Hornet quarterback job up for grabs: Black, McDaniels battle for starting role

Hornet quarterback Keenan Black. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — Rod Milstead’s first big decision to make at Delaware State is proving to be a difficult one.

The first-year football coach still has not named a starting quarterback.

Milstead said after the Hornets’ most-recent scrimmage he would like to have a starter by the end of this week.

Junior Keenan Black and sophomore Jack McDaniels split time as the starter in 2017. Both have seen equal amount of reps with the first team during preseason camp.

So far, neither have separated themselves from the pack.

“If I had to play on Saturday, I probably wouldn’t make the decision until Friday,” Milstead said. “But we got a couple weeks before we have to do that.”

The Hornets do still have more than two weeks before opening the 2018 campaign at Buffalo on Saturday, Sept. 1.

Jack McDaniels. Delaware State News file photo

Sophomore Shayne Smith has also worked his way into the mix and has seen almost as much time at quarterback as Black and McDaniels.

McDaniels beat Black out for the starting job last season and debuted as a true freshman in the first game at Delaware. He was the starter for the first six games of the year before Black took over the starting job for the remainder of the season.

Both threw for more than 1,000 yards last season.

Black appeared in nine total games, including starting the final five. He threw for 13 touchdowns with 11 interceptions and tied for third in the MEAC in touchdown passes.

Black’s best game was the final contest when he had a career-high 234 yards and another personal best with four touchdown passes in a 33-30 victory over Morgan State as the Hornets won just their second game of the year.

McDaniels appeared in 10 games and finished the season with three touchdowns and seven interceptions. His highest yardage-mark was 191 yards in a defeat to Howard.

McDaniels was the only player between the two who scored in Saturday’s scrimmage with a quarterback sneak from a yard out. He set that up with a 25-yard pass to Kareem Davis.

“They’re still battling right now,” Milstead said. “Both of them do things well and they make the same amount of mistakes so they’ve made it tough on our coaching staff. I wish I could name a starter right now but right now we really don’t know. It’s still a competition.”

Smith also scored a rushing touchdown with a 35-yard keeper on Saturday. Those were the only two touchdowns the offense scored in a scrimmage that was dominated by the DSU defense.

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