Black ready to take reins as Hornets’ starting quarterback

DOVER — Keenan Black did a little bit of everything last year for the Delaware State football team.

Now Black is being asked to do the one thing he does best.

Black enters DSU’s spring camp as the starting quarterback. He is the only quarterback left on the Hornets with any collegiate experience after Dan Epperson and Kobie Lain transferred out of the program and Gilbert Rivera graduated.

Black spent his freshman season in 2016 playing some wide receiver and featured prominently on DSU’s special teams units.

He was recruited by coach Kenny Carter with the idea he would be an athlete for his first season before transitioning back to quarterback as he got more experience.

Keenan Black

“I’m glad we did it the way we did,” Carter said. “For the maturation process for him, it helped him get a better feel for how things work with the receiver position.”

Black (6-foot-2) had only played quarterback in high school at Concord High in North Carolina. He earned his conference’s Player of the Year award and threw for 2,570 yards with 23 touchdowns in his senior season.

However, when he arrived at DSU he was fourth on the QB depth chart in terms of experience.

Carter, aware of Black’s athleticism, knew he had to get him on the field one way or another. Black played six games at wide receiver and only caught two passes but made a huge impact on the Hornets’ special teams.

No moment was bigger than when he blocked a punt against North Carolina A&T on Nov. 12. That was also the day Black made his debut at quarterback.

“It was fun just getting on the field and getting used to the game speed,” Black said. “I contributed to the team the best way I could.”

“I’ve always been an athlete,” he added. “I played quarterback in high school because I was the only quarterback. If you give me another position, it’s not like I can’t do it.”

Carter said Black is more of a dual-threat at quarterback than what the Hornets have had in the past with his ability to run and throw.

“He can do both,” Carter said. “He really has a command of the position. He won so many games in high school and the offense is a lot like what he did in high school.”

“He’s an anticipatory thrower. He understands how to throw to spots to get people open. He gets how to take what the defense gives you and doesn’t necessarily has to run it to move it forward. He does a lot of things you want a polished quarterback to do and you can see he’s just a natural at that position.”

Currently there is only one other quarterback in camp — Shane Smith out of Delaware Valley Charter High in Philadelphia who redshirted last season. The Hornets will welcome two freshmen QBs this fall, Jack McDaniel and Nasir Boykins who could push Black for the starting job.

But Black is expected to have a leg up on the competition with his experience in the system and leading the Hornets through the spring.

“I’m working on getting the offense together and being more fluid with each other,” Black said. “We want to show we’re getting better than last year and the years before.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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