundrage. Bundrage plays the Z role currently and is widely regarded as the top target in the offense. When Lazard and Montgomery start competing for spots in the offense it's likely they fall into the Z or X role. That means someone is competing with Bundrage, or even all three are competing for two starting spots. Bundrage will have the leg up in experience in both the offense and with Richardson and it would take a lot to unseat him. More so if he has a breakout year like some hope.
Second, we have seen plenty of four star busts before. Sedrick Johnson comes to mind from the Chizik Era and the transfer of heralded running back Bo Williams never materialized to anything more than a long run against Texas A&M in 2009. High school players can get by on talent alone more often than not and a number of them struggle with the commitment it takes to be a top flight Division I player. I won't go as far as to say that Lazard or Montgomery will be busts, but if one of them ends up in a role player role and only playing 20 snaps/game in 2014 I would not be surprised.
All that said, this is a great problem to have. Competition breeds success and a guy with Montgomery's physical tools joining the team will surely push everyone from Bundrage down to P.J. Harris for serious playing time.
For more on D'Vario, here's what Ryan T. Smith, who writes at SB Nation's USF site Voodoo Five (and is somehow also an Iowa State fan) has to say about him.
I wish I could give a full scouting report on D'Vo, but unfortunately USF fans haven't as much of him as we would've liked. He was one of the jewels of Skip Holtz's otherwise uninspiring recruiting classes and was talented enough to play right away as a true freshman. He didn't make too much of an impact-- just six receptions on the season-- but that's more to do with him being hurt and the Bulls having issues at QB than anything else.
Everyone figured that he'd be a big part of the team's receiving corps this season with a year of experience under his belt, but the coaches never really seemed to mention him in the spring, passing him over for guys who were 5'5" and walk-ons (not an exaggeration). Most fans-- myself included-- were pretty surprised when he transferred out so close to the start of the season, but it retrospect it really seems like it was a long time coming. You know how fans are-- we see a 6'5", 4-star receiver and automatically assume he'll be the second coming, but whether it was injuries or the coaching change or something else, Montgomery never seemed to click in his short time here and no one really took the time to notice that because OMG SIX FOOT FIVE RECEIVER.
I'm pretty thrilled about him picking ISU-- first because I love ISU, but second because it seems like just about the best fit for D'Vo there could be. To be fair, "highly touted recruit isn't motivated/gets no playing time and transfers" is a pretty common storyline that usually doesn't end that well (Bo Williams comes to mind), but I think Montgomery's case genuinely seems like a kid just making the wrong college choice. I think a year off to learn the offense and get reacquainted with Sam Richardson will do him well. If he comes out motivated in 2014, I really think he can be one of the best receivers the Cyclones have had in quite some time, and the thought of he and Allen Lazard together is genuinely frightening. But that's a decent-sized "if".