BOISE - In his four years at the University of Kansas, senior quarterback Montell Cozart experienced 40 losses and just eight victories.
Three of those wins were against FCS programs. At one point, the Jayhawks lost 15 straight overall, going winless between Nov. 15, 2014 and Sept. 3, 2016.
"I've had to experience a little bit of adversity and roller-coaster rides," said Cozart, describing his college career so far.
With just one year of eligibility remaining, winning is something Cozart missed.
"No knock on Kansas," he said, "but I haven't experienced [winning] the last four years."
So this offseason, Cozart went searching for the program that could help fill the void.
"I wanted to come to a place with a winning tradition and success," Cozart explained. "[As I was] going through the recruiting process, I wanted to find the right fit."
There was no lack of options: North Carolina, Indiana, New Mexico, and Fresno State came calling. When it came to Bulldogs, new Boise State wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau - who spent the last three years in Fresno - offered Cozart some advice.
"I've been at Fresno State," Kiesau told Cozart, "they're going through what you just came from."
When all was said done, Cozart found exactly what he was looking for in Boise, and thanks to NCAA graduate transfer rules, he would be allowed to play immediately.
"Just the winning mentality and the winning culture. You can feel it from the coaches down the players," Cozart explained, "And it carries over to the field. It's just the vibe that you get when you step inside this building."
Cozart played in 27 games at Kansas, which included 18 starts. He passed for 2,755 yards and rushed for 481 yards. On the field, it is clear that Cozart has plenty to offer Boise State. Just ask his new teammates.
"He's good. He's an athlete. He's a lot different look than we get from Brett," joked sophomore safety Kekoa Nawahine.
"Obviously he has dual-threat capabilities," added tight end Jake Roh. "I think he's just another guy that you can put in there who can mix it up."
As the 6-foot-1, 205-pound, 23-year-old continues to grow as a passer, he has always shown the ability to contribute as a runner. So although Cozart is currently the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart behind third-year starter Brett Rypien, Boise State coaches believe there is still a way to utilizes Cozart's biggest strength.
"When everyone is covered, the quarterback isn't covered," said Cozart about his ability to take off and run. "Coming here, the coaches said I could bring something different to the table. We've been working on some things. We want to be able to spice it up a little bit."
"Obviously he can do some things athletically that we're excited about," said offensive coordinator Zak Hill, with his smile drawing bigger and bigger by the word. "I think every week we're going to have some different stuff. You know, 'Boise offense.' We'll have some things up our sleeve."
Leaving an opportunity to start at a Big 12 program for the chance to be a backup in the Mountain West. On the outside, it may seem like an interesting choice. But two months into this new marriage between player and program, the fit feels right for Cozart - and for Boise State.
"It's been a great transition. Coming all the way from Kansas," said Cozart, "I feel like the guys have been nothing but welcoming since I got here."
"The thing that I'm most impressed with is how he handles himself," added Hill, "How quickly he has learned the offense, and how well he fits with our guys."
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