There are several HBCU starting quarterback spots that have yet to be settled as fall camp officially begins this month, leaving teams with competitions that will stretch into the final weeks of summer.
Here are the five most intriguing QB battles across the HBCU football landscape.
The skinny: Casey showed flashes of promise in limited time with Jackson State during the pandemic-laden spring 2021 season before transferring to Alabama A&M. As one of the backups for Aqeel Glass, the redshirt freshman only took snaps in one game against Mississippi Valley State last November.
In a mop-up role, Casey threw three passes, including one interception. Taylor, the dual-threat QB from Illinois, figures to be right in the mix, but he spent most of the 2021 season playing defensive back for the Illini.
Playing two games in the 2020 season at quarterback, he completed 23 of 46 passes with 379 passing yards and three touchdowns. Lankford, who appeared in seven games a year ago, has only thrown 12 passes as a Bulldog. This race does not have a clear favorite and could come down to game week before a starter is decided.
Contenders: Resean McKay, Junior Muratovic, Cameron Sapp, Jeremy Moussa
The skinny: McKay, because of his experience and respect among teammates and coaches, would seemingly be the frontrunner for the job after throwing for 2,457 yards and 22 touchdowns with five interceptions in 12 games. However, Muratovic and Sapp played in 10 combined games last season and tallying 203 total passing yards and 1 TD between them.
But Moussa, a Vanderbilt transfer, played significantly well in the Rattlers’ spring game in April. Over a two-year period at Vanderbilt, the SEC transfer completed 9 of 17 passes for 110 yards and 1 touchdown.
Head coach Willie Simmons said at SWAC football media day that who starts following fall camp will come down to which guy performs best during the team’s 25 fall practices.
The skinny: One of the first big acquisitions Hue Jackson made after being named head coach was getting a commitment from former UCLA recruit Kajiya Hollawayne. The three-star quarterback never played a game as a Bruin, but his potential definitely signaled the Tigers were wanting a high-ceiling player at the position.
Then there is Hawkins, who comes into the program from Jones College in Mississippi. While there he threw for 3,064 passing yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 347 yards and seven touchdowns during his three seasons with the Bobcats. Amie, who had stops at Syracuse, Houston, and Blinn College, has completed 16 passes collegiate passes for 253 yards. Another prospect to watch is Gilmore, who was on rosters at Kentucky and North Texas in recent seasons before transferring to Grambling after sitting out 2021.
Contenders: Bubba McDaniel, Besean McCray, Harold Blood, Noah Bodden
McCray, a Junior College All-American, threw for 1,882 yards and eight touchdowns with nine interceptions in 11 games for Hinds Community College in 2021. Blood, a 2019 signee, threw for 2,573 yards and 29 touchdowns with seven interceptions at Destrehan High School in Louisiana. The wild card in the race could be ex-three-star Grambling QB Noah Bodden, who struggled in four games with the Tigers before being benched.
McDaniel figures to be the leader for now but McCray or Bodden could push him.
Contenders: Jonah Fitzgerald, Chris Price, Jaylan Adams
The skinny: The Spartans will be looking to replace its all-time leading passer Juwan Carter from a trio of quarterbacks that will split reps in fall camp to decide who opens the season. Fitzgerald, a redshirt sophomore, threw four passes last season as the backup for Carter. Price, who was a redshirt freshman a year ago, did not appear in a single game for the Spartans and might be a longshot to advance up the depth chart.
Adams, the Citadel transfer quarterback, might have the inside track at starting just based on experience alone. In 2021, Adams appeared in 11 games and rushed for 757 yards and nine touchdowns. He also threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns. There will be a lot of options for Dawson Odums, which likely could mean more than one quarterback sees time this season.