Where CMU football stands at quarterback after Jacob Sirmon enters the transfer portal


Bothell quarterback Jacob Sirmon hands the ball off during the Chippewas game against Florida International University Sept. 25 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. 

Less than a full year after he committed to Central Michigan, quarterback Jacob Sirmon has entered the NCAA transfer portal. 

Sirmon, who transferred from Washington, is now free to be recruited by any school. He's the second player to enter the portal from CMU after defensive end Amir Siddiq officially entered the portal Monday

Sirmon spent three seasons at Washington before entering the portal on Dec. 16, 2020. Sirmon committed to CMU just two days later and won the starting quarterback job out of fall camp, beating out Daniel Richardson. 

Sirmon started the first four games of the 2021 season, but was benched in his final start in favor of Richardson with the Chippewas trailing Florida International 20-10 in the third quarter. Richardson rallied CMU to a 31-27 victory and earned the starting job, holding it for the rest of the season. 

Sirmon logged just one more appearance in 2021, a 7-for-8 showing off the bench in a Week 5 loss to Miami (Ohio) after Richardson suffered a shoulder injury. The Bothell, Washington native finished the season 73-for-119 passing for 734 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. 

Richardson, meanwhile, went on to throw 23 touchdowns, which ranks tied for eighth in CMU history for a single season. Sirmon finished the season as the backup, a role that will be vacated with his exit. 

So, who is next in line for the Chippewas?

Richardson will enter next season as the presumed starter. Behind him, however, there's little experience. Here's a look at the options set to be on roster at quarterback behind Richardson for CMU in 2022. 

Tyler Pape
2022 class standing: Redshirt freshman
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 210
2021 stats: One appearance, 2-for-2 passing, 12 yards

The scoop: Pape is a unique case given his status. A 2020 commit, the Spring Arbor native was one of several recruits in his class to be sent home when the Mid-American Conference initially canceled its fall football season. 

After the season was reinstated, Pape and company couldn't participate. As a result, he lost out on valuable experience. Had he been on campus, it's believed he could've been a bigger threat to win the starting job in 2021. 

"I probably set him back a little bit by sending that whole freshman class home last year thinking we weren't gonna play," McElwain said before the season. "Yet, that probably set him back just a little bit last year just because he wasn't able to get games in that he would've played in last year but, at the same time, he's picked it up. I'm excited about him." 

He spent the majority of the season leading the Chippewas' scout team and learning the offense. With a strong spring, Pape could establish himself as the leader for the backup position. 

Jase Bauer
2022 class standing: Redshirt freshman
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 205
2021 stats: Did not appear in a game

The scoop: Bauer was the Chippewas' 2021 quarterback commit, coming to the program after a strong finish to his high school career that ended in a state championship. He was a multi-sport athlete in high school, earning all-state honors as a shortstop at Ankeny High School in addition to his football accolades. 

Bauer arrived on campus in August after the conclusion of his baseball season. Though the late start set him back, he established himself as a contributor on the scout team along with Pape. Both signaled in plays from the sideline in games. 

"Both those guys, I know, they've done a fantastic job simulating the other teams and then, given the opportunity, when they get reps during specific good-on-good drills," McElwain said. "I've been really, really happy with their performance."

Bailey Smith
2022 class standing: Redshirt sophomore
Height/Weight: 6-foot, 205
2021 stats: One appearance

The scoop: A former Army Ranger, Smith made his Chippewa debut on Sept. 11 against Robert Morris. He walked onto the team in the offseason and has become a valued leader. Pape and Bauer should be considered the favorites for the backup job, but Smith also had his turns to lead the scout team and could surprise with a good fall camp. 

Max Brown
2022 class standing: True Freshman
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 200
2021 stats (At Lincoln Christian High School): 13 games, 162-for-220, 2663 yards, 41 touchdowns

The scoop: Brown is set to sign with the Chippewas as part of their 2022 recruiting class. Like Bauer last year, he's enjoyed a breakout senior season after flying mostly under the radar for much of his high school career. 

The Tulsa, Oklahoma native has good size and excellent arm talent, but will be a step behind due to his inexperience with the offense. Brown will start as a redshirt candidate, but could surprise his teammates if he nails down the offense early in the summer.