OPENING DAY of college football season is just around the corner, and for former Jefferson quarterback Bryant Shirreffs, it marks his debut as an NCAA athlete.
While official practice doesn’t start until early August, Shirreffs has been hard at work conditioning and learning schemes for the North Carolina State offense.
While Shirreffs was not listed on the first Wolfpack depth chart in early spring, new NC State head coach Dave Doeren has yet to make a concrete decision on his starting QB for 2013.
According to the News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), Doeren has a difficult decision to make in his first year at head coach. Aside from Shirreffs, the Wolfpack will have four other quarterbacks vying for the position once camp rolls around: Brandon Mitchell, a fifth-year senior transfer out of Arkansas; Manny Stocker, a returning sophomore; Pete Thomas, a returning junior who transfered from Colorado State; and another incoming freshman, Josh Taylor.
Doeren says he wants numbers at the position, and having four or five guys to choose from is optimal.
While Mitchell is the favorite for the starting position, Doeren isn’t ruling anyone out yet.
“If there’s not a clear cut option, we’ll use a two-quarterback system,” Doeren said. “That’s not what we would prefer to do, but if we have to, we’ll consider it.”
Doeren also said that he wants a quarterback that is a threat on the ground as well as through the air. And with Shirreffs’ performance in his senior year at Jefferson, he fits the template well.
Shirreffs threw for 2,404 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for 1,383 yards and 21 touchdowns in his 2012 senior season at JHS. He also showed his ability to perform under pressure when he led the Dragons to their first state title in a 31-14 win over Calhoun in the Georgia Dome. In the title game, he was 14-18 through the air for 188 yards and rushed for three touchdowns and 139 yards.
According to the News and Observer, Doeren said Shirreffs “runs with a purpose” and impressed him with his ability to throw on the run. But Doeren says Shirreffs’ top attribute is his mind – noting that he was recruited by Harvard and other Ivy League programs.
“He’s a smart kid,” Doeren said. “Plus, (Jefferson) had never won a state champion- ship and he led them to one.”
NC State opens their 2013 season at home on Aug. 31, against Louisiana Tech.