Hornets still looking for a QB to seize starting job

Keenan Black

DOVER — A year after employing a two-quarterback system to start the season, Delaware State football coach Kenny Carter said that will not happen again in 2017.

“I want one quarterback to step up and be the guy,” Carter said at DSU football practice on Tuesday. “I’m not interested in a dual quarterback thing, I want a quarterback to step up and be the guy.”

Just who that quarterback will be remains a mystery for now.

There are four quarterbacks on the roster who could be the potential starter. None of them have thrown a pass in college football.

Sophomore Keenan Black entered spring camp as the front-runner. Black was on the Hornets’ roster last year, but mainly played wide receiver and on special teams.

While he did get into a couple games at quarterback in 2016, Black only ran or handed the ball off.

But that still gives Black a leg up on the competition. He took most of the snaps for DelState in its spring camp and has been rotating with the first unit in fall camp.

“I feel good now,” Black said. “The spring help me get back into feeling like a quarterback and get my confidence up. I came into camp and I was ready. Now I’m trying to get my team in the best position possible.

“I want to be the best vocal leader. I always love talking and I to get my games pumped up and get them going, having that swag and having that excitement. When I’m the game, we’re excited and let’s roll.”

The only other contender for the QB job who was on the team a year ago is redshirt freshman Shayne Smith, who was on the roster last year but did not see any game time and maintained his freshman eligibility.

There are also two true freshman vying to be the starter — Jack McDaniel of Lorton, Virginia and Nasir Boykins from Philadelphia. Both have impressive high school credentials. McDaniel threw for 2,956 yards and 36 touchdowns as a senior in high school while Boykins is the all-time Philadelphia Public League passing yardage leader.

Of those three, McDaniel has seen the most time with the No. 1 offensive unit to start fall camp.

Carter said age and experience likely won’t play a factor in naming a starter.

“All I care about is who the best guy is,” the third-year coach said. “I don’t care who it is or if he’s a freshman. I just want someone to be the guy and prove it on the field.”

The Hornets have not had a stable quarterback situation since 2013, when Cory Murphy won the starting job in preseason camp. Even then, Murphy was a senior who only had the job for a single season.

Nick Elko, Murphy’s predecessor who was the starting QB in 2012, is the last DSU quarterback to be a multi-year starter at the position.

Under Carter, the Hornets have rotated through four different quarterbacks. The two starters from last season, Dan Epperson and Kobie Lain, each elected to transfer after the year was over as the Hornets finished winless 0-11.

“All we can do is go up,” Black said. “That’s all there is to it.”

Carter will have two chances to see how the quarterbacks respond in scrimmages during camp. The Hornets have a scrimmage scheduled for Saturday and another Saturday, Aug. 19.

One player has to step up before DelState’s opener, Thursday Aug. 31 at Delaware. And given the amount of prep the group is doing, Carter is confident whoever it is will be ready.

“They’re in the office more than we (the coaches) are,” Carter said. “Every time I turn around there’s a QB in there. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10:30 at night or six in the morning, there’s a quarterback or multiple quarterbacks in there. It’s awesome. It’s a dream come true but it has to all come to fruition on the gameday.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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