McDaniels to start at quarterback in DSU opener, Black also will play

Jack McDaniels. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — The revolving door of quarterbacks at Delaware State University has stopped briefly.

But it should continue to spin a little longer throughout the season.

First-year coach Rod Milstead has named sophomore Jack McDaniels the starting quarterback for the season opener at Buffalo on Saturday at 6 p.m.

McDaniels also started last year’s first game as a true freshman. It is the first time since the 2011 and 2012 seasons Delaware State has had the same starting quarterback in its openers.

But Milstead also said junior Keenan Black will also see time under center.

“We’ll probably have a two-headed monster,” Milstead said. “They’re both so similar in what they do. It was a very difficult choice but we’ll start Jack and Keenan will definitely get some playing time.”

McDaniels is the first Delaware State quarterback to start in back-to-back openers since Nick Elko.

Once Elko graduated in 2012, the Hornets have never been able to nail down a consistent starter.

Cory Murphy got the nod in 2013, Gilbert Rivera was next up in 2014 before Esayah Obado started in 2015. Dan Epperson was named the starter for 2016 but transferred after the year, allowing McDaniels to win the job as a freshman in 2017.

Since Elko’s graduation, eight different players have made at least one start at quarterback for the Hornets.

McDaniels and Black each got starts last year with McDaniels starting the first five games. Black took over in week seven and was the quarterback for both of Delaware State’s only two wins.

Keenan Black

McDaniels played in 10 total games in 2017 while Black featured in nine contests.

Milstead envisions a similar scenario playing out this season.

“We’re going to need both of them,” Milstead said. “They’re both very instrumental to what we do here with our new offense. Both of those guys will get their chances.”

Shayne Smith is settled in at No. 3 on the depth chart. The sophomore saw time with the first team at the beginning of preseason camp before McDaniels and Black established themselves as the top two quarterbacks.

Both of McDaniels and Black passed for more than 1,000 yards last season.

Black finished ninth in the Mid-Eastern Atletic Conference in passing yards per game and passing efficiency. He threw for 11 touchdowns and 1,169 yards.

McDaniels ended his freshman campaign with 1,139 yards and three touchdowns.

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