Former Southern Methodist quarterback Kyle Padron confirmed Thursday that he will enroll at Eastern Washington University this summer regardless of the outcome of his pending appeal for an additional year of eligibility.
“I hope to have an apartment by the first or second week of June,” said Padron, who hopes to set that up when he visits Cheney during the Red-White Spring game on April 28.
Padron suffered a herniated disc last season while lifting weights. Because he only played a few snaps last year for SMU, he has applied for a medical hardship to gain another year of eligibility and play two years for the Eagles.
Padron dispelled rumors that his decision to play at Eastern might be affected by the outcome of his appeal.
He said his case is in the hands of the the Big Sky Conference, though Jaynee Nadolski, the league’s assistant director in charge of compliance, said she is not allowed to confirm that, or to comment on the timetable for processing Padron’s case if it is indeed with the Big Sky.
Nadolski could only say that “There are certain of pieces of NCAA legislation that the student-athlete has to meet in order for it to be approved.”
EWU officials likewise could not comment, as NCAA rules prohibit schools from announcing transfers until they are admitted.
Regardless, Padron is guaranteed at least one year of playing time, and he plans to make the most of it this fall. He also hopes to emulate the success of former SMU teammate Bo Levi Mitchell, who led the Eagles to the Football Championship Subdivision title in 2010 and last year won the Walter Payton Award as the Most Valuable Player in the FCS.
“I just want to win and put my team in the best situation to win,” said Padron, who visited the school with his mother this winter. “I talked with the players, and they got a taste of a championship and really want to win.”
It was Padron who in 2009 displaced Mitchell as the starting quarterback at SMU. Following that season, Mitchell transferred to Eastern, playing for two seasons.
The two are still friends. Mitchell had a big role in Padron’s decision, citing EWU coach Beau Baldwin and the Eagles’ offensive system.
“He had a big part with the decision with the success he had,” said Padron, a self-described football junkie who said he’s familiar with the similarities and differences of the school’s offensive systems.
“The decision-making at SMU is more of a post-snap decision and at EWU the decisions are more pre-snap,” said Padron, who also likes what he’s heard about the Eagles’ returning wide receivers.
While he will miss spring drills, Padron hopes that won’t be a detriment.
“I’ll try to adapt to the terminologies this fall and get a feeling for what’s going on,” he said.
“I’m a hard worker. I try to lead by example.”
The 6-foot-4, 233-pound Padron set SMU passing records in 2010 with 3,828 yards and 31 touchdowns, but lost the starting position to J.J. McDermott. Former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert has since transferred to SMU.
Padron started 21 games for SMU in 2009 and 2010.
Padron said he will major in business, either in marketing or management.