Sophomore Black, freshman McDaniels battle for Hornet QB job

DOVER — The quarterback competition at Delaware State University is down to two.

Ahead of the final scrimmage before the season opener, the Hornets are still deciding between sophomore Keenan Black and freshman Jack McDaniels.

Both players got the majority of the reps with the first unit in last Saturday’s scrimmage. The next scrimmage is scheduled for Saturday at 9 a.m. at Alumni Stadium.

Delaware State’s opening game is Thursday, Aug. 31 at the University of Delaware.

Third-year coach Kenny Carter said there’s no set timetable for when he will name a starter.

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

“We haven’t really talked about it in depth because we’re concentrating on developing them.” Carter said. “I think when you give yourself a deadline, and start putting the pressure on them, you have to just let it happen.

“Both quarterbacks are developing really well. I think it’s starting to sort itself out the way we’re managing that situation. Keenan and Jack have separated themselves from the group and you can see that in their play.”

While the play in the final scrimmage will go a long way towards deciding on the starter, Carter said the coaching staff is looking at the total package.

Both quarterbacks are relatively inexperienced in the offensive system. Black was recruited as a quarterback but mostly played wide receiver last year and did not attempt a pass while McDaniels is a true freshman.

Jack McDaniels

So Carter is interested to see what kind of intangibles each player can bring to the table.

“It’s more than who the best quarterback is,” Carter said. “It’s also who has the best command from an offensive perspective and a leadership perspective. We give the quarterback a lot of ownership of the offense to work the scheme and put us in good plays.”

It’s no secret the Hornets will likely be a run-oriented team at first, due to having a newcomer at quarterback and the fact they can go three-deep in the backfield.

That was on display last Saturday during the scrimmage. The Hornets had their best sequences moving the ball down the field behind the strength of All-MEAC junior running back Brycen Alleyne and redshirt freshman Nyfease West. DelState also has sophomore Mike Waters, another All-MEAC player, in the backfield.

The passing game was still working out some kinks. Not only is the quarterback position rife with inexperience but a lot of the receivers haven’t played much college football either.

The Hornets will likely start two freshman at wide receiver. The only returning starter at wideout is sophomore Fatu Sua-Godine. He is joined by junior Tarron Selby, who saw action in various spots last year.

Aside from Selby, everyone who was targeted with a pass in the scrimmage on Saturday was a sophomore or a freshman.

The Hornets did turn the ball over four times, twice on interceptions, once on a strip-sack and once on a botched snap.

“I thought we did a good job moving the ball in the run game,” Carter said. “We turned the ball over too many times, though. That’s also a positive, though, because we didn’t get enough turnovers last year as a defense. That’s kind of a double-edge sword in scrimmages in a bittersweet kind of way. But overall we’re going at the pace we need to.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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