Cade Pribula said the past three years have taught him he’s more than just a football player.
Still, he has a strong desire to play the game. And that led to him deciding a change was necessary.
The 2019 Central York graduate and University of Delaware quarterback announced Monday afternoon that he’s entered the NCAA transfer portal with three years of eligibility remaining. Players in the portal have the option to remain at their current school, but Pribula plans to seek an opportunity elsewhere.
After entering the portal Friday, Pribula said he already has scholarship offers from other Division I FCS programs but declined to disclose them until after those schools inform their current quarterbacks.
Pribula’s reason for transferring is simple: Current Delaware starting quarterback Nolan Henderson has been granted a medical redshirt after missing the final seven games last season with an abdominal injury and still has another additional year of eligibility that was extended to all NCAA athletes due to the COVID -19 pandemic. That could keep the fifth-year senior in Delaware’s lineup for two more seasons.
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Having already spent three years at Delaware, Pribula wants to become a starter sooner than his sixth season of college football. He’s also already earned his undergrad degree in finance and will be eligible to play immediately at his next school as a graduate transfer.
“I miss the feeling of leading a team,” Pribula said. “It’s tough when you don’t play. I just want to get back on the field again.”
It’s possible Pribula could follow a similar path to Henderson and eventually become a seventh-year college player. He missed most of this past season with an undisclosed injury and can apply for a medical redshirt. He already redshirted his first year, which gives him two years of standard eligibility along with a third year due to COVID. A medical exception would grant him a fourth.
Even with a college degree in hand, he said he plans to use all of his eligibility as he works on his master’s of business administration.
“I think I owe it to myself,” he said. “Because of the tough times I went through I want to play as much as possible.”
A tough decision after a tough three years
Pribula said the decision to enter the portal was a tough one due to the relationships he built at Delaware.
Still, he dealt with a long list of obstacles during his time there.
He accepted a full scholarship to the Division I FCS program in the summer before his senior season over offers from Sacred Heart and Albany. He was the only quarterback in his recruiting class ― a sign that the program considered him a key piece of his future. Delaware was coming off a 7-4 season and historically considered one of the top FCS programs in the country.
But he dealt with nagging injuries while Henderson ― who is two classes ahead of him ― established himself as the starter. Then head coach Danny Rocco was fired after a 5-6 campaign this past season. Pribula appeared in just one game with the Blue Hens.
Coaching changes at the college level usually leads to transfers since a new staff didn’t recruit the current players. Henderson briefly entered the transfer portal but decided to stay after former Delaware quarterback Ryan Carty was named the Blue Hens head coach in December. Henderson is considered a dual-threat quarterback while Pribula ― who was an underrated runner in high school ― is considered more of a pocket passer.
“It was a very tough decision to leave my friends that I’ve made here,” Pribula said. “Even watching on the sidelines I stayed optimistic. Through practice and working out I’ve gotten better and there is still a lot of time left for me.”
Related:After a day in the limelight, Penn State commit Beau Pribula ‘can’t wait’ for competition
A strong bond with his brother
His decision to transfer means he won’t get the chance to potentially compete against his younger brother, Beau, when Delaware plays Penn State at Beaver Stadium in September 2023. Beau is entering his freshman season as a quarterback at Penn State and is battling with fellow freshman Drew Allar and sophomore Christian Veilleux behind sixth-year senior Sean Clifford on the depth chart.
Pribula said he’s spoken with his brother a lot since deciding to enter the portal, but the two have focused more on Beau’s experiences at Penn State this spring than Cade’s future.
“I guess I can save Beau from a loss,” Cade said jokingly about not getting to compete against him. “It’s a shame (playing against him) won’t happen but it is what it is.
“We talk about everything. Our social lives, how the Blue-White game was, but not so much about my decision.”
With Beau establishing himself the past few years as the most heralded quarterback recruit in York County history, it’s easy to forget just how successful Cade was during his high school days at Central York. The elder Pribula brother was undersized at just over 6-feet tall and didn’t possess Beau’s next-level physicality and athleticism, but he was an outstanding passer with sneaky escapability and a flair for the dramatic play.
As a senior, he threw for 2,866 yards, 31 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. He set the York County records for career touchdown passes (66) and career passing yards (6,733). Beau broke his touchdown mark (73) but couldn’t eclipse his brother in yardage.
Cade said he’s currently 6-foot-1 and 208 pounds after entering college weighing 195. He added he believes he’s better now than when he came out of high school.
“I can throw farther and more accurate,” he said. “I’ve reworked my motion and taken out some things that weren’t as clean. I’ve gotten a lot of reps in practice and I think I find a way to get better every year.”
Cade is interested in eventually becoming a coach at the college or NFL levels. For now, his focus is making the most of his own playing career.
“I love football and I hope to stay around the game,” Pribula said. “But football is not who I am. It’s just what I do.”
Matt Allibone is a sports reporter for GameTimePA. He can be reached at 717-881-8221, email@example.com or on Twitter at @bad2theallibone.