CHENEY, Wash. - It's official – Kyle Padron will become a member of the Eastern Washington University football team in the 2012 season.
Following in the footsteps of EWU's reigning Walter Payton Award winner Bo Levi Mitchell, Padron (pronounced "puh-DRONE") is transferring from Southern Methodist University where he passed for 5,902 yards and 41 touchdowns in his 24-game career. Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin said that Padron has been admitted and has confirmed his attendance at EWU, thus enabling Baldwin to finally comment on the new addition to his squad.
"We're very excited about it, but most of all we're excited about our entire team and the players we have coming back," said Baldwin. "He's another piece to our team and will add to the overall competitiveness we have at every position."
Mitchell was injured in the 2009 season at SMU and transferred to EWU after Padron secured the starting job mid-way through his freshman season. The same thing happened in 2011 to Padron, who suffered ankle and back injuries and was replaced in the lineup by J.J. McDermott for the final 11 games of the year.
In his 21 games as a starter at SMU, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Padron led the Mustangs to a 12-9 record. He was 5-1 as a freshman, as SMU's late-season surge helped it beat Nevada 45-10 in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Padron passed for a school-record 460 yards and two touchdowns to earn Hawaii Bowl MVP honors, then started all 14 games as a record-breaking sophomore (7-7 record).
After receiving his junior year back as an injury hardship, Padron will have two years of eligibility remaining at Eastern.
"He brings in experience and so many other intangibles," Baldwin said of the 2009 graduate of Southlake Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas. "He's a great quarterback, but he also does the right things off the field and has great leadership skills. He's won a lot of ballgames."
Mitchell capped a sensational two-year career for the Eagles by being selected as the winner of the Walter Payton Award, given to the top player in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. Mitchell was also the Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year and a first team All-BSC selection as a senior. That led to consensus first team All-America accolades from six media agencies.
Eastern won six of its last seven games to finish 6-5 in the 2010-11 season, and Mitchell passed for a school-record 4,009 yards and 33 touchdowns to lead FCS in both categories. As a junior, he started all 15 games and led EWU to a 13-2 record and the NCAA Division I Championship. In April, Mitchell signed a free agent contract with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.
"Bo's situation was a little bit different because he came on a recruiting trip to Eastern out of high school," explained Baldwin. "There was natural tie with us when he was looking to transfer. But with Kyle, his relationship with Bo started the whole process."
Padron ended his SMU career with the school's career record for passing efficiency (142.0 rating) and average total offense per game (259.9). He completed 61.2 percent of his passes (446-of-729) and was intercepted 21 times. His 5,902 career passing yards ranks fourth in school history (Mitchell is seventh with 4,590), and Padron's 2010 totals for passing yards (3,828), total offense (4,072), touchdowns (31), completions (302) and attempts (508) were all school records as well.
"You don't plan for any of this and don't necessarily expect it, but it was a good situation and opportunity for us," Baldwin added. "We don't take a whole lot of transfers here – over 90 percent of our players are going to 18-year-old players out of high school who play for us for four or five years. But sometimes transfers are the right fit, and you definitely want to take advantage of that."
Interestingly, Mitchell and McDermott were also teammates at SMU, and faced off against each other once in high school. In 2006, Mitchell led the Katy (Texas) Tigers to a 17-3 win over McDermott's Cinco Ranch Cougars en route to an undefeated run to the state quarterfinals, where Katy lost. Cinco Ranch, also located in Katy (near Houston), lost one other game that year, in the third round of the playoffs.
Southlake Carroll High School is located near Dallas, and is just 30 miles from Frisco, Texas, where the title game takes place in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. The Dragons were 10-2 in the games he played as a junior and senior, including a 5-1 mark during an injury-shortened senior season. Overall, his school was 19-5 those two seasons.
Kyle Padron Bio
EWU: After receiving his junior year back as an injury hardship (ankle and back injuries), he will have two years of eligibility remaining at EWU.
SMU: In his 21 games as a starter at SMU, Padron led the Mustangs to a 12-9 record – 5-1 as a freshman, 7-7 as a sophomore and 0-1 as a junior. Padron ended his SMU career with the school's career record for passing efficiency (142.0 rating) and average total offense per game (259.9). He completed 61.2 percent of his passes (446-of-729) and was intercepted 21 times. His 5,902 career passing yards ranks fourth in school history (Mitchell is seventh with 4,590), and his eight 300-yard passing performances are tied for the school record. As a junior in 2011, Padron played in three games, including the team's season opener at Texas A&M. He finished the year with 152 yards passing yards on nine completions, and rushed for a 12-yard touchdown versus UTEP. He started all 14 games at quarterback as a sophomore in 2010 to earn honorable mention All-Conference USA honors. He set SMU records for passing yards (3,828), total yards (4,072), touchdowns (31), completions (302) and attempts (508), and had the seventh-best passing efficiency rating (137.4) in school history. He finished ranked eighth in the nation in passing yardage and ninth in completions. He also rushed for 244 yards and four scores. Padron totaled 752 passing yards in consecutive games at Rice (371) and Tulsa (381), and passed for 280 yards and four touchdowns, with one TD rushing, in a 35-21 victory against Washington State. He had a 203.32 passing efficiency rating at Rice when he completed 24-of-32 passes (75 percent) for 371 yards and three touchdowns. He posted a season-high 381 yards and also added three touchdowns against Tulsa one week later. He also threw for 300+ yards in consecutive games against Houston (318) and at Tulane (354), and rushed for a season-high 66 yards against UAB. He completed 23-of-34 passes (67.6 percent) for 302 yards and two touchdowns in a 16-14 loss the Armed Forces Bowl against Army (a 16-14 loss). He took over as SMU's starting signal caller in the eighth game of his freshman season in 2009, and led the Mustangs to wins in five of their last six games to earn a spot on the Conference USA All-Freshman Team. He posted a 159.9 passer rating to rank fifth in the nation and rank second in school history. Padron was named MVP of the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl after passing for a school-record 460 yards and two TDs in SMU's 45-10 win over Nevada. He was named to ESPN.com's Non-AQ All-Bowl Team, and his performance in the bowl was ranked as the eighth-best among all players in the post-season by CollegeFootballNews.com. He was also given the Touchdown Club of Columbus' Award of Distinction. Completed 135 of 201 pass attempts for 1,922 yards and 10 TDs on the year.
HS: Graduated from Southlake Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas, in 2009. He was a two-star Rivals.com and Scout.com prospect, and ranked No. 95 on the Dallas Morning News All-Area list. He played in just five games as a senior in 2008 before breaking his throwing hand. He passed for 1,550 yards and 18 touchdowns with only three interceptions, while completing 129-of-193 (66.8 percent) of his passes. He also rushed for 297 yards and six scores as a senior. His team was 5-1 in the six games he played his senior season, finishing 8-3 overall. He was a backup as a junior in 2007, helping the Dragons to an 11-2 record overall (they were 5-1 in the six games Padron played).