Lain, Epperson set to share Hornet QB job

Kobie Lain will be one of two quarterbacks who are projected to see significant time this season for Delaware State. (Courtesy of Delaware State Athletics)

Kobie Lain will be one of two quarterbacks who are projected to see significant time this season for Delaware State. (Courtesy of Delaware State Athletics)

DOVER — Kobie Lain was expected to be here.

Dan Epperson, his path was a lot more unexpected.

As of now, they will both be playing quarterback for the Delaware State football team that opened camp this past weekend. Second-year coach Kenny Carter said the plan is to still have the duo split time under center.

Lain, a sophomore from the suburbs of Atlanta, was one of Carter’s first recruits after he was hired at Delaware State. He was the backup last year before starting the final two games of the season and helping the Hornets to their only win in 2015.

But Carter and his staff thought the Hornets could use another quarterback who could compete for the starting job — enter Epperson.

Epperson joined DSU in January after two years at San Bernardino Junior College and practiced with the team in the spring. Here he is now with a chance to be a Division I starting quarterback.

“This is the fastest year of my life,” Epperson said. “It’s crazy but I love it. I love this life.”

Delaware State has two scrimmages planned for the fall camp, one this Saturday at 8 a.m., which will be just game situations, and another Saturday, Aug. 20, which will be a more traditional scrimmage. It will give the Hornets another glance at how the two-QB system will work out.

“We’re very blessed,” Carter said. “Those guys are very competitive and they can do a lot of things together. We’re going to play both of them. The greatest thing about it is we don’t have to change our playcalling.”

Senior Gilbert Rivera is the quarterback with the most experience on the roster. He started 2014 as the No. 1 quarterback on the Hornets after Esayah Obado, the projected starter, suffered a season-ending injury in training camp.

Rivera also took over the starting job last year when Obado was hurt again before Carter elected to start Lain at the end of the season. Rivera has started a combined 19 games over the course of the last two seasons.

The final QB on the roster is true freshman Keenan Black out of Concord, North Carolina.

“Keenan can do some things and really can put us in some good situations,” Carter said. “Then Gil, Gil is working his butt off to try to help us and he can do some good things too. But right now, it’s Dan and Kobie.”

Lain competed in five games last season and completed 25-of-50 passes for 329 yards. His only two touchdowns came in the last game of the year, a win over Howard as the Hornets ended with a 1-10 overall record.

Lain said he’s pleased to see what the new additions to the offense can do so far in August.

“We’re very excited for the season and feel like we’re in a great position right now,” Lain said. “We feel like we have a lot of cats that can just get after it. Every day you can see the progress in the offense. I love where we are. Just from an offensive standpoint, this is the best we’ve looked since I’ve been here.”

One of those newcomers is wide receiver Mason Rutherford, who Epperson knows quite well.

Rutherford played with Epperson at San Bernadino Junior College and was the top receiver there. When Epperson went home at the beginning of the summer he was able to practice with Rutherford and work out with his old quarterback coach.

While in junior college, Epperson passed for 2,767 yards and 27 touchdowns in his career.

While at San Bernadino, Epperson targeted Rutherford more than anyone else, but at Delaware State Epperson said it’s the deepest pool of wideouts he’s been able to throw to.

“I’ve never had the receiving core that I’ve had here,” Epperson said. “All of our running backs can get out of the backfield and catch too, they don’t have rock hands. We have the ability to throw anywhere on the field, not just individualize one person.”

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